Amazon really, really wants Prime Members to use its Amazon Fresh delivery service. So it’s getting rid of the steep $14.99/month fee for Prime members, and it’s adding groceries from your local Whole Foods.
Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s answer to grocery services like Instacart, offering home delivery or pickup for folks who, understandably, don’t want to wait 30 minutes at one of two open checkout lanes in a physical supermarket.
Besides getting rid of that monthly fee, Amazon also announced an expansion of Amazon Fresh delivery, making it available in “more than 2,000 cities and towns” with more to come. These locales are all based around nearly two dozen major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Will $6 bottles of asparagus water soon be coming to a Kroger, Ralphs or Harris Teeter near you? Whole Foods stock shot up 5% Thursday and briefly rose again Friday on chatter that supermarket king Kroger may want to buy the troubled organic grocer.
But is Whole Foods (WFM) really for sale? Investors may need to take these rumors with several grains of Himalayan pink sea salt.
For one, Whole Foods is still facing many challenges, mostly stemming from bad press about its high prices. The company settled charges of price gouging with regulators in New York City last year, but the company’s Whole Paycheck image persists.
Remember when everyone drank milk from cows? Now, the only people who drink animal protein are, like, your parents.
Today people aren’t drinking as much cow’s milk, whether it’s because they have difficulty digesting lactose, they want a healthier alternatives with less fat or, perhaps, a product not associated with a beating heart. As the U.S. market continues to shift towards alternative milks — almond, hemp, coconut, soy and rice — and our meals transition to healthier plant-based diets, the tradeoff is that we risk losing key sources daily protein.
Beginning May 2, every Whole Foods from here to Omaha will stock a new morning drink called Ripple, made from protein pulled from plants. And (phew) it doesn’t taste like grass.
Whole Foods is winning over customers based on the pitch that high food standards don’t necessarily have to come with high price tags.
In Whole Foods’ fourth-quarter results released on Wednesday, investors found out that total sales increased 9% year over year, while comparable-store sales inched up 3.1%—”in line with its expectations, but marking its worst growth rate in over four years,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
Nonetheless, investors were plenty pleased with the direction the company is going, sending Whole Foods shares up more than 10% early Thursday.
Investments aside, what’s most interesting for everyday shoppers about the results—and about Whole Foods’ plans going forward—is that the supermarket often dubbed “Whole Paycheck” for its high-end and high-priced selection is experiencing success in a broad initiative to lower prices.