Whole Foods 'Sows' Up Wild Oats Merger

In a $565 million deal Whole Foods Market has bought leading organic food retailer Wild Oats Marketplace. The 110 Wild Oats stores will be added to an almost 200 existing Whole Foods locations. For the companies, which have "similar missions and core values" a merger will mean increased strength for the strictly organic supermarket business.

Both companies have had a "large and positive impact on the natural and organic foods movement throughout the United States," says John Mackey, Whole Foods' chairman, CEO and co-founder, adding they've helped "lead the industry to nationwide acceptance."

Immediate access to a number of new markets and gaining a stronger foothold in existing regions will help the company compete against increasing competition in the organic food arena, most of which is coming from retailers not dedicated to natural and organic foods - Walmart anyone?

What we think this means for consumers…it can only further strengthen the organics industry. While it's great that Walmart is expanding the market, the staying power of natural food is cemented with a company that demands all-natural and strives for locally sourced products. Even if recent reports claim organics are worse for the environment than conventional food.

A few reasons we think Whole Foods is leading the way:

  • They list unacceptable ingredients.
  • Local grower and vendor support - only food traveling less than seven hours can be labeled locally grown.
  • Foods are free of artificial ingredients like preservatives, colors, flavors and hydrogenated fats.
  • Detailed information on food products and lines lets the customer make informed choices.

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