US news website Business Insider says that Whole Foods Market customers have told the site that there has been a significant deterioration in the quality of fresh produce in-store, since Amazon’s takeover of the business in the summer. Some Whole Foods customers have also reported widespread out of stocks at some Whole Foods stores and a “depressing” shopping experience.
The comments mirror customer complaints on social media where dozens of shoppers have complained about “bruised”, “discolored”, “tasteless”, and “rotten” produce. Shoppers have also reported on a different ‘vibe’ in Whole Foods stores in recent weeks.
Separately, analysts at Barclays have reported that some Whole Foods stores are giving a higher profile presence to conventional household name products such as HP Sauce, Tropicana Orange Juice and Carr’s Table Water Crackers.
Whole Foods insists that nothing has changed and that company is continuing to work with local growers to ensure that stores stock the “best of the best” in terms of produce.
“News like this, however, threatens to drive a wedge between quality-focused Whole Foods and efficiency-at-all-costs Amazon”
Business Insider says that while these negative comments come from a relatively small number of shoppers – and may be partly about perception – Whole Foods and Amazon will nonetheless be taking notice. It writes: “Amazon wants shoppers to see both it and Whole Foods as sharing a commitment to quality products, low prices and innovation. News like this, however, threatens to drive a wedge between quality-focused Whole Foods and efficiency-at-all-costs Amazon.”