When Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017, everyone thought it was the beginning of a brand-new chapter for the high-end grocery chain. It seemed like Jeff Bezos and his digital dominion were going to make Whole Foods more affordable. Indeed, right after the acquisition was granted regulatory approval, Amazon announced that it was slashing prices. Avocados and castile soap became only moderately expensive as opposed to extremely expensive. This was Amazon’s way of making the grocery store more financially accessible to all.
Alas, it didn’t last long. The Wall Street Journal reports that Whole Foods’s price tags are already going back up. This month, prices went up on “on dozens of items from Dr. Bronner’s soaps to Häagen-Dazs ice cream,” reports the WSJ, citing an internal email announcing the change. “A separate company email in December listed 550 additional price increases on products including crackers, olives, and cookies.”
All the good stuff is expensive again! The increase is reportedly due to a few factors. One, some suppliers raised their prices due to inflation. Two, the contracts Whole Foods originally signed to lower the prices ran out and were not renewed. Put together, you have an Amazon-owned Whole Foods at its pre-acquisition price point. The average bill reportedly went up more than 3%, compared to last fall.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson admitted to the WSJ that some prices have gone up, but pointed to new discounts the store is offering, as well as its Prime benefits.
All the same, this will surely make many annoyed. In its heyday, Whole Foods was known by many a suburban mom as “Whole Paycheck”–and for good reason. The Amazon acquisition made it seem like a new era was upon us. Yet now we see that’s not the case, and the grocery chain is back to its old high-priced habits.
You can read the full Wall Street Journal article here.
Update: A Whole Foods Market spokesperson provided me with this statement:
Like all grocers, Whole Foods Market has experienced increased costs from suppliers due to materials, labor and transportation, and we’ve absorbed much of the inflation. Many prices have also decreased, and we continue to expand the number of promotions we offer to give our customers better value. We remain committed to continuing to lower prices with Amazon as we deliver on our mission to make high-quality, natural and organic food more affordable and accessible.