2009 August 15 Saturday
Whole Foods CEO: Customers Want Junk Food

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare: Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit. Take a look. It is a pretty good list. But this list does not come from a leftist mindset which supports more government provision of health care. So the SWPL folks who patronize Whole Foods are upset and some liberals are boycotting Whole Foods. But that's not the most interesting story about Whole Foods. Oh no. Whole Foods is a hoot because it basically exists to allow SWPL people to pretend to buy healthy foods. After all, the food comes from Whole Foods. It must be healthy.

Don't believe me? CEO John Mackey says Whole Foods sells junk and he's going to try to convince SWPLs to eat better food:

Mr. Mackey said in an interview prior to Tuesday's results that Whole Foods this fall will launch a "healthy eating" initiative with cooking demonstrations and recipes. The blunt-speaking Mr. Mackey said the company's product selection had veered off-course.

"We sell a bunch of junk," he said, vowing to promote healthier lifestyles for its customers and employees. "We've decided if Whole Foods doesn't take a leadership role in educating people about a healthy diet, who the heck is going to do it?"

What fun. An attempt to convince people to eat healthy rather than just to pretend to eat healthy. Sounds like a tough order to me. It is an even tougher order now that some liberals have gone negative in their emotions about Whole Foods. Seems like an opportunity for another food chain to appeal to SWPLers with faux healthy food. The demand is there. The customers want to pretend. Help them and make a profit satisfying their need.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 August 15 01:07 PM  Cultural Wars Western

not anon or anonymous said at August 16, 2009 5:24 AM:

From my experience, they do sell a lot of junk, and as it grows it pushes the loose-leaf tea and bulk grain/seed/nut areas in smaller spaces (I don't bother with the boxed, canned, or frozen stuff: I can get all of that elsewhere and cheaper). It's not very pleasant any more to go there, though customer attitude plays a part in that. But it's a result of their success. People are buying junk there instead of buying junk elsewhere. People buy junk. Sometimes, people buy stuff that looks like junk but isn't. I'm glad Mackey doesn't feign liberal shock over this.

His proposal has some iffy moments ("repeal all State laws" is fine, but as a proposal it implicitly demands federal enforcement), but it's made up for by a line in the ending paragraph:

We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health.
Ferdinand Bardamu said at August 16, 2009 11:26 AM:

From the ABC News article:

"Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

'I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods,' Taylor told ABCNews.com. 'I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients.'"

Why does this remind of the chapter in "The Fountainhead" in which Gail Wynand's employees go on strike after he chooses to back Howard Roark?

Chuck said at August 16, 2009 1:06 PM:

When they first said that there going to open in the Philadelphia area, they said that they would not carry foods with added sugar. Now they have lots of them with sugar added. At least they have some cans of beans with no salt added like the Eden Foods. Trader Joes has no cans of beans with no salt added. But they do have a spaghetti sauce with no salt added.

MaryJ said at August 16, 2009 3:52 PM:

Oh boo-hoo, the Swipplites are mad at the CEO of Whole Foods. One would think that they would at least have some respect for the views of a guy who has run a successful business model that they admire (or formerly admired.) But no, they prefer their crazed Swipple "religion" to any kind of rational thinking. Western Europe has socialized healthcare and so must we. The details are unimportant to them. They don't think beyond those terms. Their political beliefs are a substitute religion to them and this guy spoke heresy. He must be publicly burned at the stake. I am just laughing my ass off about the whole thing.

They do have excellent meat. Maybe with the Swipple boycott the prices on their meat will be lowered. I can hardly wait.

Jerry Martinson said at August 16, 2009 8:29 PM:

The US has a pretty darn good health care system but it sucks for preventative stuff, particularly for poor people. And it sucks that the rest of the world is coasting off the medical R&D that is funded by the profits that the US healthcare market allows. The thing I don't like about the sorts of plans that the Whole Foods guy offers is that it is hard for lay people to really know what they need for preventative care (they are NOT medically smart) so how can they be expected to shop around intelligently?

Randall Parker said at August 16, 2009 8:57 PM:


I hear the claim we suck for preventative care and I'm skeptical absent proof. What would constitute proof? Evidence that in most Western countries:

- cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage than the US.
- more people with high blood pressure are on blood pressure lowering drugs.
- more people with high cholesterol are on cholesterol cholesterol lowering drugs.

In other words, things are caught earlier and treated better leading to better outcomes. Absent this evidence (and I never see it when these claims are made) I'm skeptical. Not saying the claims are incorrect. But I'm really keen on evidence before I believe something to be true.

Francis said at August 16, 2009 9:33 PM:

Why such anxiety over preventative care? You don't need to have gone to med school to understand preventative care. The problem in the US isn't that people are somehow lacking "preventative care" but that the low IQ portion of the populace makes shitty choices on a regular basis. Smoking, poor diets, obesity, bad habits like drug use and criminal activity are endemic with these people. That's a major part of the problem. And the problem is getting bigger. God forbid this insane health care "reform" passes, and you think illegal immigration is bad now?

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