Attention, shoppers: Whole Foods Market is now owned by Amazon.com.
And in case you missed the “Whole Foods + Amazon” banner at the entrance, there are plenty of reminders around the store: Amazon Echos piled high in front of the strawberries (“farm fresh!”), a poster for the voice-activated device next to the organic peaches, and a sign next to the coffee bar proclaiming, “This is just the beginning.”
The beginning, Amazon announced last week, would mostly mean lower prices on a few dozen food items. On Monday in Washington, D.C., that meant avocados were marked down 26 percent to $1.49 apiece, while New York strip steaks were discounted 18 percent to $13.99 per pound. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)
“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality,” Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said last week after regulators approved the $13.7 billion takeover. “We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”
But not all shoppers were impressed.
“No difference,” Roberto Martinez, 34, said as he ate breakfast outside the Logan Circle store. “I paid $13 for this oatmeal — how can anyone say that’s not expensive?”
At the next table, Dragan Jakovljev was eating eggs and sausage. He shops at Whole Foods several times a week, but today things looked a bit different. “You can see signs that Amazon is taking over,” he said of the Echo display. “I’m not low-tech or anything, but that was definitely a little strange.”
The Post visited a local Whole Foods store on Friday, and again on Monday morning, to compare prices. The discounts ranged from about 6 percent on the rotisserie half-chicken to about 33 percent on organic apples.
The lower prices, analysts said, were just one part of Amazon’s effort to expand its reach.
“All the signs in the store are saying, ‘Look what Amazon’s doing for you,’” said Stephen Beck, who owns a management consulting firm in New York. “This isn’t about groceries anymore. It’s about pulling people into the Amazon eco-system.”