Op-Ed: The grocery chain wars prove that the modern supermarket model isn’t sustainable anymore
The retail grocery revolution has been a game changer. If you don’t believe us, consider just how much grocery is now available in the average American home. Grocers like Whole Foods, the natural food brand owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, now sell food that consumers once only dreamed about having to visit a specialty grocery store for. Now you can grab a bottle of olive oil by the tub at your local Whole Foods, or a pint of coffee beans from Amazon’s coffee shop, even as you head off to do some grocery shopping for the week.
It used to be that a healthy home was a difficult proposition. But today, a healthy home is simply a matter of having basic ingredients, such as fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa; and even a few natural foods you can buy from your local grocer. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods, which is what you’re probably thinking these days; you can find the same food at many specialty grocery stores, even those you typically don’t think of as natural.
And then there are the local grocers, those independent stores that have traditionally stood out as a source of healthy food for their customers. If your local supermarket used to just have a few items — fruit and vegetables, organic meat, prepared food in bulk — you likely didn’t go there often. But the specialty store with a little selection is now the new norm.
“For people who want the freshest, healthiest foods available, a store like Whole Foods is a lifesaver,” says Michelle Wesson, a nutrition consultant and creator of Healthy Living TV, who lives in Portland, Oregon.
But not everyone is enjoying the benefits of Whole Foods.
“There used to be a thriving market for fresh, wholesome, organic food in large chains, and now you can get these foods, even as you shop, at stores not traditionally thought of as natural.” —Michelle Wesson, Healthy Living TV