Caught My Attention 014 (170622)

The past week has been consumed with the announcement of Amazon wanting to buy WholeFoods. I’m sure most folks are exhausted from all the media coverage, so I may just hit upon a few different angles and observations that I see, then move on to other things that caught my attention.
So the news of Amazon striking a deal to buy WFM is very interesting, actually makes sense; given Amazon’s Fresh delivery and the cashier-less convenience store tests, along with the grocery preorder/drivethru pickup that they’ve been working on. They’ve been trying to figure out grocery for a while. They need to get the consumer to trust them with their fresh products. Having the WFM brand will give credibility and hundreds of retail locations could help with freshness for that last mile for delivery (of both grocery and any online purchase really). Or even pre-order and pickup in store.
From the WFM side of things, there is all of the pressure on them from the investor side of things, as well as the struggles they have with scaling the business. Getting technology to help all parts of the business will be good.
Things to think about with this merger – company culture, both are run by founders, but have very different company cultures. What will it mean to WFM employees? to the small brands that WFM promotes? local products? Amazon is all about data and systems, things that scale across the full distribution system, WFM has regional and local skus, each store could have individual feel. It shall be interesting.
One very interesting observation, I was talking with a millennial (from Austin but now living in L.A.) who often shops in WFM and she made a comment about how she didn’t like this merger. She felt that she already does some shopping on Amazon to get things delivered to her door and best prices, but now has the feeling that she doesn’t want to spend the extra money that previously she didn’t mind spending at WFM, for the perceived value she was getting (for a better product), but now thinks of it being cheap products; and she doesn’t want to be giving more of her money to the big corporations. She also mentioned that she did stop in her local store since the announcement and thought maybe there were less customers and wondered if others felt the same way and were already doing their shopping elsewhere. She talked to her friends and they had the same feeling.
Ok, now on to other things.
Cold brew coffee and nitro cold brew has increasingly been becoming popular. Once Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts added it to their menus, you know it is achieving critical mass. What the specialty coffee shops have been serving up for a while is now becoming mainstream.
(link to BevNet: Coffee Retailers Helping to Shape Nitro Market)
I have been seeing the prices for vanilla just going up and up, now I understand why. And it’s our fault because we don’t want artificial ingredients in our food. One thing that I didn’t know was how long it takes to grow and produce the vanilla bean. We’ll be paying high prices for a while.
(link to NPR The Salt: Our Love Of ‘All Natural’ Is Causing A Vanilla Shortage)
How now brown cow. This is a sad story, we really need to educate kids (and apparently adults too) where food comes from.
(link to Washington Post: The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows)
The millennials get a lot of flak, but they do have a lot of spending power, so we need to keep up with their buying habits and trends. In this article there is a mention of “up-and-coming brands are run by entrepreneurs, including Kind, Clif, and Quest bars, Amy’s Kitchen in the frozen food aisle, and Siggi’s yogurt” which I find kind of funny, as from my point of view those are big brands already, names that are recognizable.
(link to CNBC: Millennials like small food companies, but big brands aren’t dead — yet)
Came across an organization that helps food businesses with crowdfunding. They had an informative post about telling your story on their blog. Telling a great story is important, but also to make people feel something about your brand.
(link to Pie Shell: Getting Your Brand Story Right)
Amazon is so big, that we can’t just stay away from stories involving them.
A bit of background on Jeff Bezos.
(link to Quartz: Why Jeff Bezos is obsessed with groceries)
Amazon is really a technology company and here is something very interesting about things that they work on.
(link to The Verge: Amazon granted a patent that prevents in-store shoppers from online price checking)

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