Business Strategies

Whole Foods Trying to Make Up with Local Suppliers

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Jul 08, 2019

Whole Foods is trying to repair its relationship with small, local suppliers, which was disrupted by the Amazon takeover, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

The retail giant had gotten away from its roots as a purveyor of organic and locally produced food after it was acquired two years ago by Amazon, chain executives and observers say. Amazon emphasized bringing down Whole Foods’ notoriously high prices by introducing efficiencies in the supply chain, which deemphasized local suppliers.

A Whole Foods vice president told the Globe that local products “just got muted. It wasn’t mentioned as much in our stores.”

Whole Foods is now reemphasizing sampling programs, which got cut back after the Amazon acquisition and which typically bring a spike in sales to small suppliers. It has also doubled the staff working on local programs.

Now the chain sees local suppliers as a way to differentiate itself, especially since organic products, once a point of distinction, have become ubiquitous.