The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Whole Foods

For a story, I'm interested in hearing from any of you who have strong feelings about Whole Foods and about Wild Oats morphing into Whole Foods. If you do, post them or e-mail me at pcampbell@enquirer.com. I recently shopped at the locations in Oakland,Ca and the one in Columbus, which is ridiculous big and full of food.


at 8:36 PM Blogger WestEnder said...

I wouldn't say I have "strong" feelings but I do think the merger will decrease competition and therefore result in higher prices and diminished service. And it will make it more difficult for others to enter the market.

The FTC and antitrust groups opposed the merger but the courts allowed it anyway. According to the courts, stores like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, etc. are competitors to Whole Foods and Wild Oats because they stock some organic foods. So in the court's view, they were in the same market and the merger was not stifling competition.

But anyone in the real world knows that Wal-Mart, et al are not Whole Foods or Wild Oats. The stores and the shopping experience are completely different.

More competition benefits consumers, less competition does not. It's as simple as that.

at 11:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a personal chef and having shopped at whole foods in Toronto for many years when I lived there I welcome the change. The quality and experience is superior to Wild Oats on so many levels.

at 10:33 AM Blogger WestEnder said...

What is a "personal chef?" I have a feeling 90% of mothers could use that moniker.

In what ways specifically was the quality and experience better?

Am I being overly skeptical, or does Anon's comment seem like it came from someone at Whole Food's?

at 12:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well as a graduate of CIA and currently running the kitchens of one NFL player as well as two other households with all do respect I am a personal chef.
why is the WF experience a better one? Well I found that the orgainic bulk offerings at WF were not only superior in quality but in price. There were many things I just could not find a WO that WF would carry especially ingredients that my clients who can't eat glutten could have. I shop mostly at findlay and jungle jims but I would welcome chance to add WF to my world. BUT.....What do I know...according to the assinine person who posted that I am probably a worker for WF?

at 2:59 PM Blogger WestEnder said...

Whoa! Reign it in there, chief. My points were entirely legitimate (and I would further point out that nothing "chef anon" says can be verified).

I asked why you thought WF was better than WO and you gave 2 reasons:

(1) organic bulk offerings
(2) gluten-free offerings

The first one does not affect typical households and the second affects only a minority.

These are hardly convincing reasons to support a merger. It just means you found what you needed for your [supposed] job at one of the stores. Someone else could say the same thing for the other store.

at 4:13 PM Blogger Mark Mascolino said...

No strong feelings but it does simplify things when talking to friends from other parts of the country. It went from: "We have a Wild Oats that is sorta like a Whole Foods but not exactly", to "We have a Wild Oats which was bought by Whole Foods" to now "Yeah, we have a Whole Foods too".

at 5:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ah, a blog bully....how proud you must be.....

at 6:00 PM Anonymous rms said...

I don't know, I really dislike the constant mergers and acquisitions----of everything. Do you ever get the feeling that one day, one giant corporation will own and control everything?

The constant swallowing-up of one business by another is just bothersome to me.

at 7:57 PM Blogger Mary said...

Ha! You're not so anonymous--the NFL part gave it away. Didn't the Enquirer do a story about you awhile back? :) As for westender's comments: personal chefs abound. Why the incredulity?

at 9:06 PM Blogger WestEnder said...

Why the incredulity?

Two reasons:

1) The WF CEO was busted for ethical transgressions by posing as a pseudonymous blogger. He promoted WF and panned competitors.

2) The Anon blogger here promoted WF over a competitor without giving any specific details.

When I put these two together, I was more incredulous than credulous. So asked for specifics. I think that was fair.

Anon answered the question but did so defensively and with a dash of insult. And then did it again. That's not the kind of thing that lends credibility, at least for me.

If Anon was insulted, I apologize. But I wasn't trying to be personal, I was asking for specific details why WF was better than WO.

For those who buy bulk goods and gluten-free foods, WF is better. Is that significant for Anon? Yes. Is that significant for most households? Probably not.

It should also be noted that carrying gluten-free foods does not make WF "better;" it gives WF a competitive edge. The merged company would not need the edge and if they decided not to stock it, then what?

The same thing may hold true for other products as well, which is why competition, generally speaking, is better for the consumer.

at 10:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are a peice of work, that is for sure. I really could care less if you doubt what I do for a living. I didn't realize I needed to write an novel to justify why I like WF ....it's my opinion and my choice to prefer that store over WO. I threw out a few reasons that came to mind...I am not the poster child for WF. Most of my purchases do not happen in ANY commercial store...my clients require the freshest seafood, vegtables, cheeses, and meats available. I go to great lengths to make this happen. I drive to adams county to get cheeses, vegtables and chicken from the amish, I work with a local seafood market to get fish that is caught and flown in the same day...I buy ingredients you could not commercially get your hands on...so forgive me if I am not consumed with what you think of my shopping habits. I made a simple comment that when I was cooking in Toronto I enjoyed shopping at WF, you then started the mud slinging. This is supposed to be an enjoyable food blog, not you personally attacking people. Get of your cross someone else needs the wood.

at 10:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like if you don't think the same as WE then you can't have your own opinion. I think Wild Oats sucks....I shop at Fresh Market and Trader Joes.

at 11:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE it was an innocuous question and anonymous just gave her opinion. She's not required to submit a dissertation detailing her reasons. It's a blog for crying out loud. If anyone has an agenda it's you. You are being a cyber bully.

at 12:06 AM Blogger WestEnder said...

Once again, I apologize if you were insulted. As I said, it was not personal and you should not take it that way.

If you want to yell at someone, yell at the WF CEO for his pseudonymous blog tactics which made me question your comment. I don't know you and therefore I have no reason to make it personal.

That's why I asked for specific reasons. You provided them. I have no problem with that. The reasons are perfectly valid. I didn't say they weren't. But they may not reflect the typical consumer, that's all (which is relevant within the merger context).

Do not mistake my comments as a personal attack. I certainly wouldn't want you to feel that I am denigrating you or your work. That is not the case. I just wasn't sure that you were really who you said you were (again, because of WF's actions, not yours).

Please also keep in mind that written words may not accurately reflect the tone of the writer. For example, when I said mothers were personal chefs, it was more a comment about mothers being unrecognized than any sort of slam against personal chefs.

I think if you re-read my comments you'll see that they are mostly matter-of-fact in tone rather than personal. That's they way they were meant, in any case.

I certainly admire your work and your efforts to provide fresh, healthy food. I would be privileged to enjoy it myself.

But all that is a separate issue from the pros/cons of a merger.

Fair enough?

at 1:23 AM Anonymous Petey said...

Westender, I don't give a frak about the WF's CEO and his blog comments. I have shopped at both WO & WF for some years (at WF in Michigan before moving to Cincinnati), and the simple fact is that WF blows WO out of the water. Why?

-WO does not have a deli counter, and one cannot buy cold cuts, etc. there.

-WF has a much more expansive wine and beer selection, which includes hiring knowledgeable help who can assist a shopper with their selection.

-WF has better informed employees who are also more visible/available to assist.

-As the chef previously stated, WH offers better bulk purchases than WO does.

I hope that clears things up for you Westender. I have read your caustic comments on the Cincinnati blog in the past, so I'm ready for your comeback.

at 9:31 AM Blogger WestEnder said...

Thank you for providing specific reasons for your preference of one over the other. This may be useful information for those who want to compare the two stores.

It is unfortunate that you could not do so without being personal and nasty.

at 10:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I do not shop at Wild Oats I have been there for lunch a few times with work associates and as far as their prepared foods I have to give them a "C" at best. The pastries I have had are always stale and hard as a rock, the pizza had bitter tomato sauce and a crust that was like gnawing on a giant cardboard box. The sushi was decent but overpriced and the coffee is like drinking sludge.
I have never been to a Whole Foods store, but I am hopeful that it is better than the Wild Oats experience!

at 10:18 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Westender, you're the one who is being nasty and personal. You make a big deal about nothing and then when others give you (deserved) criticism for it, you claim you weren't being personal, just matter of fact. Please pontificate elsewhere.

at 11:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never found the staff at Wild Oats to be very friendly or helpful quite frankly. They seem long on attitude and act like they are doing you a favor by waiting in you.

at 7:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think it is funny how you claim you were just stating the facts and all innocent regarding the slams you made in the very first post to the personal chef person. You wanted a fight and you ended up looking like a fool. Well done.

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