Whole Foods CEO: Amazon Saved Them From Being “Whole Paycheck”

Whole Foods has expanded its 365 network to Los Angeles with a new opening in the Silver Lake neighborhood.

According to reports from CNBC, John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO, has credited Amazon’s acquisition for the end of his company’s “whole paycheck” nickname. Despite company efforts, the high-end grocer had been unable to shake the allusion to its higher prices.

“One reason the merger came about is Whole Foods was in a trap, and I couldn’t quite figure how to get out of that trap,” Mackey explained at a recent SNAC International Executive Leadership Forum. “We escaped the trap. I feel a little bit like Houdini.”

Following the Amazon acquisition, the Whole Foods grocery chain issued price cuts to many of its items, according to CNBC. In the month of August, for example, Whole Goods received steep discounts to the tune of up to 43 percent, though it only issued 1.2 percent price cuts on 114 products tracked by Gordon Haskett analyst Charles Grom, the news report noted.

Some analysts believe Amazon’s price cuts will help bring in more consumers outside Whole Foods Markets’ normal high-income customer bracket.

Amazon announced that Amazon Prime would be integrated into the Whole Foods point-of-sale system in August, offering Prime members special savings and other in-store benefits once the integration was complete, according to a Seeking Alpha news release. The combined company also plans to integrate other areas over time to continue to lower prices for Whole Foods customers.

“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, in the press release. “Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality. We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”

Though Mackey did not comment on Amazon’s long-term price cut plans for Whole Foods products, the CBNC article reported the CEO is “still figuring out what [the company is] going to do.”