In this file:


·         Whole Foods Prices Creep Back Up in Aftermath of Amazon Takeover

Analyst finds basket of goods has risen 1% since September


·         Amazon and the slow death of the traditional grocery store

·         Amazon/Whole Foods Vs. Costco: Costco Has Cheaper Prices, But Amazon Still Wins

·         Amazon Has a Patent For a “Garden Service” That Would Help You Grow Food



Whole Foods Prices Creep Back Up in Aftermath of Amazon Takeover


    Analyst finds basket of goods has risen 1% since September

    Amazon unveiled much-ballyhooed price cuts after deal closed


By Craig Giammona, Bloomberg

December 5, 2017 Inc. completed its takeover of Whole Foods with a bang in August, announcing a price-cutting push that generated headlines and boosted store traffic.


But in the following months, Amazon hasn’t ushered in a new era of low prices, according to Chuck Grom, an analyst at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. He found that a basket of 110 items at a store in Princeton, New Jersey, has actually risen about 1 percent since September.


Prices on 87 items in the basket were flat, while 10 items decreased and 13 items were higher, Grom found.


“The biggest driver of the basket going higher was fewer sale items,” he said in a note.


Whole Foods saw a jump in customer traffic in the days and weeks after it unveiled its initial price cuts, which included avocados, responsibly farmed salmon and organic apples. The chain generated headlines again last month when it announced discounts on 20 more items, including antibiotic-free turkeys.


The buzz helped bring a gain in same-store sales...





Amazon and the slow death of the traditional grocery store

The Amazon effect means consumers will have greater choice and convenience – from their homes


By Sylvain Charlebois, Manitoba Co-operator

December 5, 2017


The bricks-and-mortar food retailing model is losing its lustre in Canada.


The signs are everywhere.


Loblaws is the latest grocer to commit to home delivery. Starting in December, Canada’s leading food retailer has an ambitious plan to deliver food for a fee from coast to coast.


The company has spent millions to make many of its stores cathedrals for food – like the Maple Leaf Gardens store in Toronto. But suddenly, serving up President’s Choice in people’s homes seems like a better idea.


Basically, the socio-economic fundamentals that supported big-box stores are weakening rapidly. Real estate isn’t cheap, increasing in-store sales is difficult and finding good labour to cover large spaces is challenging. As higher minimum wages add to the pressure, grocers need to think of ways to make their equity and human capital work more efficiently.


What’s more, a good portion of the Canadian population is becoming less independent. By 2025, more than eight million Canadians will be 65 or older.


Add Canada’s unpredictable – and sometimes horrid – weather and all indicators point to one thing: the traditional food retail structure is less attractive to a growing number of Canadians.


Our lifestyle is also a factor: time-strapped consumers want convenience. Those who can’t or don’t want to cook are looking for quick fixes. So that’s exactly what the food retail industry is trying to offer.


Grocers are essentially trying to chase down the money that shows up less often at their doorsteps.


As a result, we’re witnessing – and contributing to – the slow death of the traditional grocery store.


An increasing portion of the average Canadian’s budget – almost 30 per cent of all money spent on food – is dedicated to eating outside the home.


As well, most of us are shopping online for anything and everything. And food is part of that portfolio. Five years ago, barely one per cent of our food purchases were made online. Today, some analysts suggest that’s close to four per cent. We’re catching up to the Americans, who now buy seven per cent of their food online.


And prodded along by Walmart, online grocery shopping is expanding...





Amazon/Whole Foods Vs. Costco: Costco Has Cheaper Prices, But Amazon Still Wins


Pamela N. Danziger, Contributor, Forbes

Dec 6, 2017 


“Price it low, watch it go. Price it high, watch it die.” That is the old adage that retailers have used for years to drive traffic and build demand. In recent highly publicized moves by Amazon as it’s taken over Whole Foods, lower, if not exactly low, prices have been its strategy.


Back in August after it closed its $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods, Amazon announced massive price cuts at Whole Foods, which Bloomberg reported chopped up to 43% off prices for many of Whole Foods best-selling, organic products including avocados, brown eggs, salmon, almond butter, apples and rotisserie chicken.


“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,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement. Lower prices on these everyday staples signaled the company’s good will, as it tried to distance itself from the “Whole Paycheck” nickname it acquired over the years.


Then in November more price cuts followed, largely for organic food stuffs to fill Thanksgiving holiday tables, including turkeys, chicken breasts, shrimp, canned pumpkin, broccoli, salad mixes, russet and sweet potatoes.


This latest round of price cuts also included even bigger discounts for Amazon Prime members for their holiday bird, priced for hoi polloi at $3.49/lb, but for Prime members only $2.49/lb.  And the company said in its official release, “This offer is a sneak preview of the special savings and in-store benefits Prime members can expect when Prime becomes the official rewards program of Whole Foods Market.”


But as with anything, adjustments are being made to Whole Foods prices. Gordon Haskett Research Advisors just did a price comparison for a basket of 110 items at the Whole Foods store in Princeton, New Jersey, and found prices had risen about 1% since September...





Amazon Has a Patent For a “Garden Service” That Would Help You Grow Food


By Andrew Amelinckx, Modern Farmer

December 5, 2017


Amazon has a new frontier it's looking to tackle: your garden. The tech company recently received a patent for a new service that would let users upload photos of their vegetable gardens then receive a variety of recommendations from Amazon including recipes for the specific veggies they’ve planted, gardening tools they might need, and even advice on what else to plant and exactly where in your plot it should go.


The “garden service,” as the company bills it in the patent, uses algorithms and image recognition software to make the recommendations. The company gives a weirdly specific example of a woman named Evelyn who likes to cook with home-grown veggies, has just moved to Seattle, and isn’t familiar with the plants in her backyard or how to cook them. The gardening service would provide recipes based on what it determines she’s growing. In the example, the service finds she has mint, tomatoes, and cucumbers (why Evelyn would be unfamiliar with these common plants isn’t explained, nor is why she’d be growing plants she doesn’t know how to use, which we guess is beside the point, but still, c’mon). It would then recommend a Greek salad recipe and even let Evelyn know she can get other ingredients, like feta cheese and olive oil, from Amazon. 


The much more interesting part of the service is that it can identify any are growing impediments—a tree that’s shading a section of the garden, for instance—and make recommendations for plants that do well under those conditions (for the hypothetical shady garden plot, Amazon suggests a wild ginger plant) that users could buy from the site. The service, given the right inputs, could also geolocate the garden’s specific location to determine what plants have the best chance at success in that area; the user would see a “virtual garden” explaining the best places to plant certain vegetables, herbs, or fruit trees, and would include a feature where they could see what the garden would look like from season to season—or even several years in the future (at least for perennials).


Amazon has been really getting into food of late...