By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
Co-CEO John Mackey’s comments on Obamacare don’t sit well with his shoppers
Will liberals’ devotion to organic food trump their dislike of right wingers? Whole Foods founder John Mackey has been testing that question by accusing President Barack Obama of “fascism”—certainly not what you’d expect from a man whose food chain is the No. 1 choice for back-to-nature environmentalists.
But the Texan libertarian, while plugging his new book, Conscious Capitalism, likened the President’s health care reform to totalitarianism. In fascist states, “Government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it,” he explained; that’s what Obamacare does, he added.
Whole Foods’ many liberal customers didn’t take kindly to the implication they support fascism, and sent the company so many angry messages that Mackey was compelled to take his statement back, writing on his blog that the f-word was “a bad choice of language,” and that “I won’t be using it in the future.” But the fracas is already causing green types to take a closer look at some of Mackey’s positions, like his denunciation of “hysteria about global warming” or his statement that unions are “like herpes.” And with a “Boycott Whole Foods” hashtag gaining prominence online, Mackey might find out it’s not a good idea for a health-food business to alienate the hippies.
By Scaachi Koul - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
The industry now faces legal battles, accusations regarding quality, and conflicts over what “organic” really means
Horizon Organic, the largest supplier of organic milk in the United States, features a cartoon logo on its cartons of a smiling cow jumping over a globe. The company refers to itself as an ecologically responsible group of animal lovers committed to good health and great organic milk. That all may be true, but behind the pleasant portrait is a big business that is far more corporate than granola.
The organic-milk business is worth $2.4 billion a year in Canada and the United States, and it’s growing. The industry has emerged with no shortage of headaches these days, from legal battles to accusations of putting profits before quality to conflicts over what “organic” really means.
Perhaps the strangest sign of just how competitive the industry has become is that Horizon, owned by the multi-billion-dollar company Dean Foods Co., recently sued Organic Valley, the second-largest organic milk co-operative. One of Horizon’s former managers took a similar job at Organic Valley. Horizon says that the employee had access to a confidential supplier list and other trade secrets and strategies. In a written statement, Organic Valley called the lawsuit, which has made headlines in the U.S., “meritless and without basis.” The case is still pending in the U.S. District Court for Colorado.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 8:10 AM - 0 Comments
Aid flows into Mogadishu after al-Shabaab retreats, while NATO forces see a deadly week in Afghanistan
Clearing the way
The apparent defeat of the Islamist group al-Shabaab in central Mogadishu offers a glimmer of hope to those trying to get food into famine-stricken Somalia. With the country’s wobbly central government in control of key districts of the capital, workers can now fan aid out to other parts of the country. With luck, they can prevent at least some of the hungry from attempting deadly treks into neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia. The next challenge: keeping the aid out of the hands of insurgents, while persuading the rest of the world to give.
Grade ‘A’ idea
The U.S. grocer Whole Foods introduced a meat-labelling system in its Canadian stores that outlines how various producers treat livestock on a scale of one to five. It is an enlightened approach to animal welfare, both educating consumers and offering them a choice while forgoing preachy attacks on the meat industry or the livelihood of farmers. It also offers a nice rebuttal to a wave of bad press set off by a disgruntled former Toronto employee who claimed the organic-food-focused company didn’t put its money where its mouth was. Other retailers should be so transparent.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM - 2 Comments
Whole Foods is selling wines in the U.S. for under $2, to mixed reviews
With its artisanal cheeses, savoury prepared foods and pricey organic produce, Whole Foods isn’t exactly known as a value proposition among grocery shoppers. But when it comes to wine, the successful high-end supermarket chain has decided to dip a toe down-market, at least in its U.S. stores. It recently rolled out a handful of California wines called Three Wishes that cost under US$2, and is asking customers to “chuck the Chuck,” a reference to the US$1.99 Charles Shaw wines (“Two-buck Chuck”) sold at Trader Joe’s grocery stores in the United States. “We saw our customers looking for lower-priced offerings in the wine category, so we went looking,” explains Doug Bell, a global wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. But how do they taste? The reviews range from surprisingly drinkable to, in the words of wine reviewer Brant Foehl on his SF Weekly blog, “I’d rather just chew the two dollar bills directly.”