Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: The Whole Foods Shebang

  1. #1
    gertvegan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Bristol, SW England

    Arrow The Whole Foods Shebang

    The Whole Foods Shebang

    An interview with John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods

    By Amanda Griscom Little, 17 Dec 2004,

    He's the Bill Gates of organic foods. John Mackey, founder and CEO of the Whole Foods empire, started his original health-food store, called Safer Way, in a garage in Austin, Texas, in 1978. Local farmers would drop off produce from junky old pickups, hippie bakers would supply nut loaves and 20-grain bran muffins. It was strictly vegetarian, just like Mackey himself.

    But he soon realized he'd have to change his tune if he wanted to hit the big time, and change it he did. Whole Foods now offers everything from beer and rack of lamb to yoga mats and air-freighted mangoes in the wintertime, at more than 150 stores throughout the U.S. and a handful in Canada and the U.K.

    Mackey, meanwhile, has emerged as both a hero and antihero of the environmental movement. On the one hand, he makes no apologies for running a large, consolidated operation that imports produce and displaces local farmers and small vendors. A notorious foe of unions, he's a staunch libertarian described by The New York Times Magazine as a man "who admires Ronald Reagan and prefers The Wall Street Journal editorial page to this newspaper's."

    On the other hand, nobody can dispute that Mackey led the fight to put organic on the mainstream map and make it more available to average folks. He's placed a cap on executive compensation -- his own included -- and prefers to take a longer view of financial health than the quarterly model favored in the corporate world, to accommodate forward-thinking projects like humane animal-treatment standards, which he recently introduced.

    Mackey spoke with Grist from the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas, about the pleasures of eating, his business philosophy, and the strategy that could build Whole Foods into a $30 billion monolith by 2020.

    Click HERE for full article with q and a.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    I'm gonna paste here something I posted on other forum. I don't think this Whole Foods thing is that great after all. I think that for the lack of any real success the movement is ready to jump on anything that is supposedly "pro-animal" and declare it a "breaketrough". So, here are some excerpts from the interview and not only:

    You've all probably heard about a vegan CEO of Whole Foods setting up foundation to raise animal welfare standards. AR-NEWS.ORG brought an interesting interview with the guy. But first:

    John Mackey, Whole Foods Market CEO, stated that “Viva! was instrumental in helping Whole Foods Market leadership come to understand the importance and necessity of making changes to animal production methods—changes that both eliminate cruelty and neglect, but also that will allow animals to do the things they would like to be doing. In addition to Whole Foods Market' s corporate commitment to raise the bar, my research on animal welfare issues while in dialogue with Ms. Ornelas, convinced me to personally become a vegan. I believe a vegan lifestyle is the most animal compassionate lifestyle possible."

    Now, coming back to the interview:

    "Question: When did you decide to become a vegan?

    Answer: I've been a vegan now for a little over a year. And it's not that big of a shift from vegetarianism; I mean, mostly it's giving up dairy products. Technically, I am not a pure vegan because I eat eggs from my own chickens. My wife and I own a place outside of Austin and we have about 30 chickens out there, free-range, organic feed, extremely well-treated from their birth to their eventual death through natural causes. I don't have any problems eating those eggs, but it's the only egg I eat. But otherwise I'm a vegan, including clothing and products as well."

    Check also this one:

    "Question: Will you change your standards based on bottom-line concerns?

    Answer: I think one of the most misunderstood things about business in America is that people are either doing things for altruistic reasons or they are greedy and selfish, just after profit. That type of dichotomy portrays a false image of business. It certainly is a false image of Whole Foods. The whole idea is to do both: The animals have to flourish, but in such a way that it'll be cheap enough for the customers to buy it."

  3. #3
    MzNatural's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Thanks Gert,
    I do about ˝ my shopping at Whole Foods Market the other ˝ at a local co-op (so far that one is 100% vegetarian.)

    There is another co-op that was 100% vegetarian however they did start selling animal products since they could not compete.

  4. #4
    chakra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Columbus, Ohio

    Angry It sucks.

    The only place I can get good produce is Wild Oats. They sell meat, fish, milk, eggs, etc. Back in Portland it was Natures NW. These places all started vegetarian, all seem to be anti-union, exploit workers, and yet have all the liberal trappings.

    One only wonders what made these people sell their souls. They could have done so much better. I certainly wish there were an alternative. While strolling through any of these natural food chainstores I see a majority of puffy and unhealtly looking types, filling carts with convenience foods, dairy products, etc. These seem to be the base spenders. Next come the aging hipsters with good incomes. Lastly, the hippie and alternate types which are employees (willingly exploited to work in a natural food store) and low spending bohos who are, like myself, there reluctantly, since the alternative is the regular supermarket.

    I spend what I can at a smaller store on my street. They don't have a full line. Most of these stores have been shut out by these emerging chain ops.
    I am a tangerine ;)

  5. #5


    In my nearest wholefoods/organics store (30 miles away!), they have loads of young, hippy-looking staff, always pleased to help. As the store is not very big, I wondered how they could pay all these staff members?
    I found out last week - they don't! They offer 'training in Nutrition, and Business Skills' in return for free student labour!

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 31
    Last Post: Mar 7th, 2011, 11:40 AM
  2. Raw foods to avoid?
    By Roxy in forum Raw vegan?
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Mar 13th, 2008, 12:56 PM
  3. New and looking for some help with foods
    By Psyche in forum America
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Oct 26th, 2007, 09:41 PM
  4. labelling foods
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Jun 15th, 2006, 01:19 PM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jul 29th, 2004, 09:45 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts