Amazon is making big changes at Whole Foods.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in early June, and the new owners aren’t wasting any time. After officially acquiring the grocery chain and transitioning ownership this week, Amazon has slashed prices at every Whole Foods location, with some products dropping in price by 43 percent overnight.
Organic bananas dropped from 99 cents per pound to 69 cents. A jar of almond butter costs a dollar less (now $6.99), and Fuji apples dropped from $3.49 per pound to a mere $1.99.
Perhaps most tellingly, an organic rotisserie chicken now costs $9.99, down from a much less budget friendly $13.99. Reporters from TechCrunch claimed to see rotisserie chickens available for even less, noting that prices vary from store to store.
Whole Foods has a reputation for its high prices, which it has justified by offering a wide variety of organic, fair-trade products. Amazon, however, seems to be targeting a less exclusive clientele in a bid to compete with stores like Walmart and Kroger.
“Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come,” read a press release issued by both companies on Aug. 24.
Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said that the move is intended to make nutritious food more affordable to a wider audience.
“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality,” Wilke said. “We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”
While some prices didn’t change, the overall effect was dramatic. Whole Foods shoppers took to social media to celebrate the discounts—and, in some cases, to express concern over the new ownership.
Some shoppers also claimed that the price reductions weren’t as significant as they’d hoped. The changes affected many staples such as eggs, avocados, baby kale, and bananas, but discounts were less notable outside of the store’s produce section.
For longtime shoppers, there were other changes.
Whole Foods stores also had big bins filled with the Echo and Echo Dot, Amazon’s voice-activated electronic assistants, a nod toward the technological innovations coming to the chain. Eventually, Whole Foods will adopt Amazon Prime for its customer rewards program, and current Prime members will be eligible for special savings.
This may only be the beginning. Amazon also plans to offer certain Whole Foods brands on its website, including products from 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws, and Whole Catch. Customers will also be able to ship products to their local Whole Foods for pickup through the Amazon Lockers program.
There’s widespread speculation that Amazon will launch its own meal delivery service to compete with smaller companies like Blue Apron, and Whole Foods will likely play a huge role in that venture.
“This is just the beginning,” the companies’ press release reads. “Amazon and Whole Foods Market plan to offer more in-store benefits and lower prices for customers over time as the two companies integrate logistics and point-of-sale and merchandising systems.”