Amazon’s Whole Foods Acquisition Starts Strong

On Monday, the Amazon Whole Foods merger burst into the world for all to see. Dramatically lowered prices and Amazon private brand devices Echo and Echo Dot featuring Alexa took center stage in Whole Foods store and more than 60 Whole Foods private brand 356 Everyday Value products appeared on Amazon Fresh as well as products from Whole Foods Market, Whole Body and Whole Pet.

The inclusion of the Whole Foods private label items won’t be limited to the Amazon Fresh section of the massive e-commerce platform, either. The company announced on Monday:

“Whole Foods Market’s healthy and high-quality private label products—including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch—will be available through, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry, and Prime Now.”

Although much has been made of “365 Everyday Value” its penetration is still relatively low compared to other grocer’s mid-tier brands. Amazon and Whole Foods have an opportunity to re-evaluate their private brand portfolio and potentially reposition the brands to better serve their business goals and customer needs. The Whole Foods name is the real asset as both a brand and search term.

I cannot help but think that Amazons and Whole Foods have their sights set on stealing share from Kroger’s $1.7B private brand as well as the numerous indistinguishable private labels (Natures/Harvest/Place/Wholesome/Wild/Promise/Organic/Natural) from Americas homogeneous mid-tier grocers.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.