January 5, 2009

Enough already: pick on someone bigger than Whole Foods, FTC.

Okay, I gotta agree with the below gentleman’s post, at this point, more than a year into FTC’s hassling of Whole Foods for buying Wild Oats. Let. It. Go, and let’s get back to (triple bottomline) business.

I previously wrote on the government’s crazy attempt to prevent the merger of organic food sellers Whole Foods and Wild Oats (“Whole Phooey on Antimonopoly Action,” http://www.progress.org/2007/fold513.htm). The Federal Trade Commission claims that Whole Foods dominates the natural foods industry, even though they only have had 15 percent of that market. Moreover, many supermarkets also sell organically grown and “natural” foods, and Whole Foods is a tiny part of the overall grocery business.

I buy groceries at Whole Foods because I am willing to spend a little more to eat healthy food, and the store I go to has a great salad bar. But I also buy at other food stores that are closer to where I live. Safeway and other grocery stores sell some organic produce and compete with Whole Foods. It would be absurd to say that Whole Foods store dominates the healthy food business in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live.


A year and a half later, even after losing its case in court, even after a judge allowed the merger, the FTC has still not given up its anti-trust action against Whole Foods. At a time when the economy is depressed and people are shifting their buying to less expensive stores such as Wal-Mart, the federal government is still inflicting costs on Whole Foods and distracting its management from concentrating on its food business...read the rest.

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