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Good News ... Whole Foods May NOT be Able to Merge With Wild Oats

Whole Foods Market’s plans to acquire its chief rival, Wild Oats Markets, have been halted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A complaint issued by the Commission alleges that the $670-million acquisition would violate federal antitrust laws by eliminating the substantial competition between these two close competitors.

Whole Foods, the largest premium natural and organic supermarket chain in the United States, entered into a merger plan with Wild Oats in February 2007. The FTC contends that the merger would give Whole Foods unilateral market power, resulting in higher prices and reduced quality, service and choice for consumers.

While Whole Paycheck, oh sorry, Whole Foods does offer a wide variety of organic foods, they are already extremely expensive and somewhat impersonal, and a merger that allows them to acquire their biggest competitor will certainly not encourage them to bring prices down, or add more personalization.

Eating a diet based on whole organic foods can indeed be affordable for the average family or single consumer. One way to keep costs down is to visit farmers' markets and use Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

For more tips on eating healthy on a budget, check out Your Family Could be Eating Organic Food for the Same Price as Processed Foods -- or Less.

Organic Consumers Association June 6, 2007

Slate  June 7, 2007