Whole Foods CEO: We’re Victims in Overcharging Scandal

Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb.

Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb.

In its earnings call yesterday, Whole Foods executives said the widely reported price overcharging scandal hit the business hard, slowing sales growth sharply. The revelation came in the wake of a New York Department of Consumer Affairs investigation finding that the high-end grocery chain overcharged for pre-packaged foods like nuts, berries and vegetables. The company’s co-CEOs even issued an apology on YouTube.

But during Wednesday’s earnings call, a Whole Foods co-CEO said that the business — not the overcharged customer — is actually the victim here. Business Insider reports this juicy quote from co-CEO John Mackey:

“It’s just something that went viral in the media and it has hurt our trust and we do feel like we’re victims.”

That’s a far cry from the tone of the apology video, where the company promised to increase its training, implement a third-party auditing system, and offer products for free if they can find weighing mistakes.

He went on to say that Whole Foods’ track record on overcharging is about the same as other grocery stores, and that he doesn’t understand “why the media went so wild with this.”

Really? The store was overcharging more than $4 for a package of chicken — how can that be a rounding error? Plus, how does this guy not understand that customers think Whole Foods is too expensive? They call it Whole Paycheck for crying out loud.

As the appetite for organic, healthier food choices continues to increase, Whole Foods is facing pressure from co-ops, farmer’s markets as well as traditional grocery chains that are stepping up their organic options.

To combat the onslaught (and the Whole Paycheck stereotype) Whole Foods announced that it’s planning 365 by Whole Foods Market, a new chain of smaller, less expensive stores. No word yet, on whether it has plans for a Philly location.

Philly Mag Editors Share Their Fave Beauty Finds From Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods’ beauty selection. | Whole Foods.

Sometimes the best beauty products can be found in the most unexpected places (West Philly’s International Food and Spices, South Philly’s Fante’s). So when we came across this great article breaking down the best finds at Trader Joe’s — think yummy Coconut Body Butter and anti-aging Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum — we decided to do some digging of our own. Here, Philly Mag’s discerning editors share their favorite go-to beauty buys from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

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Whole Foods Owns Up to Overcharging Customers, Says They’ll Give You Free Food

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

Last week, we told you guys that Whole Foods had been caught overcharging customers for prepackaged foods (think: nuts, berries, fruit, seafood) in their New York stores. And now, our friends over at BizPhilly have alerted us that co-CEOs Walter Robb and John Mackey have issued a video apology, ’fessing up to overcharging customers, though they say it was unintentional.

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Whole Foods Admits to Overcharging Customers

Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb.

Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb. (Youtube)

If Whole Foods wants to drop the “Whole Paycheck” stereotype, today’s news won’t help.

In the wake of a New York Department of Consumer Affairs investigation finding that the high-end grocery chain is overcharging customers for pre-packaged foods like nuts, berries and vegetables, the company’s co-CEOs issued an apology. Read more »

You’re Not Paranoid: Whole Foods Really Has Been Ripping People Off

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

If Whole Foods is your happy place, prepare to have your day ruined right about now: The company was just busted by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs for overcharging customers for pre-packaged foods at stores all across the city of New York. So, all the haters who’ve been complaining for years that Whole Foods is a giant rip-off were kind of right.

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La Colombe’s Plan to Destroy Starbucks: A Canned Latte Worth Drinking

Todd Carmichael, CEO of La Colombe shows off his latest creation: Draft latte in a can. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael shows off his latest creation: Draft latte in a can. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

If you stopped by La Colombe‘s flagship location in Fishtown this weekend, you were likely offered a sample of its latest creation: The draft latte — a coffee and milk combo poured from a keg that has a semi-sweet taste and a slight milkshake-like texture. The best part is that there’s no ice diluting the drink and screwing up the taste.

But that bit of frothy good news is just the beginning. The company plans to start producing cans of the draft latte to sell in stores across the country. CEO Todd Carmichael thinks it’s a product that can seriously disrupt a market dominated by Starbucks and its bottled Frappuccino. Read more »

BizFeed: Whole Foods Battling Organic Farmers

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

Photo via Flickr/David Shankbone

Whole Foods in Organic Food Fight

The News: The farmers that supply Whole Foods have some serious issues with the supermarket chain’s new produce rating system. It ranks items as Unrated, Good, Better and Best but farmers argue that non-organic produce can get higher ratings than organic items. Read more »

The Checkup: Why You Should Step Away from the Scale If You’re Trying to Lose Weight



• At Be Well Philly Boot Camp last week, Philly-based personal trainer Brian Maher explained that if you’re trying to slim down, weighing yourself every day won’t get you anywhere: Muscle is more dense than fat and numbers can be deceiving. Instead, he said, go off of how your clothes fit and how you feel. That same sentiment is echoed in this super-useful list of 17 trainers’ best advice for getting in shape. [BuzzFeed]

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Whole Foods Reveals Name of New, Cheaper Chain


Whole Foods Market | Shutterstock

And the name of Whole Foods’ soon-to-come cheaper chain of grocery stores will be — drumroll, please — “365 by Whole Foods Market,” the Huffington Post reports. As all you Whole Foods junkies out there surely know, “365 Everyday Value” is the name of the company’s store-brand items, already sold in the stores, so you can see where the inspiration came from.

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BizFeed: Whole Foods Reveals Cheaper Supermarket Chain

Meet Whole Foods' sister supermarket.

Meet Whole Foods’ sister supermarket.

1. Whole Foods For All

The News: Long considered too expensive by many, Whole Foods revealed details about its highly anticipated, moderately priced grocery chain. It’ll be called 365 by Whole Foods Market. It’s named after the company’s cheaper in-store brand.

Why It Matters: The launch of a less expensive Whole Foods not only makes the brand more inclusive, but will surely take a bite out of traditional grocery stores like Acme and Giant. Read more »

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