Whole Foods looks like a ghost town after supplier shutters

Illustration for article titled Whole Foods looks like a ghost town after supplier shutters
Photo: Erik Freeland/Corbis (Getty Images)

Whole Foods? More like, um, only some of the food. Thank you, thank you, and for the love of God, please keep reading. Shoppers have reported that the Amazon-owned grocery giant has been woefully understocked of late, leaving huge gaps in the inventory at stores in D.C., New York, Richmond, and more. Check out the photos on Business Insider—it’s so out of stock you’d think there’s a pre-hurricane panic.


Business Insider visited a store in Richmond, Virginia and found empty shelves where all kinds of groceries should’ve been: prepared foods, dairy, produce, juices, and soup broths. I had a similar experience in Los Angeles in early January, where my nearby Whole Foods 365 was weirdly understocked; I was frustrated to find totally empty shelves in the coffee aisle. (But since I’m a Midwestern woman I just found some way to blame the inconvenience on myself.) Whole Foods says that its supplier of beans, grains, lentils, and rice has suddenly shuttered, and it might take the store months to find a new supplier. And due to unusual weather, its lettuce supply from California has been temporarily affected, too. But those two explanations don’t account for the many other understocked departments encountered by reporters and social media users alike.

Some Twitter users have pointed out that such shortages were never an issue until Amazon bought Whole Foods, aiming their frustrations at Jeff Bezos. And while I can’t confirm whether that allegation is entirely accurate, I’m very comfortable with blaming multi-bajillionaires whenever there’s a dearth of canned beans.


The New Burney McBurnerface

I’m not anti-Amazon at all, but their purchase of Whole Foods has been something of a disaster from a customer standpoint. I went from being a semi-regular shopper to three or four times per year. Even without “disappearing suppliers” the stocking of many shelves (particularly produce) has been terrible since Amazon. They have replaced huge swaths of the store with prepared foods of fairly mediocre quality. Our local store stopped baking their own bread. And simultaneously, local stores really upped their games (don’t forget that the whole concept was entirely “borrowed” from HEB’s Central Market store in Austin) I’d guess that Amazon tries to slough off Whole Foods to some other (Private Equity?) buyer within a year or two.