According to the Los Angeles Times, Whole Foods has purchased its main rival, Wild Oats, for the low low price of $565 million. According to the article, Wild Oats stores in areas competing with current Whole Foods stores will be closed, and eventually, all Wild Oats stores will be renamed Whole Foods. Whole Foods made the move to counteract growing competition from "normal" supermarkets, most of whom are investing heavily in the natural and organic food markets.
I've never had the pleasure of shopping at Wild Oats, as there isn't one near my neighborhood; my only exposure to it is through "Top Chef." I do shop at Whole Foods, relying on them for high quality/semi-obscure meats and produce (I don't buy organic milk or whole wheat pasta. I know, I'm a cretin). Maybe someone who has been to both stores can tell me how they differ? Aside from the general idea that it's always nice to have a choice, should I be worried about Whole Foods' acquisition? Will it lead to some sort of organic foods price fixing (as if the stuff at Whole Foods could possibly get any more expensive)? In an urban center like Los Angeles, is there any competition left for Whole Foods?