After transforming many areas of contemporary everyday life, the digital-industrial complex is getting ready to “disrupt” — to use one of Silicon Valley’s favorite words, which they use as a term of endearment — the world of food. In recent months, in the U.S., there’s been a strong acceleration in the convergence of supermarkets and e-commerce stores, mainly due to a string of acquisitions of big names in food distribution by digital giants.
The banner merger was that between Whole Foods and Amazon. The move by the ubiquitous Seattle merchant got many people talking, particularly because of the type of supermarket it acquired.
Whole Foods, which sells food without hydrogenated fat, food colorings, artificial flavorings or artificial preservatives, was born in the late ‘70s by the merger of two natural food shops in Austin, Texas, and, under the leadership of John Mackey, has grown by acquiring “organic food” markets in different regions to become a food and lifestyle brand on a national scale — and also beyond, as there are branches in Canada and England. It is comparable to the Italian Eataly model (also on account of the combination between product sales and restaurant services), but with a reach as widespread as Starbucks.