Media: Hit or miss - Did the Whole Foods boss make a 'Ratner'-style blunder?

Food for thought

There was already a negative story brewing for Whole Foods last week, when it emerged the retailer had lost nearly £36m in its UK operations last year. But CEO John Mackey made it worse when he declared 'we sell a bunch of junk' in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, referring to the increasing prevalence of sweets and crisps in stores. But Mackey's candour was seized on by the UK press, which dubbed it Mackey's 'Ratner' moment.

HOW I SEE IT - Ed Watson, Head of PR, Debenhams

It's been a bad few weeks for the organic debate. First this gaffe from John Mackey, then the news from the FSA that organic grub is no better for you than non-organic.

Calling the food you sell 'junk' will never win you any favours. Whole Foods is suffering in a market where no one is willing to pay for overpriced apples and pears, organic or otherwise, and so it has to offer larger discounts. It also appears to be going back to its health food routes to help tackle the obesity crisis.

These are the messages to which Mackey should have stuck. Such messages would have shown the organisation recognises it needs to be fixed and has a strategy for doing it.

Instead, when I read the 'bunch of junk' comment, I nearly spat my organic rice milk all over my PC.

A definite miss.


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