Organic Consumers Association

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Alice Waters Wants Jeff Bezos To Revolutionize Whole Foods, But Others Are Skeptical

The purchase of Whole Foods by Jeff Bezos' Amazon has received lots of scrutiny, including some from one of the food industry's legends: Alice Waters.

Last weekend, she wasted no time in congratulating Bezos -- and asking him for a revolution. Here's what she tweeted.

A message for @JeffBezos! pic.twitter.com/8gOEeW011F

— Alice Waters (@AliceWaters) June 16, 2017

Waters, of course, is the chef who brought seasonal and organic food into the fore at her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. Her Chez Panisse cookbook has become a bible for fans of fresh food.

But critics say an Amazon revolution at Whole Foods might catch consumers off guard. "Doing so would require a reversal of both company’s business models on the order of a fast U-turn on a four-lane highway. At rush hour," wrote Jonathan Kauffman in the San Francisco Chronicle. 

In SFist, writer Jay Barmann accused Waters of proselytizing. "The biggest trouble with Waters's philosophy has always been that it leads to discussions of elitism and accessibility — sure she wants everyone to be able to eat healthy, local, organic meat and vegetables, but at what cost?" he said.

The unassuming Waters, who can still be spotted in the kitchen regularly, elaborated on her statement in an interview with the Washington Post.

She says the $13.7 billion selling price for Whole Foods "just sort of took my breath away." With that kind of money invested in Whole Foods, Waters says that Bezos "could make a difference."

Waters says she admired Whole Foods when it started in Austin, and had high hopes for the company's philosophy of purchasing from local and organic farmers and ranchers. But as it grew, she was disappointed.

"I really hope it can be reinvented," she told the Post.

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