Whole Foods calls meeting with unhappy vendors: Report

Top brands say the grocer needs to be better at communicating changes


Whole Foods Market is meeting with its vendors later this month to try and ease tensions over how it stocks its shelves.

According to CNBC, the Amazon-owned organic grocery chain sent emails to its vendors inviting them to a summit March 19 to discuss recent changes made to merchandising and in-store marketing fees and the lack of communication around those changes.

READ: Local vendors question their fate under new Whole Foods’ ownership

In efforts to centralize operations and save costs, Whole Foods reportedly require vendors to schedule in-store demonstrations, check inventory and change in-store displays through the grocer’s retail strategy firm Daymonto.

Vendors that sell more than $300,000 of products annually to Whole Foods have to discount their products either 3% (for food) or 5% (for health and beauty products) to fund the new program. Additionally, local suppliers pay $110 for each four-hour product demo, while national suppliers pay $165, all of which are conducted by Daymonto.

Though some of these changes were set in motion prior to Amazon’s $13.7-billion purchase of Whole Foods, the acquisition has opened the grocery chain to new criticism.

These aren’t the only changes that have been made under thew new ownership. In August, on its first day as owner of Whole Foods, Amazon slashed prices in the U.S. and Canada on items including avocados and ground beef. It also started selling its voice-activated Echos and other Amazon devices at its grocery stores.