WMFI/OATS vs. the FTC
In opposition to the post of Weiwentg,(eyecatching post title by the way) and in opposition to the article by TMF Lomax, I am going to weigh in on why the ftc is correct to block the anti-competitive Whole Foods/ Oats merger.
Alyce says that organics are easy to come by and can even be grown in your own back yard. This is not true unless you have a farm. If you live in a suburb like I do your neighbors are to close. If they spray to kill bugs, that spray will drift into your vegetable garden unless you have a large buffer zone. In fact these sprays have been known to drift across football fields and sicken children in nearby schools. Your chain link fence will not protect your garden. Neither will it protect your garden from the herbicides your neighbor sprays onto their lawn. These products are known to leach through the dirt right under your fence. So unless your neighbors’ lawns are full of weeds, you are not growing organic produce. You and your garden are not WFMI competition.
Alyce also says that other grocers are ramping up their organic choices. I do not consider a few items at my local Shoprite, or a single aisle of products costing twice as much at King Kullen to be competition. And the quality of the organic produce at these stores is not even close. I drive past quite a few of these traditional grocers to get to WFMI. And believe me, I would rather get my organics closer to home.
Many of these traditional grocers are also selling organic dairy products that do not actually meet organic dairy standards. Now they may claim innocence in that their suppliers are not actually convicted yet, but they know. It takes years for understaffed enforcement agencies to bring charges, and in the meantime they profit nicely selling you organics you may not be getting.
Now Wwientag says the merger cannot be considered ant-competitive because WFMI is a very small player in a large food market. Again I take exception. Websters’ defines food as 1. Any nourishing substance that is taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.
The FTC might have considered the fact that the FDA concluding it does not need to inspect 99% of what we eat is justified because and the WFMI/OATS merger is anti –competitive because they have found that what the traditional grocers are selling no longer meets the definition of food.
Just a thought.