A Disney World of Food Opens in London

whole%20foods%202.jpg After much fanfare and not the best press, Whole Foods Markets have finally opened their first UK store in London. It's big (80,00sq.ft on three floors) and loaded with staff (500) and stuff (100 different olive oils, 40 kinds of sausages). But no one is quite sure what to think. Most are in awe of the sheer scale and amounts of food--a "tyranny of choice." The Guardian calls it "over the top and over here", and the Financial Times warns that the big British supermarket chains "have been put on their mettle." UK shoppers are very sophisticated when it comes to organic, with the big 4 supermarkets already engaged in fierce competition for this £1.3bn market. Several papers have done comparison shopping, and the results vary. On most items Whole Foods is more expensive, although Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are higher on a few. London is a very big city; how many people will make a special trip to buy organic goat’s milk there when they can already get it at their local Waitrose; ditto for Tube commuters. The founder, John Mackey was talking tough: "Whole Foods Market is not muscling anybody but no London business has a right to stay open for ever." Opening day had shoppers lined up to get in....this will be an interesting one to watch. :: Guardian

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