What you need to know about Whole Foods on Amazon Prime Day

By Oxfam
Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam

Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon just over a year ago, and starting this summer, Amazon Prime members nationwide began taking advantage of special deals at Whole Foods. With Amazon Prime Day coming up, here are some tips to help you make better food shopping decisions on one of the biggest shopping events of the year.

1. Can anyone get Prime discounts on Amazon Prime Day?

Prime benefits are for subscribers only. On Prime Day, shoppers with Amazon Prime can save 10% off hundreds of items at Whole Foods. Did you know that people behind the scenes who process some of that food face harsh and degrading conditions on a daily basis, and receive wages that are sometimes so low they struggle to feed their own families?

Don’t the people who produce the food we buy at Whole Foods deserve benefits too? The best Prime Day deal would be safe working conditions for them, so they no longer have to go without basic things like humane treatment, sick time, and decent bathroom breaks

2. How many hours in a Prime Day?

This year Prime Day is 36 hours long, starting at 3 p.m. E.S.T. on July 16 and going through July 17. It’s the largest Prime Day ever and Amazon employees will be pulling long, hard hours to meet demands. Still, that’s just one day out of the year. Fishermen in Southeast Asia, who catch the seafood we can buy at supermarkets, regularly pull 14-hour shifts for days on end.

3. What’s the best steal on Prime Day?

When you buy certain foods at supermarkets like Whole Foods, small-scale farmers and workers receive (on average) six cents from every dollar you spend. Oxfam studied a sample of nine food products and found that supermarkets in the US keep 47% of the money you spend at checkout.

Now, that’s a steal.

4. How valuable are Prime deals at Whole Foods?

Whole Foods describes itself as one of the most sustainable supermarkets in the industry; its vision statement is: “We’re a purpose-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers.” And yet, they don’t really live those values. Based on Oxfam’s scorecard, Whole Foods is actually one of the worst-performing supermarkets in the US in terms of transparency and supporting women.

5.  What’s new this year on Prime Day?

You might hit the jackpot. This year, Amazon is introducing the Alexa “home smart home” sweepstakes. Entering is easy—you just have to ask Alexa some simple questions like “Alexa, what is Prime Day” or “Alexa, what are your deals” and you could win $50,000 in cash. Here are some additional questions to consider:

“Alexa, what is Behind the Barcodes?"

“Alexa, what can you tell me about Whole Foods’ supply chain?”

“Alexa, how can I help end the suffering behind the food we all eat?”

Alexa’s probably not going to answer these questions, but you can find this information at behindthebarcodes.org.

6. What about Amazon’s competitors? Are there better values out there?

Oxfam assessed the six biggest retailers in the United States—Whole Foods, Walmart, Albertsons, Costco, Giant/Stop&Shop, and Kroger—on how they tackle critical issues affecting the people who produce the food they sell. Overall, we found that US supermarkets are failing to do enough to protect the rights of the workers in their supply chain, address the rights and equality of women, support-small-scale farmers, and be transparent throughout their operations. None of the supermarkets we looked at scored any points for policies supporting the right of workers in their supply chain to earn a living wage, and just one scored on respecting the rights of women.

7. Don’t miss your chance—sign up now!

Amazon Prime membership costs $119/year. Signing our petition to push Whole Foods and other major supermarkets to end human suffering in their food comes at no cost to you, but could go a long way in changing our food system. 

Note: Oxfam’s research and analysis of the Whole Foods supply chain occurred before Amazon acquired the company.

This Prime Day, human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we buy. You can help.

Sign the pledge


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