Long an advocate for consumer-directed health in his company, John Mackey, co-CEO and co-Founder of Whole Foods Market, is talking about expanding the food chain’s footprint in retail health.
“Americans are sick of being sick,” Mackey is quoted in “Whole Foods, Half Off,” a story published in Bloomberg on January 29, 2015. Mackey talks about being inspired by Harris Rosen, a CEO in Florida, who has developed a workplace clinic for employees’ health care that drives high quality, good outcomes, and lower costs. Mackey imagines how Whole Foods could do the same, beginning in its hometown in Austin, TX. He also discusses an idea for a kind of health camp for adults, to help people get more literate with healthy living and making good choices.
This was the original mission for the grocery store when it was founded in 1980 in Austin.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Walmart offers $4 clinic visits to employees for primary care, extending this primary care option to consumers for $40 a visit. Retail and urgent care clinics are in growth mode, extending health care in more convenience and cost-effective locations where people live, work, and play — from pharmacies and workplaces to shopping malls and health clubs. It’s about cost and convenience for people, who are playing and paying an increasing role in their own and their families’ health care.
Whole Foods, which admits to having to shed its “Whole Paycheck” image (signing with a new PR agency in 2014 to launch a nationwide campaign to re-imagine the store’s healthy mission), now could come full circle from its initial mission to serve up health through food and lifestyle, to serving up health via health care. Food is medicine, and Whole Foods could be the next health care provider in the expanding retail health ecosystem.