Whole Foods Co-Founder John Mackey and Co-CEO Walter Robb Address Pricing Controversy

Wed. July 1st, 2015
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez     

AUSTIN, TX - Whole Foods has been in the line of fire in recent days for some overpricing issues that took place in its New York City locations. As a retailer with a reputation for its honesty and working with the industry, Co-Founder John Mackey and Co-CEO Walter Robb wasted no time in releasing a face-to-face video addressing the issue as blatantly as possible.

Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods“Straight up, we made some mistakes and we want to own it and tell you what we’re doing about it,” Robb says immediately after introducing himself.

The executives attribute the issues in overpricing to the weighing system and labeling being handled by individual employees rather than machine, meaning that it was kept to the fresh sector of the company’s inventory.

John Mackey, Co-Founder, Whole Foods

So what exactly are they going to do about these issues? Now identified, they are implementing measures like a third party auditing system and a public report on the progress Whole Foods has made in improving its fresh pricing system in the coming weeks.

“Most importantly,” Mackey emphasized, “we’re going to increase our training- in our New York stores and around the country.”

To see the Co-CEO and Co-Founder’s entire message, watch the short video below.

In addition to the public statement, the retailer issued a little more detail on the mistakes made and the measure addressed in a press release attached to the video.

The main emphasis the company conveys is that any and all mistakes made were unintentional.

“Any errors were unintentional, and any claim that we are 'systematically overcharging' customers is completely inaccurate,” the release stated. “The New York DCA found errors that were not in favor of customers as well as errors that were benefitting customers. Even errors in customers’ favor are considered a violation.”

While Whole Foods did make a clear apology for the mistakes made and wanting to take a hands on approach to fix it, it maintains its pride for using actual people.

“This is who we are and how we deliver the freshest products to customers, but this also means there will be some unintentional human errors,” it said of its measuring and packing system.

Mackey and Robb concluded their message with a request for consumers to say something to cashiers if they feel an error has occurred, giving shoppers a guarantee that the company will give them that item for free if an error is found.

Whole Foods