The Washington Post has an assessment of Whole Foods two years after it was acquired by Amazon. evaluating the degree to which it may have changed for better or worse.

Some excerpts:

• “Let’s be honest: Whole Foods still basically feels like the same old Whole Foods.”

• “Amazon’s fingerprints on Whole Foods are clear. It has expanded grocery delivery and online ordering into dozens of Whole Foods stores, cut prices on select items and offered discounts for Prime members. Those pricing moves appear to have changed people’s attitudes. YouGov, which surveys shoppers about consumer brands, has found that Whole Foods’ value perception has improved meaningfully in the past two years, showing Amazon has chipped away at the ‘Whole Paycheck’ reputation.”

• But … “Amazon’s lack of imagination at Whole Foods is something we’ve seen repeatedly as the e-commerce giant experiments with physical stores. Amazon’s bookstores aren’t that different from conventional shops. Its 4-star knick knack stores are Hallmark gift stores crossed with Brookstone. Amazon recently shuttered dozens of mall kiosks where it sold Kindle tablets and other electronics. Those Amazon formats, and those of companies like Kohl’s Corp. with which Amazon has an in-store partnership, sometimes seem to exist largely as outposts for people to return unwanted Amazon orders.”

• “In addition to expanding home delivery or in-person pick-up of online grocery orders, Amazon has enmeshed its brand more with Whole Foods’s. People can buy Whole Foods products on Amazon, use an Amazon-branded credit card to rack up rewards, pick up Amazon packages at lockers inside Whole Foods locations, and use the Alexa digital assistant to start a Whole Foods order. These integrations and establishing Prime as the loyalty program for Whole Foods weren’t trivial changes, but they’re not groundbreaking, either.”

• “What Amazon has done so far is to Amazon-ify Whole Foods in necessary but also obvious ways. What’s perhaps surprising is that two years in, there have been few glimpses of new ideas that Amazon could bring to the supermarket shopping.”

KC's View: This strikes me as an entirely fair assessment of the impact Amazon has had on Whole Foods - there have been some changes, but not to the extent that outsiders like me would’ve expected. Which gives me pause when thinking about the new chain of physical stores that Amazon is said to be opening later this year - if Amazon doesn’t include some of its secret sauces in the recipe, what’s the point? Isn’t it opportunity squandered?