The Recrunchening of Whole Foods

PLUS: Hot Dog Flavored Popsicles
September 2, 2022

Total Disney Domination? Disney is reportedly working on an Amazon Prime-esque membership program that would include discounts and special perks for members. The company is also developing an in-app commerce feature which would enable viewers to buy themed merch and accessories via a QR code.

Our Take: Disney is now poised to become one of the largest DTC brands in history. Its 221 million subscribers bested Netflix last quarter in just its third year of operation. Testing of in-context purchase follows prior examples by Peacock (NBC) and Roku.
It is at once exhilarating and terrifying to see Disney’s domination of media and culture continue to the steam ahead like a boat piloted by an anthropomorphized mouse.

More Sights & Sounds. Despite becoming a meme stonk (sic), BB&B will close 150 stores. Organized retail theft is running rampant. Starbucks taps Laxman Narasimhan as next CEO, but only after PSL and Red Cup season ends. Sam’s Club is raising the cost of its membership fees starting in October. And Malin and Goetz has launched a new loyalty program.

What Can I Do with My Obsession? Sneakerheads rejoice. LG has developed a stackable shoebox display case featuring a Lazy Susan to show off one’s sneakers at the perfect angle. Alongside these new display boxes, the company is also releasing small steam closets for shoes. These products have us practically delirious.

Oscar Wild. Following an online “Stupid or Genius” campaign, Oscar Mayer is releasing a truly stupid and genius frozen treat: The (checks notes) hot dog-flavored popsicle (AKA the “Cold Dog”). Apparently, this refreshing delicacy will help you beat the heat with notes of smoke and umami.

Can Whole Foods Recrunch Itself? (alternate title: Crunch This!) Whole Foods’ co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, steps down today after 40 years of slinging aura-changing granola. 10-year Whole Foods Veteran COO Jason Buechel will replace Mackey, and he has some pretty big Birkenstocks to fill.

Allyship or Inauthenticity? After a string of bad press and lawsuits involving discrimination against Black franchisees and Black corporate employees, McDonald’s has launched a program to help financially support Black community leaders called Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders. It’s good to see a company trying to change course, but also, doesn’t this kind of seem like a payoff?

The Future of Art? The creative world is in a minor uproar after someone entered an AI-Generated work of art in the State Fair Fine Arts Competition in Colorado, and the piece won first place in the digital artwork category. The art piece, while beautiful, was not painted by the submitting artist. Instead, it was created through prompts given to a software program and subsequently printed on canvas.

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