But Mackey, at the Friday town hall, said, "Over time, there could be other formats that evolve that - that might - wouldn't be branded Whole Foods Market, potentially, wouldn't be our standards".
Parikh added that Amazon's offer appears to be "undervaluing the company's prospects and the powerful brand" and that Whole Foods could do better. Still, much is unknown about how the Amazon takeover will impact Whole Foods, the grocery industry, and grocery shoppers in general.
According to Mergermarket, the bid is not only one of the decade's top grocery deal in the U.S., but is also the fourth largest United States deal in the retail subsector.
"From that, and depending on what they learn, we could see a strategy emerge in other realms, for example food manufacturing", she says. And buying Whole Foods would give Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos a ready-made cadre of customers. She raised her price target on the company to $48 - almost 15 percent higher than Amazon's bid.
Whole Foods has been pressured as a key sales figure has declined.
Despite rumors that soon-to-be-owner Amazon might slash jobs by automating portions of Whole Foods stores, CEO John Mackey is stressing that the deal's still basically a match made in heaven. That might not be the case if Whole Foods was bought by another grocery chain. "And when we huddled together, it was like we just had-we just had these big grins on our faces, like, 'These guys are incredible, '" Mackey said.
Using computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, the Amazon Go beta technology can automatically detect when you take something off the shelf and charge it to your Amazon account.
Any buyer of Whole Foods would likely argue that it was not in the same market, said Alden Abbott, an antitrust expert with the Heritage Foundation.
"This is kind of the dream come true", Mackey, who claimed to have dreamed of the partnership more than a year ago, said of the deal, calling it at times "amazing", "tremendous" and "exciting".
Amazon expects to reduce headcount and change inventory to lower prices and make Whole Foods competitive with Wal-Mart Stores and other big-box retailers, according to a person with knowledge of the company's grocery plans. Amazon, though its Prime benefits program has created strong loyalty, has a long way to go before it's a default choice in groceries as it often is for books and electronics.
Amazon has been dipping its toes in groceries since it launched its Amazon Fresh delivery service a decade ago in Seattle, and expanded it to California, New York, and the Philadelphia area. "But they're just not gonna be, I don't think, forced on us by Amazon".
Bauer also is an Amazon shopper who occasionally buys food on the website. But Parikh added that activist investors have a stake in Whole Foods.