Whole Foods wants to go beyond organic groceries to offer customers health care and exercise classes, according to a new interview with John Mackey, the chain’s co-CEO.
“Health care is so broken in America,” Mackey tells Bloomberg. “If we allow markets to work, if we allow entrepreneurs to get in here and do things like I’m talking about doing, we will pretty much solve the health-care problem in a generation.”
Mackey says he’s considering launching Whole Foods medical clinics that are modelled after an employer-health care program run by Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando. The clinics would be available to Whole Foods employees and possibly customers, as well.
The Rosen clinic “has a staff of 38 health-care practitioners serving 5,300 employees and places an emphasis on nutrition and preventive medicine, which company founder Harris Rosen says has reduced his per-employee health-care costs to about half the national average,” Bloomberg’s Brad Stone writes. “Mackey met Rosen at a health-care conference last summer in Las Vegas, then traveled to Florida to tour the clinic.”
Mackey is also thinking about launching a nutritional boot camp for customers and employees that is based on a program called Total Health Immersion, a weeklong clinic that provides medically supervised testing, meetings with nutritionists, and exercise and cooking classes.
“Mackey wants Whole Foods to offer Total Health Immersion to customers as a healthful weekend getaway,” Stone writes. “He says he’s negotiating to buy a property in Austin, and ‘if it works here, there’s no reason we can’t do it in every major city in the U.S.'”
Mackey says Americans have terrible diets and are misinformed when it comes to nutrition.
“Americans all insist they eat well, but if you look at what they’re eating, they’re kidding themselves,” Mackey says. “Americans eat a terrible diet. It’s nonsense. Of course they can eat better. They just choose not to.”
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