Whole Foods CEO predicts an explosive change in how Americans eat

Whole Foods Keeps 'Organic' Approach to Market Growth

Whole Foods appears to be preparing for a future where fewer people cook their own meals.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said the chain expects an "explosion" in prepared foods targeting non-cooks.

"You're going to see an explosion in food service and prepared foods and beverages, an explosion of choices for those who don't want to cook," Robb said. "And they'll be able to get it on-demand. Ultimately [customers] are looking to the food store not just for food that they can cook but for food they can eat right now."

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Whole Foods around the country
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Whole Foods CEO predicts an explosive change in how Americans eat
A customer enters the Whole Foods Market in Superior, Colorado United States July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tomatoes are pictured at a Whole Foods store in San Diego, California, U.S., August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Grass-fed beef products are pictured at a Whole Foods Market in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Cut vegetables for sale are pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
An organic chicken is seen for sale above an explanation of animal treatment standards at a Whole Foods Market in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Juice drinks for sale are pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A sign explains animal treatment standards in the meat department at a Whole Foods Market in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Hummus for sale is pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Customers walk by the Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Customers are seen outside a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, U.S. December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Jeff Turnas, President of 365 by Whole Foods Market, walks through a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The salad bar is pictured at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
An employee checks packaged meat at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Express cashier kiosks are pictured at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Customers check out at a Whole Foods Market in New York City, U.S., February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A view of fruit and vegetables in a Whole Foods Market shop in London.
A view of cheese in a Whole Foods Market shop in London.
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Robb made the remarks in response to a question about the future of supermarkets. In addition to the expansion of prepared foods, he said he also expects supermarkets to get smaller and offer more fresh produce and proteins over packaged goods.

Whole Foods already offers a wide array of prepared foods.

The chain is well known for its massive salad bars and hot food bars, which offer fresh vegetables, fruit, soups, various cooked proteins, and sides like rice and mashed potatoes.

Whole Foods also offers freshly prepared sandwiches, pizzas, sushi, and other options.

The company is planning to add even more options in the future.

Whole Foods recently took a minority stake in Los Angeles-based restaurant chain Mendocino Farms.

Mendocino is planning a massive expansion with the investment. In addition to opening new standalone restaurants, Mendocino will also open restaurants inside new and existing Whole Foods stores.

The restaurants will serve the sandwich chain's full menu and be wholly operated by Mendocino.

The menu includes items like "not so fried" chicken, spicy lemongrass steak banh mi, house smoked chicken and street corn torta, and prosciutto and free range chicken.

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