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Whole Foods Price Drops Are an Ad for Amazon Prime Memberships in Disguise

Plus, Heinz creates another sauce for very lazy people, and more news to start your day

Whole Foods signage Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Be prepared to pay up for Prime if you want to get discounts

Amazon started this week by attempting to lure more customers into Whole Foods by announcing that it would be “slashing” prices (again) — but really, the company just wants to lure you to join Amazon Prime. While Whole Foods described the price cuts on “hundreds” of items as its “biggest investment in lowering prices” to date, with the discounts averaging 20 percent, the key part of the announcement is that it’s “expanding Prime member deals.”

The New York Times attempted to test out the price cuts when they came into effect on Wednesday, and its reporters, who didn’t use a Prime membership, saved a grand total of five cents. The two reporters bought the same basket of everyday groceries over two days (including eggs, beef, romaine, and strawberries), before the cuts went into effect and after. In addition to not using Prime, they didn’t specifically target items that were being made cheaper; the result was that little changed, with strawberries actually getting more expensive, showing that for day-to-day grocery needs, the impact of the cuts are limited. Had they been Prime members, the final savings would be just slightly better — in the realm of $2 out of $60, or just over 3 percent.

And in other news...

  • Trump and team want to give more power to the pork industry to inspect itself — a key figure at the USDA is refusing to sign off on the plan, saying it’ll pose a threat to consumer safety. [WaPo]
  • This seed bank project in Oklahoma wants to help preserve Cherokee culture by giving greater access to native beans, corn, and squash plants used in Cherokee cuisine. [NPR]
  • Heinz’s latest attempt to save you from the extraordinarily laborious task of mixing two condiments together is this combination of ketchup and ranch in one marginally more convenient bottle. [People]
  • Ultra-prestigious chef Massimo Bottura is set to open another community restaurant for the homeless, this time in Sydney. This will be Bottura’s fifth refettorio, as he calls them. [Guardian]
  • A widely reported new study says that poor diets — with a lack of fruits, vegetables, and while grains — contribute to around 20 percent of deaths globally. That’s more than smoking. [TIME]
  • The Washington Post declares Kourtney Kardashian’s avocado and boiled egg salad to be “a very sad salad.” [WaPo]
  • Raven Symoné seems to be getting paid to plug Mountain Dew in a confusing promotion that also loops in Game of Thrones? [Page Six]
  • Dr. Pepper milkshakes are now a thing that exists, although you’ll have to head to Whataburger in Texas to get ‘em. [Culture Map]
  • A journalist who helped fuel “avocado hysteria” by reporting on the effects of climate change on avocado supplies says she regrets doing this, and that the media now trivializes major issues by framing them in avocado-related terms (such issues resurfaced this week as President Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border). [New Republic]

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