Former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb recently sat down with CNBC to discuss the democratization of natural and organic brands, the current state of physical retail and the future of e-grocery.
Robb said mainstream adoption of organic and natural products--perhaps made even more evident by Super Bowl advertising for Michelob Ultra's organic beer and Bud Light's tackling of ingredient transparency--is a compliment to those who have been in the industry since the '70s. "We've come to a level where people actually know the brands and it's also the path to democratizing access to really making these available to many more people."
"There is nothing short of a revolution happening in the food marketplace today and it is not a quiet one it is disrupting things left and right all the way up the value chain back into the farmers' fields," he added.
The state of retail
Traditional retail models, he said, are under pressure because customers are spending their money in more ways and in more places than ever before. "You used to open four walls and open a store. Now the customer has so many more options."
What customers are looking for is a fusion of physical and digital retail, he said, and Alibaba's Hema supermarket in Shanghai is a great example of a fully integrated shopping experience.
"You're seeing retailers say we understand this is how customers want to shop and we're seeing a whole new generation of business bringing fusion of digital and physical that's exciting and compelling," he said. "It's exciting to see what's happening."
Click here to watch the full interview.