Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Quote of the Day: John Mackey

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market in a conversation with Kai Ryssdal in the program Marketplace on American Public Media:
Well, in the United States, the average individual in America, we spend about 8 percent of our income on food. They spend about 15 percent in Europe, and about 20 pecent in Japan. So if you've been to Europe and you've been to Japan the quality of their food on average, in my opinion, is higher than it is in the United States. Americans make a tradeoff; we trade off less expensive food and it's not as good and we're also if you look around we're suffering an obesity crisis in the United States; we eat a lot of crappy food in the United States.

And we could afford to eat better. But we are . . . we have come to believe that we're entitled to cheap food, not understanding that there's a direct relationship between quality and how much something costs. We don't make that . . . if you think about the other parts of our lives, we know that automobiles vary tremendously in quality as does computers, as does stereo equipment as does cameras as does every other part of our lives, but in food we somehow or another think God, we really need to buy the cheapest stuff possible and we kind of treat our bodies not very respectfully.

It is an extraordinary interview with a man who dropped out of college 6 times, studied philosophy, not business, lost half of the seed capital of $45,000 in his first year operating an organic food store, and came on to build the nation's largest organic food store. Listen to the interview or read a transcript.

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