The Year in Food 2007

Rahodeb Caught Red-Handed

It’s hard not to love Whole Foods on first glance, with its rows of artisanal cheeses, pretty produce, and marbled steaks. But the chain has begun amassing critics amid tales of union-busting, the squeezing of small farmers, and “Whole Paycheck” prices fueling huge profit margins. Then in July, CEO John Mackey injected major weirdness into the company’s image, acknowledging he had posted messages about Whole Foods on a financial message board for years under the name Rahodeb. Some posts were downright creepy, such as the crypto-self-adulatory defense against criticism of his grooming habits: “I like Mackey’s haircut. I think he looks cute!” Other posts reeked of predatory capitalism, not out of character for a man who once vowed to destroy the CEO of Wild Oats. Whole Foods bought Wild Oats in August, by the way, then announced it was closing a number of the newly acquired stores. Good for Rahodeb—bad for consumers. Was this the year Whole Foods jumped the shark? —Alexander Lane

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