Over at his blog Chews Wise, Samuel Fromartz has the first part of a long interview with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, alternately known as anonymous poster Rahodeb. (The SEC recently ended its investigation of Mackey, who was caught posting comments about Whole Foods and Wild Oats on a Yahoo! site, without filing charges.)

I’d keep an eye out for the interview’s second part, which Fromartz says will touch on meat and seafood sourcing and on local food, but among the interesting bits here: Mackey says that if he could go back in time, he wouldn’t acquire Wild Oats again. “We spent tens of millions of dollars in legal fees, we’ve been investigated [the FTC filed a complaint to block the merger, but a federal appeals court ruled for Whole Foods], it’s been highly disruptive. I didn’t realize it would cause so much grief,” Mackey says.

Contrary to the FTC’s line, Mackey insists that Whole Foods has more competition than ever before: He cites a half dozen examples (including, semihilariously, farmers’ markets). But against my better instincts, I’ve got to admit he’s right. The natural/organic food market is far more crowded than it used to be. Any thoughts from the Grinder gallery?

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