The deal followed a scrape with activist investor Jana Partners, which had threatened to shake up Whole Foods' board and overhaul the chain.
Mackey added that there would be executive changes at Whole Foods but that he didn't think they would be "forced on us" by Amazon.
The surprise acquisition of Whole Foods comes at a time when Amazon has been inserting itself into the grocery market, and Whole Foods had been cutting prices.
Amazon, which made a splash a year ago with a checkout-free grocery store, has said it has no plans to automate the jobs of Whole Foods cashiers. "It was truly love at first sight". There's no better company in the entire world for Whole Foods Market than this company right here. "We just had these big grins on our faces, like, 'These guys are unbelievable'". "This is gonna be so incredibly wonderful".
Now that the companies have announced their tie-up, Mackey went on to say he is completely over the moon about Amazon. "We've got a lot invested in our brand". Whole Foods recorded ~$16B in sales during 2016. We haven't heard anything from Amazon about whether this is true. Shoppers could pick up their purchases at a Whole Foods store near them the same way they're doing under the AmazonFresh Pickup program.
"We will be joining a company that's visionary", Mackey said. Amazon's Worldwide Consumer chief, Jeff Wilke, said at the town hall that Whole Foods' healthier options helped change how people think about food.
What exactly might these innovations be? Amazon has, however, rolled out a futuristic store concept with no cashiers or checkout lines. Both Amazon and Whole Foods are concentrated in the country's major population centers, including California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York.More news: CNN's Jim Acosta Interrupts Other Reporters, Demanding On-Camera Briefings
The deal came together after Mr. Mackey flew to Seattle with a group of Whole Foods executives. But he did hint that making the customer top of mind could require a decreased emphasis on how well it treats employees, who are referred to as "team members". Meanwhile, the grocer's outspoken CEO has already said too much.
"Amazon is known to scale experiments very quickly". It is famous for its willingness to lose money year after year due to low prices and big investments in the company, so long as it is vastly increasing the customer base.
However, Amazon has been signaling its interest to enter the food industry.
In many ways, this result makes sense.
Amazon is feared to be planning a bloodbath at Whole Foods. "It is likely that Amazon will utilize Whole Foods to even further expand their private label offering".
But Mackey, at the Friday town hall, said, "Over time, there could be other formats that evolve that - that might - wouldn't be branded Whole Foods Market, potentially, wouldn't be our standards".