With 110 stores across the United States and Canada, Wild Oats is Whole Foods' largest acquisition to date, and although WF's domination of the gourmet and organic grocery market has slowed somewhat this year this purchase just reinforces their drive to be the major player in that space.
Wild Oats has a more crunchy granola feel; they tend to be far less compromising than Whole Foods on things like preservatives, genetically modified foods, and non-organics. They do not carry conventional produce, and they market less towards the high-end, gourmet crowd.
It will be interesting to watch what happens as Whole Foods absorbs Wild Oats and to see if any of the smaller company's influence rubs off on the larger.
Any Wild Oats customers here? Any reactions?