Whole Foods Co-Founder Plans to Open Chain of New Plant-Based Cafes Next Year

published Aug 11, 2022
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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey speaking into a microphone
Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Nearly a year since Whole Foods CEO John Mackey announced his pending retirement from the retailer, his September 2022 departure is imminent, and so are plans for his next venture.

Flying the nest to pursue some of his “other life passions,” Mackey joined forces with other former Whole Foods executives and founded a startup, Healthy America.  Incorporated in 2020, Healthy America is branded as “an evidence-based lifestyle company, leading the convergence of culinary, healthcare, and wellness.” As he continues to expand his footprint in the wellness space, Mackey recently announced that he’s helping Healthy America launch a national network of plant-based cafes and wellness centers offering education, fitness, and spa services.

Over the years, plant-based eating has taken off, with even meal kits, delivery services, and grocery staples going meatless. And while it remains unclear if “plant-based” in Mackey’s case means strictly vegetarian, or vegan, his concept strives to offer a “a broad spectrum of eclectic plant-based dining options, ranging from the most health-promoting to a balanced indulgence.” The business model is unique — while the cafes will be open to the public, the wellness centers will be accessible with membership only. 

Mackey’s concept rests upon his controversial view of healthcare, which he shared in a Freakonomics podcast last year. “The best solution is to not need healthcare,” chimed the grocery guru, proposing a diet- and lifestyle-driven approach to wellbeing instead. To address the public’s wellness woes, his chain intends to offer services that integrate facets of Eastern and Western medicine.

Purportedly, the cafe will first debut with a Southern California location and operate under the name LoveLife. A nascent website promises a 2023 launch and invites eager patrons to sign up for updates.