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Morgan Stanley analysts have also written in a report that Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods "creates an entry point to drug delivery" and provides the necessary real estate. To remain competitive with Wal-Mart (WMT) and Kroger (KR), Amazon (AMZN) will have to slash Whole Food's (WFM) sky-high prices, leaving local business owners in the dust.

Peter Belanger of Newington, Connecticut, who was shopping at a Whole Foods in West Hartford, said he didn't think he'd be interested in groceries online.

Some workers at the nonunion grocery chain wondered whether Amazon, known for its hard-driving culture, would mean big changes to their pay, benefits or employment. Whole Foods will keep its brand name, operating as a subsidiary of Amazon, and it's current CEO John Mackey will continue to lead its operations.

Whole Foods has more than 460 brick-and-mortar stores, which will boost Amazon's physical store presence in the battle for consumer food budgets. "They will push pretty heavily to integrate Whole Foods with Amazon, I'm sure there'll be Prime rewards for shopping at Whole Foods", Barnett says".

The chief executive of the America's largest whole foods grocery chain, which has been ranked for 20 consecutive years as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by Fortune magazine, also spoke about options for its staff that will come from its new parent company, Amazon.

Haeggquist & Eck, LLP a shareholder rights litigation firm, is investigating the proposed sale of Whole Foods Market, Inc. Mackey told employees that his company and Amazon are "engaged", like a couple, but still waiting until their transaction gets regulatory approval.

While Amazon's deflationary impact may be rising, falling oil prices are a big reason why inflation momentum is abating, economists say.

As sales declined at established locations, Whole Foods recently said it was hitting the brakes on expansion and that it no longer saw potential for 1,200 locations.

But Short and others noted that even if Whole Foods gets an alternative offer, the other suitor will be hard-pressed to win a bidding war against Amazon, whose deep pockets include having a total stock-market value of $475 billion. "We admire the quality standards of Whole Foods".

"Highly likely", said Lloyd Greif, whose investment firm Greif & Co. specializes in mergers and acquisitions but isn't involved with Whole Foods.

Amazon has been dipping its toes in groceries since it launched its Amazon Fresh delivery service a decade ago in Seattle, and expanded it to California, New York, and the Philadelphia area. "From Amazon's standpoint, they don't have to focus so much on making money on groceries if they make money everywhere else".