whole foods storefront

On June 16, online retail giant Amazon bought the organic, artisanal grocer Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion.

Many analysts believe the bid will give Amazon a monopoly over food retail and strengthen the company’s existing delivery service.

These incentives may both be true, but Annie’s Homegrown President John Foraker thinks the acquisition could also meaningfully address another issue that plagues communities across the US: food deserts.

Over 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile away from a grocery store. These are known as food deserts — places where fresh fruit and vegetables (and healthy foods in general) are largely inaccessible to residents.

“The thought of Whole Food’s mission combined with technology and the ability of a company like Amazon to help conquer some of the last-mile issues that have prevented access and distribution into really difficult places seems like a golden opportunity,” Foraker told Business Insider. Products from Annie’s — the General Mills-owned organic food brand best known for its macaroni and cheese — are already available on Amazon and in Whole Foods aisles.

If a family does not live near a supermarket, they could theoretically soon order organic, healthy food on Amazon, Foraker said. Amazon Fresh already offers home deliveries, but he believes the acquisition will widen the reach and offerings of the service.

“So much of consumers’ engagement with food and…