Forbes on "Food Porn"???

The latest issue of Forbes should get a lot of attention with an article entitled Food Porn. It's about Whole Foods Market, the dramatic ways they display food, and the success that has come as a result.

At Whole Foods a noodle isn't just wheat and water in a plain package–it is the life's work of an Italian "authentic food artisan" named Gino Girolomoni. In 1973 he bought an abandoned monastery on 480 acres of untouched mountaintop land overlooking the Adriatic Sea and planted a crop of organic durum wheat. His Montebello brand pasta goes for $2.49 for a 16-ounce package, 70%more than the regular stuff fetches at an unadorned grocer. It is dotingly displayed, like everything else, under dramatic lighting that illuminates heirloom tomatoes as if they were heirloom diamonds.

Such food-as-porn marketing has helped to make Whole Foods a potent, high-profit force in one of the toughest businesses in the world:grocery stores. The nation's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, Whole Foods got its start in 1978 when John Mackey, then 25 years old, a fresh dropout from a succession of three Texas colleges, borrowed $45,000 from friends and family to open a health-food store-cum-restaurant in Austin, Tex.