Sustainable Life Media:

Whole Foods Market is moving into the preventative health care market, testing membership-only “Wellness Clubs” in five US markets over the next three months.

Members will pay a one-time fee of $199 and monthly dues of $45. In exchange they can attend classes on nutrition, health and cooking, and receive 10% discounts on 1,000 healthy food items in the store.

If the test period is successful, Whole Foods says it will expand the program to 10 more markets in 2012 before going national in 2013. (The company has 310 stores nationwide.)

I have this suspicion that healthcare delivery organizations are going to look at this five years from now and wonder how they got beat on “wellness.” The reason will be one that this economic spate has made popular: out-innovated by those willing to think differently. A wellness focus makes little economic sense at this moment. But it will. It will.

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