On first thought, Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) couldn't be more different. However, they still ended up in a race for American consumers who covet increasingly popular types of products and corporate initiatives, despite the fact that they're polar opposites in retail style.

Motley Fool senior analyst Alyce Lomax explains how companies like these can push each other into positive competitive directions that are good for the world -- races to the top make for healthy competition that's better for investors and everyone else.