Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

What is the Whole Trade Guarantee?

You may have seen the Whole Trade® Guarantee seal on various items in our stores, but you may not be sure what exactly the Whole Trade® Guarantee is. Simply put, this little label is an extension of our core values. Anytime you see the Whole Trade® Guarantee on an item, it means that the product meets key criteria:

  • Meet our strict product Quality Standards
  • Provide more money to producers
  • Ensure better wages and working conditions for workers
  • Care for the environment
  • Donate 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation®

So how do we guarantee all that? First things first: to ensure a product deserves the Whole Trade seal, we taste, look, prod and poke for quality. Once we’re satisfied that you’ll be satisfied, we enlist third-party certifiers to examine environmental practices and working conditions on site. Allow me break it down even further so you know just what you’re getting when you buy a Whole Trade product.

Meet our Strict Quality Standards

We’re crazy for quality around here so, like all food in our stores, Whole Trade foods are subject to our standards, including no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors and sweeteners, and no hydrogenated fats.

Provide More Money to Producers

Equitable trade builds more sustainable, healthy economies in developing countries. A premium price paid to producers can:

  • Provide entry into and stability within the global marketplace
  • Be an investment in their families and communities
  • Put money back into their operations
  • Enable them to invest in training and education for workers
  • Support a better quality of life year-round

Ensure Better Wages and Working Conditions

On the job, Whole Trade producers provide better wages and safer conditions for the workers.

Thanks to community support programs, Whole Trade also benefits the workers and their families beyond the farm gate or the door of the production facility, and beyond a paycheck. The “social premium” Whole Foods Market® pays to producers for Whole Trade products supports social-improvement projects in the worker communities, such as:

  • Schools and daycare for worker families
  • Hospital equipment
  • Low-interest home-improvement loans
  • Bicycles to help kids get to school
  • Water and electricity access

Promote a Sustainable Environment

The Whole Trade Guarantee requires producers use sound environmental practices that encourage biodiversity and healthy soils. While some Whole Trade products are organic; others respect our planet Earth using a variety of conservation methods or respectful wild harvesting. Third-party certifiers confirm specific criteria is met.

Get the World’s Best Goods and Peace of Mind

For every Whole Trade product sold, 1% of the sale is donated to Whole Planet Foundation to help fund poverty alleviation through microcredit in the US and abroad. As of early 2012, the foundation has supported more than a million people in changing their own lives. When you purchase Whole Trade products, you’re helping Whole Planet Foundation, too!

Vote for a Win Win!

From now until the end of October, we’re giving you another way to show your support for the Whole Trade Guarantee and the farmers and workers who benefit. We’re donating $1 to your choice of three producer projects when you sign up to receive our email newsletters. Our goal is to raise $20,000, so if you don’t already receive our emails, sign up and tell your friends too. 

And the next time you’re in our store, look for the Whole Trade Guarantee seal on products including Allegro coffee, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, melons, roses, sugar, tea, chocolate, and more! We are thrilled to be able to offer these products in our stores, knowing that with every purchase you really are improving lives.

Is the Whole Trade Guarantee important to you?  What are some of your favorite Whole Trade products?

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Ginna says …

Can you please sell the MAjestic Garlic products again? They were fabulous and it is a shame I can't find them anymore at your sore. They were the main reason why I went to a Whole Foods anyways! Thanks,

Diane Mattingly says …

I am disappointed to hear that you do not fully support non-GMO foods. I would ask WHY? If quality matters to you as you say it does, BE true to your customers and they will BE true to you. I have always been a fan of Whole Foods, now I have to CAREFULLY shop there too. I live 1 1/2 hrs away and have taken many trips with my coolers to stock up. I have to say Im not as big a fan anymore as I will question myself if its really worth the trip. I can always resort to scouting around my hometown area to find what I need. I once thought WHOLE FOODS was the answer and even made grocery shopping fun instead of upsetting. I hope you will get enough emails to reconsider your "quality core values"

enzha quinones says …

love it this one of the many reason that i enjoy of WFM and i aslo would like to be part of

Krista says …

I thought I was safely avoiding GMO ingredients by shopping in your stores. It seems that I was wrong. I still need to check the labels. Very sorry to see that you are not fully supporting non-GMO foods.

anna says …

I thought it is very safe to shop at WFM ( I'm with you for 8 years) but I was wrong . You don't fully avoid GMO and sell products with corn syrop. I trusted you but not anymore.

Dunja says …

where is the proof of third party checking? that Whole Trade Guarantee seal is real? Fair trade has that info for the customer... you say Guarantee, but by who?any nonprofit groups? why don't whole food just use fair trade , It a hight level of Guarantee.. please put links to these Guarantee company..

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DUNJA - Thanks for your question. We do have a list of Whole Trade Certifier Partners on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission-values/whole-trade-program/certifier-partners.

brittany odom says …

this is exactly why i Heart whole foods! its not just dedication to quality and healthy food...but dedication to quality and healthy spirits too!!!

cobie says …

Hi, You say, "While some Whole Trade products are organic; others respect our planet Earth using a variety of conservation methods or respectful wild harvesting." This is confusing. Does the variety of "conservation methods" include applying non-organic fertilizers or biocides? If so, how can you honestly characterize that as a "conservation method"? You further state that "Third-party certifiers confirm specific criteria is met." but you don't tell us what those criteria are, except in the vague p.r. language of this webpage. Can you tell us exactly who the third party certifiers are and what are the criteria being used? Without information that lets us independently verify what you're telling us, all the Whole Trade Guarantee amounts to is "Don't worry, just trust us."

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@COBIE - We are happy to provide this info. You can find the certifier partners listed on the WTG website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission-values/whole-trade-program/certifier-partners. It will list the suppliers with links to their sites for more info about their guidelines.

Brain Tanner says …

I like the principles of the Whole Trade Guarantee but what about organic pesticide free and non-GMO?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BRAIN - Our Whole Trade Guarantee products do not necessarily also mean that they are organic. Often times, our WTG vendors are based in countries where GMOs are banned. If they are not certified organic or have gone through non-GMO verification, the product will not be labeled as such. You can find a list of countries that have banned GMOs at http://www.organicconsumers.org/gefood/countrieswithbans.cfm.

Jillian Love says …

are these "Whole Trade" products organic and GMO free????

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JILLIAN - Whole Trade Guarantee and the Organic certification process are two totally different programs. Whole Trade will refer to the working conditions of the farm workers where organic certification will take in to consideration the growing conditions of the food. Also to note, technically you cannot have "GMO Free" products. There is a small threshold so items must be labeled as "non-GMO". Lastly, you can find products that meet both standards by looking for Whole Trade and Organic certified items.

Thelma says …

Its a shame you don't believe organic and non-GMO is that important as well. I was lead to believe otherwise in your store. Looks like I won't be buying anymore "Whole Trade Guarantee" items. Its a shame you try to pull the wool over your customer's eyes. I have to watch what I buy in your store very carefully. Thank goodness I know how to read and am fairly intelligent!!

Jake says …

How strict is this guarantee? It sounds like it is trying to look more ethical like the growing popularity of the Fair-Trade brand. Why not just transition to the Fair-Trade Standards? Or if it is truly ethical, and meets the standards you lay forward, why not put both labels on your products? Surely it cannot cost more than the resources already being used for the Whole Trade labels and standards. Also, going GMO-free in your products would surely bring many more guests in. I for one would rush to your stores if it could carry more GMO- free and Fair-Trade labels than it does.