Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

25 Random Things

We thought we’d get in on the fun and post our own “25 Random Things” list. How many of these did you know about us? Do you have a favorite fact about us that has missed our list?

  1. Several times a year, our stores hold community giving days (known as “5% Days”) where five percent of that day’s net sales are donated to a local nonprofit or educational organization.
  2. Margaret Wittenberg, our Vice President of Global Quality Standards and Public Affairs, was the only retail representative on the board which created the U.S. National Organic Standards.
  3. We stopped using disposable plastic bags at checkout on Earth Day 2008, keeping 150 million plastic bags out of the landfills since then.
  4. We started with 19 Team Members in 1980, and several of them are still with us!
  5. An old joke about our first store was that people confused it for a Volkswagen car dealership because of all the VW Beetles in the parking lot.
  6. Our Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP) provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to support small local farmers and producers.
  7. With "the crack heard round the world," Whole Foods Market was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for "the most wheels of parmigiano reggiano ever cracked at the same time."
  8. Our Glastonbury, CT store was the first supermarket to generate power from an on-site fuel cell.
  9. Did you know Whole Foods Market was once under seven feet of water? The 11,000 sq ft building that housed it in the early 1980s (now a used music store) was hit by the Memorial Day flood in 1981. What we learned: oranges float. Wine bottles don’t.
  10. Many of our best innovations come from our Team Members. Like Lee Tobin. After he was diagnosed with celiac disease, this baker from our Chapel Hill store began experimenting with gluten-free baking. By October 2004, he was proud to fire up the gluten-free ovens in a new, completely separate, dedicated facility: the Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Bakehouse.
  11. In 2006, we purchased enough renewable energy credits from wind farms to offset 100% of the electricity used in all stores and facilities in the U.S. and Canada. It was the largest wind energy credit purchase in the history of North America.
  12. We maintain an “unacceptable ingredients” list of items that cannot be in our products. It includes hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, and a whole lot more.
  13. Our Team Members are very generous folks. They have donated over $500,000 to the Whole Planet Foundation, funding 2,700 microloans and helping over 13,000 people work to lift themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship.
  14. Our commissary kitchen in Massachusetts gets 100% of its electricity from recycled cooking oil.
  15. At some of our offices, Team Members bring dogs into work (but not to our stores!).
  16. Our Lamar Boulevard store has been called the top destination in Austin. It’s visited by even more tourists than the Texas state capitol, and as far as we know, it’s the only supermarket with a rooftop ice skating rink.
  17. Each sale of the Whole Foods Market FEED 100 bag provides 100 school meals to children in Rwanda through the UN World Food Program.
  18. You did not make up the term “Whole Paycheck,” but we will smile and nod and pretend that we’ve never heard it before.
  19. Fast Company called CEO John Mackey “a man who has done more to improve the quality, sustainability, healthfulness, and purity of the food Americans eat—from farm field and barnyard to kitchen table—than anyone else in the past 25 years.” Not bad for the $1 annual salary we pay him!
  20. Whole Foods Market has been among Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since the list began.
  21. Every reusable Better Bag we sell is made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Each bag represents approximately four 20-ounce plastic bottles.
  22. Do you use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soaps? Or start your day with Allegro Coffee & Tea? Was your mid-afternoon pick me up a bar of Theo Chocolate? These are all Whole Trade Guarantee products, which are certified as providing more money to producers, better wages and working conditions for workers, sound environmental practices, and still meeting our high Quality Standards.
  23. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded us its top honor of Green Power Partner of the Year for 2006 and 2007. The company was also presented with the Green Power Leadership Award in 2004 and 2005.
  24. Every month our Westport, CT store names Team Members “King and Queen of Customer Service.” The King and Queen get to do a “shop til you drop” for 2 minutes in our grocery aisles, collecting as many 365 Everyday Value products as they possibly can. Normally Team Members go home with 2 to 3 carts full of groceries, and get to have the rest of the Team Members cheer them on and yell what they should be picking up.
  25. We are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. You can’t miss us.