Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Partnering with Panorama Meats

By Frances Flower, April 6, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Frances Flower

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a 5-Step supplier for Whole Foods Market, just ask our friends at Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats. Mack Graves is the CEO of Panorama – a supplier of local, organic, 100% grass-fed, Step 4 (pasture centered) beef to Whole Foods Market stores in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and the Rocky Mountain regions. I spoke with him the other day about his experiences working with Whole Foods Market. “We have a very close, continuous and candid relationship with Whole Foods,” Mack told me. “And we genuinely like the people we deal with – it’s a very honest relationship. We talk two or three times a day and if a problem comes up, we work together to solve it.” So how did it all begin? Panorama and Whole Foods Market first partnered up in 2005. Mack approached Dan Neuerburg, our meat coordinator in the Northern California region, to see if he was interested in Panorama’s grass-fed beef program. At the time, Panorama had a natural program but Dan asked if they could supply organic beef. Mack and the Panorama team grabbed the bull by the horns and committed to achieving this – making sure the ranches and processing plants got their organic status, which is no small feat! Panorama began selling five head of organic grass-fed cattle each week to Whole Foods Market. The program became so successful that it increased to 48 head per week and Panorama was asked to expand to our stores in the Pacific Northwest as well. But the story doesn’t end there! Two years later, Mack approached our coordinator in the Rocky Mountain region, Dave Ruedlinger. Dave was interested and wanted local supply. Once again, Mack took on the challenge and worked with his Colorado ranchers to create a local program for the Rocky Mountain stores. Mack explained that organizing a local program was not without its challenges. He started with one ranch supplying our Pearl Street store but then needed to work with his other local ranches to coordinate different calving times in order to ensure a year-round supply of cattle. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to develop and maintain these programs, but we have seen our business grow rapidly.” When I asked Mack what makes working with Whole Foods Market different, he responded, “I firmly believe that there is no one else in the retail environment that has such a visceral belief in the organic grass-fed movement and no one else delves into the verification process like Whole Foods does. Whole Foods makes sure the claims we make are true and I honestly don’t mind this level of scrutiny – I think it gives more credibility to our program.” One of the reasons Panorama is so successful is that they connect to Whole Foods Market customers by offering product sampling in the stores. Mack himself has done hundreds of “in-store demos” and he also makes a point of bringing his ranchers to the stores as well. They usually do demos four times a year and he and his team coordinate with every store in the region. “It’s a lot of work but it’s the best thing you can do. When you talk to the consumer it’s great! My goal is to bring ranchers and consumers closer together. I feel that Panorama is the bridge between the ranching community and consumers and Whole Foods is the conduit to that process.” So if you live in the Northern California, Pacific Northwest or Rocky Mountain regions, next time you’re in your local store, check out some Panorama Organic Grass-fed beef. And if you’re not in those regions, no worries – we have partnerships with farmers and ranchers across the country. Just ask your store’s meat team what’s local to you. The more you know about our meat, the better.

Category: Meat




maureen geppert says ...
I once visited a store in Mass. and was very impressed. New Hampshire is a wonderful state and very deserving of a Whole Foods Store. There is a local farm in Dover named Tuttles Farm. It is the oldest farm in the country and recently was put on the market. I truly believe that it would be a great location for a store like yours honoring our country in its farming roots. They believed in quality food and supported local farming. Please please look into this and give many of my friends an oportunity to lead healthier lives. TUTTLES FARM,DOVER,NEW HAMPSHIRE !
04/06/2011 4:00:29 PM CDT
VeganRunningGal says ...
Shame on Whole Foods for it misguided "Happy Meat" campaign, which is designed to boost its bottom line and persuade consumers that exploitation and killing of animals for our pleasure is OK. I'm done with WF.
04/11/2011 1:23:45 PM CDT
@vegangal says ...
No, whole foods isn't perfect. It's big. It's out to be successful. They're looking to make money. They sell meat. People eat meat, still. What's the alternative...as far as national brands go, where do you shop? Please, if you have a local, independently run, small grocery store in your area that does not sell meat, by all means, support it with all your strength. However, there's no need to attack whole foods. I'm upset myself with whole foods giving in to GMO pressure. But, it's not my business, and for the most part it seems they're doing quite a bit of good. Which is what we need more of. Positive action will save us, not negative distraction.
04/21/2011 9:07:01 AM CDT
Kim says ...
Raising the animals humanely and organically is great, but what about the slaughtering process? The majority of organically raised meat ends up being slaughtered and processed in the same tortuous, horrifying slaughter houses as conventional meat (thanks to lawmakers that see to this). This means that all the atrocities that conventionally grown animals face everyday are also forced on the organic animals. What is the point of the animal having a great life if the last few days of it are spent in agony and fear and pain?
04/26/2011 11:53:37 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Kim: Thank you so much for the question. No matter what the STEP rating, we require all our animals to be slaughtered humanely. One of the most crucial steps in this process is properly stunning the animal prior to death so they are unconscious and don’t feel anything. Every slaughter plant is audited each year for animal welfare as part of our Whole Foods Market requirements, and one of the core components is to check for proper stunning. I hope this answers your question and have a great day!
04/26/2011 12:23:59 PM CDT
Christine says ...
@Michael, is the farm certified humane? I particularly look for Murray's chicken because of their certification. While I personally try to stay away from beef or pork because of the inhumane treatment of these animals and their impact on the environment, I think humane is better than not. Smithfield Hams engages in systematic torture. Love Whole Foods- not perfect but definitely helping make our food system better.
04/26/2011 7:34:59 PM CDT
Dan Martin says ...
I like the fact that Michael from Whole Foods took the time to address @Kim s comment about the slaughter process. Obviously Whole Foods cares.
06/09/2011 6:09:06 PM CDT
Steve says ...
I wish Vegans would stop pushing their narrow agenda on everyone else. Humans have incisors at the front of their mouths for a specific reason and it's not to rip leaves off a tree. For those of us that do eat meat, what's important is that it is safe, nutritious, sustainable in the way it was produced and affordable. WF is making huge strides in the way domesticated animals are treated and slaughtered. Instead of raining down your anti-carnivore agenda, give credit where it is due. If you choose to not eat meat that's your choice, just like choosing to shave your legs or dye your hair.
07/24/2012 4:36:08 PM CDT
Rad Fox says ...
Thanks for supplying a great product!
09/27/2012 11:23:26 AM CDT
Russ Butler says ...
Stopped at Whole Foods in Vancouver WA to pick up some Country Natural beef and passed a gentleman cooking Panorama hamburger, he offered a tasty sample and it was delicious. As luck would have it, his brand was on special, so I picked up two, one pound packages and we enjoyed your hamburger for dinner that evening. You now have a regular customer and I'm pleased that your company is partnering with Whole Foods. Thanks for your hard work on the farms. We had a natural foods store in Vermont in the 1970's ("The Butler's Pantry") in our rural home so I can appreciate your dedication to producing organic foods. Our organic store was ahead of it's time in the 70's, but at least we fed our family of seven healthy natural meals.
03/12/2014 9:58:42 PM CDT