For almost 40 years, responsible sourcing has been a key component of Whole Foods Market’s core purpose, values and how we do business. In 2007, Whole Foods Market launched its Whole Trade Guarantee program to support ethical trade and ensure worker welfare and environmental protection in the production of agricultural products across the globe. We work with third-party verifiers to offer customers a variety of Whole Trade Guarantee products throughout the year, with purchases helping the very communities from which the products are sourced.
Customers will find the Whole Trade Guarantee seal on some of our most popular products such as bananas, asparagus and roses. Thanks to your support in purchasing Whole Trade products, real, tangible improvements in people’s lives are happening every day.
For Whole Foods Market to sell a product with a Whole Trade Guarantee seal, a product must:
- Meet our rigorous Quality Standards, which prohibit 100+ preservatives, flavors, colors and other ingredients commonly found in food. In addition to Whole Foods Market Quality Standards, each product must meet specifications defined by our merchant team.
- Be grown on a farm certified or supported by an approved third-party verifier.
- Be produced by a committed supplier with a deep, transparent relationship with Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market is committed to knowing our growers and producers, and long-term, win-win relationships with all our suppliers.
- Demonstrate a measurable, positive impact on farmworkers, workers in the supply chain, communities and the environment. Regular impact reporting will be collected to outline efforts including worker health, education, support of local communities and conservation efforts.
Whole Trade Guarantee Products
By offering a variety of high-quality, third-party-verified products throughout the year, the Whole Trade Guarantee gives customers another reason to feel good about choosing Whole Foods Market.
Whole Trade Guarantee Products in Season*
- Year-round: bananas, flowers, pineapple, tomatoes, coffee, tea
- Winter: asparagus, cucumbers, eggplants, mangoes, melons, bell peppers
- Spring: asparagus, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, mangoes, melons, peaches, bell peppers
- Summer: apples, mandarins, navel oranges
- Fall: asparagus, melons, navel oranges, bell peppers, zucchini
*This is your best bet for when you could see these products in your local Whole Foods Market, but weather conditions and other factors determine actual availability. When you see them, get them while you can!
The Impact of Whole Trade Guarantee
The work of Whole Trade Guarantee spans 12 countries, resulting in millions of products sold at Whole Foods Market stores since 2007. To this day, Whole Trade Guarantee continues to generate millions of dollars annually for farmworkers and their communities, and Whole Foods Market is a fair trade industry leader. Some examples of the positive impact include:
Roses in Ecuador
Agrocoex and Agrogana are two of several farms that supply roses for our Whole Trade floral program. Social premiums paid by Whole Foods Market through Whole Trade have funded several community projects on these farms. At Agrocoex — where over half the workers are women — workers used their premium funds to provide stipends for daycare, as well as build a dental clinic, on-site laundry facilities and housing developments. Workers at Agrogana used their premium funds to build a childcare center and school for the workers’ children.
Bananas in Costa Rica
EARTH University is a one-of-a-kind, nonprofit university and farm in Costa Rica that supplies Whole Trade Guarantee bananas. EARTH University bananas are ethically grown, and every purchase helps fund student scholarships. These students leave EARTH University with the goal of becoming the change agents who combat poverty and promote ethical and sustainable food production in their home countries.
Coffee in Nicaragua
Since 2003, Whole Foods Market has sourced coffee from El Jaguar in Nicaragua. The farm has used social premiums from Whole Trade Guarantee to build an ecological wet mill (a coffee mill that maximizes water use efficiency and treats wastewater generated by coffee processing) as well as buy surrounding grazing lands to convert the land to shade-grown coffee groves and a 120-hectare bird sanctuary supporting migratory and rare birds, and environmental conservation.
Organizations That Work With Whole Trade Guarantee
The Whole Trade Guarantee program relies on internationally recognized third parties, including the below, to verify social and environmental practices and working conditions.
Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between domestic companies and their international suppliers to ensure that farmers and workers are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and improve their communities.
Rainforest Alliance works to protect forests around the world and improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities by promoting their human rights and helping them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
Fair Trade America
Fair Trade America works with businesses to help them certify their products as ethically sourced and to secure decent working conditions, fair prices and better terms of trade on the farms where those products are made.
Fair Food Program
The Fair Food Program is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms.
Equitable Food Initiative
The Equitable Food Initiative brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to ensure that best practices in food safety are understood and adhered to, farmworkers are treated fairly and experience a safer and healthier work environment, and farmworkers are engaged to identify problems and create solutions.