Fifty years ago, it all began in Paradise. Paradise, California, that is! Russel W. Knudsen decided to try pressing juice from his homegrown Concord grapes for his family. Needless to say, it was delicious! Thus began the tradition of making juices that taste like they were freshly picked from the orchard.Pure and Natural Since 1961
In 1961, the Knudsen family began bottling and selling fruit juices — starting with apple and Concord grape. Over the years, the company has grown to include more than 125 products, such as fruit-juice-sweetened spritzers (an alternative to traditional soda made from sparkling water and pure fruit juice), vegetable juices, nonalcoholic celebratory beverages and more. From the beginning and continuing to today, none of their products have contained artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, or added sugar.Our Relationship (We’ve been tight since way back!)
Knudsen’s products helped build the natural foods market, in more ways than one. Not only did their unique juice offerings provide more delicious options and alternatives to conventional juices, but they helped our company survive and grow. Literally! In 1981, when Austin suffered from the worst flood in 70 years, the first Whole Foods Market store was wiped out of inventory from flood waters. It was devastating, but generous help from customers, neighbors and vendors like Knudsen who contributed products helped to restore and restock the store after the flood. With their aid, the store was able to reopen within 28 days.
Another important part of Knudsen’s history was their participation in developing the legal framework for advancing the natural foods industry through support of organic farming and organic processing (in 1997, theirs became the first certified-organic processing facility in the US). Like us, J.M. Smucker Co., the parent company of R.W. Knudsen Family is honored by consistently being named by FORTUNE magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America.A Small Footprint Makes a Big ImpactIt’s clear that Knudsen puts as much thought into minimizing their environmental footprint as they put into their products. They invest in energy efficiency at their facilities and use renewable energy sources on site to reduce reliance on electricity. With one of the largest arrays of solar panels in Northern California, they generate about one-third of the daytime energy used to power their main production facility and they currently have a 98.5% reuse/recycle rate, which means that only 1.5% of what comes into their production facility goes to landfills.One Big Party
As part of their 50-year-anniversary celebration, many R.W. Knudsen products will be on sale in our US stores during August — but the party doesn’t stop there. We’ve partnered with R. W. Knudsen Family for their Weekday Giveaway contest: through their Facebook page, you can enter in a drawing to win a $50 gift card to Whole Foods Market and a 50th Anniversary commemorative bottle of their Sparkling Grape Juice! (There will be one winner for every weekday in August.) In addition, one Grand Prize Winner will be chosen at random from all of the entries to receive a $500 gift card to our stores.We’re also pleased to announce that R.W. Knudsen Family is making a $5,000 donation to Whole Planet Foundation — their generous donation translates to 23 microloans that give 140 people an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty with microcredit. Through valued microfinance institution partners worldwide, Whole Planet Foundation has empowered 146,000 clients with microcredit loans in five years, supporting more than 868,000 people in 42 countries in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.Click here to go to R.W Knudsen Family's contest entry page on Facebook. One winner will be selected every weekday in August. Happy 50th Anniversary to R.W. Knudsen Family from your friends at Whole Foods Market!