Meet Our Trends Council

Our team of sauce-sampling, veggie-eating, trend-chasing experts have their fingers on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s ahead in the culinary world.

Group of 365 brand products

Culinary experts, buyers, foragers, food lovers — our Trends Council represents some of the sharpest minds in food, beverage and beyond. This talented team travels, scours the web and ceaselessly samples to find what’s new in food, beauty and wellness, whether it’s electric new flavors or innovative products. Read on to learn what makes them tick.

Whole Foods Trends Council - Will Betts

Will Betts: Vice President, Local Merchandising

Will started with us selling cheese at a Washington, D.C., Whole Foods Market store back in 1996, making his way through merchandising roles in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest before becoming leader of our Local Forager program. Now he collaborates with customers, team members and local suppliers to color our aisles with top-notch products that reflect the soul of each store’s surrounding community.

How do you stay on-trend?

Team members, I find, have the best insight and recommendations. I ask a lot of questions. I also like Instagram.

What was your favorite food as a kid?

Eggnog. I never understood why it was only made during the holidays.

Trends Council - Erik Brown

Erik Brown: Executive Leader of Produce

Erik began his long journey at Whole Foods Market back in 1990 at Bread and Circus, an independent grocery chain that became a part of the Whole Foods Market family. He was a Produce Coordinator in three different regions before joining the Global Perishable Purchasing Team over 10 years ago. He leads a team of 25+ experienced and talented buyers and field team members that ships high-quality produce and flowers to our stores through our distribution centers. Growing up and living currently in Boston with his wife and three children, he enjoys the outdoors, and he’s always on the hunt to find the best local food possible.

What is your go-to item at Whole Foods Market?

Go to? Great question. I’m a sucker for a good peach and a tomato, but super picky … I spend way too much time at the cheese counter, so I’d have to say Rogue River Blue or Jasper Hill’s Harbison. David and his team from Rogue River do an outstanding job along with Mateo and the team at Jasper Hill. It’s remarkable how far the domestic cheese scene has come, rivaling and exceeding the international scene.

What was your favorite food as a kid?

Probably hot dogs, and no secret, Fenway Franks. I spent a lot of time at Fenway, and nothing beats a dog at park watching my beloved Red Sox.

Trends Council - Rachel Bukowski

Rachel Bukowski: Senior Team Leader of Product Development

Rachel leads a team of product developers and research and development technicians on our Exclusive Brands Team, ensuring that Whole Foods Market and 365 by Whole Foods Market products not only taste delicious, but also push the cutting edge of culinary trends and adhere to rigorous Quality Standards. Rachel has cultivated her passion for culinary trends and wellness throughout a decade in the personal and home care consumer packaged goods manufacturing industry.

How do you stay on-trend?

I obsessively check my favorite Insta pages (Food52, Serious Eats, Eater and all of the Local Eater pages, to name a few) daily. I love to travel and use it as an opportunity to really dig into authentic regional cuisines and taste the best of what every city has to offer. Cooking is a passion of mine, and I make it a goal to try to cook at least two new trending or unique recipes a week.

What was your favorite food as a kid?

Pasta all the way. Come to think of it, pasta still is one of my favorite foods. I’m a total carb monster.

Trends Council - George Daines

George Daines: Senior Global Category Merchant

George joined Whole Foods Market in February 2018 and has a wealth of beverage knowledge experience and expertise. As a mastermind of all things drinkable, he oversees the strategic and operational execution of shelf-stable beverage products in Whole Foods Market stores across the nation.

What was your favorite food as a kid?

The loaded cheese fries with ranch dipping sauce at Outback Steakhouse … haha.

If we opened up your pantry / refrigerator, what would we see?

365 by Whole Foods Market eggs opens in a new tab and mixed green salads, Grillo’s Hot Pickles opens in a new tab, some type of plant -based milk alternative, all the beverages and condiments, Ancient Nutrition Gut Restore Probiotics, shredded sharp cheddar and delicious crumbled feta.

Whole Foods Trends Council - Mary Guiver

Mary Guiver: Global Senior Category Merchant, Beer & Spirits

After immersing herself in the world of beer, wine and spirits as a buyer in our Northern California region, Mary has excelled as a student of the beverage category, juggling category analysis, price management, promotions and new-item procurement on her way to her current role as the company-wide lead buyer of beer and spirits. She is particularly passionate about product knowledge and emerging trends.

How do you stay on-trend?

I ask a lot of questions! Customers are great at explaining why they want to drink something specific versus something else. You start to recognize patterns when you ask and take time to listen to customers and suppliers. Patterns turn into themes and pick up steam, and before you know it, it’s a trend!

What’s a controversial hot food take that you stand by?

Carbs are not the enemy. The day you look at a carrot and decide it’s bad for you, something is wrong.

Trends Council - Carol Madeiros

Carol Medeiros: Vice President, Quality Standards

Carol is a lifetime advocate of natural and organic foods and products with nearly three decades of experience working with suppliers. At Whole Foods Market, she works tirelessly to reach win-win solutions with producers, certification organizations and teams across various departments, all while shepherding our Quality Standards, core values and mission.

What is your go-to item at Whole Foods Market?

Anything and everything from the Produce department! Vegetables, avocados and berries are my go-to, everyday staples.

What was your favorite food as a kid?

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, so my favorite “healthy” food was local apples. Other more typical kid favorites like pizza, baked goods and sugary cereals were in regular rotation!

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