Whole Foods Returning to Its Health Roots

Whole Foods Returning to Its Health Roots

Food & Drink

Whole Foods Returning to Its Health Roots


By Cari Martens

According to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, you will soon see the upscale grocery chain to go back to being what it started out to be: food stores focused on health.

The year 2010 will see fewer chocolate fountains and other foodie indulgences Whole Foods has promoted in recent times, and more salad bars with oil-free dressing choices. More organic foods and fewer foodie orgasmics.

It’s partly a response to the recessionary economy, and partly a return to the company’s roots and core competencies.

As Mackey explained in an interview with Sarah Skidmore for the Associated Press: ‘There have been two dominant values driving our products over the years,” he said. “One is food as health and one is food as indulgence.’ The two philosophies have ‘battled for the soul of Whole Foods,’ he says. The coming year will bring the emphasis back to food as health.

The chain will promote healthy eating and education, adding teams of employees, classes, books, DVDs and supper clubs dedicated to the subject. Whole Foods will become the first chain to provide nutrient-dense labeling, which shows the amount of nutrients per volume of a product. It will offer more products for special diets, and fund nutrition research, which it will share with customers.

Mackey notes that the nation has been embroiled in a heated debate over how to pay for health care this year. He says there hasn’t been enough discussion about helping people to live healthier lives and make healthier food choices. Whole Foods is ready to take up that challenge, he says.

It will be fascinating to see if other food companies follow that lead in 2010.

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