AUSTIN, Texas (August 7, 2008) — As parents prepare to send kids back-to-school, Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) experts will be sharing their top tips and secrets for shoppers seeking healthy and economical options for their families. The natural and organic foods retailer addresses core issues that parents everywhere care about most — quality food, value price points, dietary needs, and concerns for the environment — to help meet the changing demands of the modern family’s complex lifestyle.
The following are just five key areas where Whole Foods Market has taken the lead to enable busy families to smoothly make the back-to-school transition.
Quality Foods Every single product, in every single store has passed strict quality standards above and beyond those set by any other nationwide grocer. Whole Foods Market believes that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, preservatives and hydrogenated fats — is the best tasting and most nutritious food available.
With the endless variety of products on the market it can be challenging to sort the good foods from the bad. Parents can rest assured that Whole Foods Market does the homework for them. One example is the Company’s refusal to sell products that contain hydrogenated fats. Chemically altered and man-made, hydrogenated fats have been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Often found in conventional, processed foods like margarine, baked goods, snack foods, crackers and cereals, these unnatural compounds are created by a process that transforms vegetable oils from their natural liquid state into solid fats.
In addition to stringent quality checks, the Whole Foods Market Quality Standards team regulates and monitors the ingredients within food, supplements and body care products, researching new ingredients and technologies before bringing them into stores.
Value Price Points Despite rising food costs, Whole Foods Market is committed to helping concerned parents find the best value for their food dollar while continuing to enjoy quality foods on a budget. Bulk bins – chock full of lunchbox-friendly pastas, soup mixes, dried fruits, and trail mixes — translate to good values since families save on packaging and can buy as much or as little as needed, minimizing waste. Many stores also offer case discounts or sell bulk quantities of food. Additionally, value packs of meat and chicken also offer great savings per pound.
“The frozen and fresh chicken value packs are a budget staple at our house. They are an economical and time-saving way to make a quick dinner with lunch leftovers,” said Whole Foods Market product specialist and mom-to-be Roberta Gentile. “My family’s favorite dinner to lunchbox recipe takes defrosted, sautéed chicken breasts and combines those with sugar snap peas, cole slaw mix, cashews from our bulk department and one of our 365 Everyday Value™ bottled Asian sauces. This is so easy as a salad and makes a great tortilla or lettuce wrap, too.”
Whole Foods Market is also the first national grocer to offer a store-brand organic value line of products. The 365 Organic Everyday Value™ label offers high quality organic products at accessible, competitive prices. Additionally, the Company offers the 365 Everyday Value
line. With more than 1,500 365 Everyday Value products, shoppers get high quality natural and organic products at a good value 365 days of the year.
Parents may also want to check out The Whole Deal™ publication in local Whole Foods Market stores. The new 24-page value guide highlights great product deals, money-saving coupons and tips, and budget recipes to help shoppers continue to enjoy quality organic and natural foods while stretching their food dollar.
Specific Dietary Needs More than ever, food allergies are affecting families’ eating and shopping. In the past five years, for example, peanut allergies in children have doubled, and the estimated number of Americans with food allergies has increased from 6 million to approximately 12 million. Finding healthy and affordable options to accommodate specific food allergies can be challenging. Whole Foods Market stores have expanded offerings of gluten-free foods to meet the needs of those with special dietary needs. Four years ago, Whole Foods Market opened its own dedicated gluten-free bakehouse in Raleigh, N.C. The facility creates more than 25 items – including pizza crusts, muffins, scones, breads and cakes – to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of individuals whose diets require gluten-free foods.
“Gluten-free food is not just for children with food allergies,” said Jody Villecco, in-house nutritionist and quality standards expert for Whole Foods Market. “Increasing gluten-free foods adds variety to the diet and it also tends to decrease white, processed grains in general, which is beneficial for all children.”
Concern for the Environment Concern for the environment is top of mind for many parents. A watershed of information is available, but it often can be contradictory or confusing. Whole Foods Market helps parents navigate the many ways they can reduce their carbon footprint and teach their kids to reduce and reuse everyday items. Company buyers address these issues with environmentally friendly products for the family and household. “We know moms are looking for ways to reduce their family’s environmental impact day to day. Our moms really appreciate products that enable them to make a difference and at the same time teach their kids to reuse products,” said Gentile.
When it comes to school lunches and foods-on-the-go are snack containers are must-have items. “The Preserve snack containers with the screw-top lids are great, especially if you have little ones who haven’t quite grasped how to hold onto things. The lids are more secure than your typical lid that just sticks on,” said Gentile. Preserve Food Storage Containers are dishwasher safe and American-made with 100 percent recycled plastic.
As any parent will tell you, the back-to-school transition is a busy and challenging time. Whole Foods Market is committed to assisting time-pressed, busy families and continues to stay ahead of the many important issues facing parents today by remaining focused on quality food, value price points, dietary needs and concern for the environment.