AUSTIN, Texas (January 9, 2006) For the ninth year in a row, Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, has earned a spot on FORTUNE magazine's annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. At No. 15, the company's highest ranking ever, Whole Foods Market is one of only 20 companies to be named to the list all nine years since its inception. Whole Foods Market ranked third out of the 38 large companies on the list, and of the ten Texas-based companies on the list, it is one of two in Austin. The list and related stories appears in the January 23 issue of FORTUNE, available on newsstands January 16 and at on January 9.

“One of our core values at Whole Foods Market is Team Member happiness and excellence, and we believe our innovative and egalitarian work environment is a major factor in our success as a company,” said Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-president and COO, said. “Our 39,000 Team Members are passionate and dedicated. They are empowered to make Whole Foods Market not only a great place to shop but also a place to build a career. Our Team Members have a voice and they share in the rewards and success of the company. This has been part of our mission since Whole Foods Market started with a team of 19 people in 1980.”

In 2005, Whole Foods Market marked its 25th Anniversary and the company also debuted on the FORTUNE 500, ranking 479 among the largest U.S. companies based on sales. “Whole Foods Market is uniquely mission driven and we believe that Team Member involvement at all levels of our business is the heart of the company's success,” said AC Gallo, co-president and COO. “From opening up our benefits package to a company-wide vote and encouraging experimentation with new products and innovative ideas to achieve our mission, our Team Members have a voice to participate in shaping the direction of the company and their future.”

FORTUNE Magazine chooses the 100 Best Companies to Work For through an evaluation of company policies and culture and the opinions of the company's own employees. Two-thirds of the total score comes from employee responses to a 57-question survey answered by 400 randomly selected employees. Questions include attitudes toward management, job satisfaction and camaraderie. The remaining one-third of the score is based on the company's credibility, respect, fairness, and pride/camaraderie.

Whole Foods Market has earned the following rankings on the same list the past nine years: 2006 — number 15 2005 — number 30 2004 — number 47 2003 — number 32 2002 — number 48 2001 — number 41 2000 — number 72 1999 — number 48 1998 — number 34