Company News:

Health Starts Hereā„¢ launches at Whole Foods MarketĀ®

Companywide Healthy Eating Initiative Features Educational Tools, Recipes & Programs to Improve Health; Team Member Support & Additional Store Discounts Provide Incentives for Optimum Employee Health


Austin, Texas. (Jan. 20, 2010) —To help shoppers and Team Members who want to improve their health easily and naturally, Whole Foods Market, a leader in natural and organic foods, announced today that it has launched its “Health Starts Here” initiative at all 289 locations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We opened our first store 30 years ago to provide natural foods as a delicious and healthy alternative to the increasing amounts of highly processed foods with artificial ingredients,” says Margaret Wittenberg, global vice president of quality standards and leader of Health Starts Here at Whole Foods Market. “Over the years, we realized that providing the healthiest foods available is simply not enough. We are now deepening our commitment to healthy eating by providing education and support tools to inspire interest in foods that help improve and maintain health and vitality."


Health Starts Here is the first major program to be launched since Whole Foods Market added a new core value to its mission in October 2009:

Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education.”

The new program is based on the following simple principles for everyday healthy eating:

“These commonsense criteria offer great health benefits, no matter what dietary path you follow,” said Wittenberg. “We are excited to promote wellness and encourage healthier lifestyles by emphasizing the value of eating nutrient-rich foods and showing people how simple it can be. I like to think of it as ‘Take charge, eat well, feel great,’ as eating for health can truly be delicious, nutritious and enjoyable."

Healthy Eating Partners

Whole Foods Market is featuring two unique third-party healthy eating partner programs to provide easy-to-follow guidance for shoppers and Team Members. Both offer 28-day “getting started” plans while providing plenty of room for personal choices to help those who are interested in starting on their own journey down the road to optimum health.


In-Store Education

Whole Foods Market will feature free information, recipes, in-store lectures, events and support groups. A selection of supporting educational books and cookbooks will also be for sale alongside the “Engine 2 Diet” book and “Eat Right America” program materials.

To help shoppers identify healthy, nutrient-dense foods, stores will post signs with Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scores. Created by Dr. Fuhrman, the ANDI scoring scale evaluates levels of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants per calorie in various foods. The higher the concentration of micronutrients in a food, the higher that food will score. For instance, a serving of kale, a dark leafy green, scores 1,000, placing it at the top of the index, while a serving of soda only scores 1. Individual ANDI scores will be placed on all fruits and vegetables because they are the most nutrient-dense foods.  For departments like meat, seafood and cheese, the top 10 ANDI scores in each category will be displayed. A complete list of ANDI rankings can be found in The Nutritarian Handbook, available at Whole Foods Market stores in late February, and they are available to Eat Right America members online.   “Through in-store signage and education about nutrient-dense foods, including information about how to prepare and incorporate them into your everyday life, we want to help our communities attain optimum health and well-being,” says Wittenberg.

Wittenberg explains, “What I love about eating healthfully, other than feeling great, is that the menu possibilities are endless, and cooking can be so easy. For example, in the morning I may have a fresh fruit smoothie, or a cooked whole grain such as steel-cut oats with fresh or dried fruit and nuts. For lunch I typically have a big salad loaded with several kinds of greens and veggies of all colors, topped with beans, or tofu, finished with a splash of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and served with a piece of whole grain bread. At dinner time, I enjoy steamed or oven-roasted veggies, along with whole grain pastas paired with a hearty stew or casserole made with beans. Occasionally, the dinner menu includes baked fish or a chicken stir-fry made with lots of vegetables and cooked with minimal oil."

Shoppers can expect to see information in some stores immediately, while other locations will incorporate this initiative throughout 2010. More information about Health Starts Here can be found now at

Team Member Support and Incentives

To reiterate the company’s commitment to its newest core value and its long-time

“Supporting Team Member happiness and excellence”

core value, Whole Foods Market’s Health Starts Here initiative also includes two internal programs for Team Members.