MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2005). Whole Foods Market®, the world's leading natural and organic supermarket and America's first national certified organic grocer, opened its first market on the New Jersey Shore today, Wednesday, June 15 at 8 a.m. The new store at 471 State Route 35 North at Chapel Hill Shopping Center in Middletown is the 170th store as Whole Foods Market continues its rapid growth; the company holds the same commitment to quality standards, environmental concerns and outstanding customer service that Whole Foods Market shoppers have come to know and love across the country.

  “We know that residents along the Jersey Shore have been patiently waiting for the opening of a Whole Foods Market of their own, and today, I'm proud to say that we're here to serve them with a tremendous selection of purely delicious, all natural foods,” said Christina Minardi, president of Whole Foods Market's Tri-State Region. “Whether you're seeking the largest selection of organically grown produce, natural and organic meats, fresh artisanal cheeses or simply an enjoyable shopping experience with outstanding customer service, we go to extraordinary lengths to delight our shoppers. We look forward to being a part of the Middletown community.”

Customers can shop with confidence knowing that Whole Foods Market takes pride in being highly selective about the products it sells. All products must meet the company's strict quality standards to ensure that they are free of all artificial additives, sweeteners, colors, flavors, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.

Spanning more than 48,000-square feet, the new Whole Foods Market store was designed with a vibrant, airy feel. Some of the exciting features include: a large nut roasting center where ten varieties of nuts and eight types of nut butters are roasted and served fresh daily; knowledgeable fishmongers ready to recommend the fresh catches of the day; an expansive wine and beer department with daily wine tastings from 5 to 7 p.m.; and a bakery island featuring 15 daily baked artisan breads, countless dessert options and donuts made in-house with no transfats.

In the meat department a large rotisserie will roast chicken as well as ribs, pork, lamb, kabobs in a basket, and small turkeys. A chili and stew station will feature three variations of hot, ready-to-eat chili. Within the large prepared foods section, there will be two salad bars, a hot foods bar specializing in Indian and Latin dishes, seven types of soup in addition to stations for pizza, sushi and virtually anything fresh and hot off the grill. Upon checkout, 13 registers will help shoppers get them on their way, but if they decide to enjoy their fresh prepared food purchases at Whole Foods Market, there is a bright and sunny café that can accommodate almost 200 people for gathering and people watching.

“Our store will be great theater — from the nut roasting center to our seafood Team Members in their fishermen jump suits. We've turned the chore of grocery shopping into a fun, dynamic experience for Middletown,” said Paula DiMeglio, Whole Foods Market store team leader. “With our commitment to customer service, ongoing cooking demos and free tastings, everyone will leave the new Whole Foods Market with a smile on their face and a bag full of purely delicious food for themselves and their family.”

Also available at Middletown's new Whole Foods Market is a large selection of gluten-free products from the company's own dedicated bakehouse for the growing population of Americans with special dietary needs. The Middletown store also features freshly made, “Ready to Cook” kits, including one with enough peeled and deveined shrimp and scallops to serve two, plus herb paste for cooking and remoulade for dipping.

Whole Body™ at Whole Foods Market will offer a large selection of luxurious natural and organic body care items and cosmetics, as well as broad selection of high-quality nutritional supplements and vitamins. Customers will be able to enjoy a make-up station where they will be able to test selected products and take home samples. All products at Whole Body are made with the highest quality natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals and unnecessary fillers.

The store opened for a special sneak preview Monday night, raising $49,369 for Clean Ocean Action, a local organization committed to improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast. Almost 1,000 people previewed the new store, tasting dozens of the fine products available at the new Whole Foods Market. In addition to hosting the benefit, Whole Foods Market donated $25,000 to Clean Ocean Action.

“We are thrilled and delighted to create a working partnership with Whole Foods. Their focus on providing alternatives to promote cleaner and healthier living is good news for all of us, and for the whole planet,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action.

Whole Foods Market is a uniquely mission-driven company and one of the company's core values is to be an active community citizen. It donates five percent of profits annually to a variety of non-profit organizations in addition to hosting quarterly five percent days, where the store donates five percent of a day's sales to a local non-profit organization.

Contact: Fred Shank Whole Foods Market 917.691.5412, mobile