AUSTIN, Texas (January 12, 2005) Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic supermarket, is pleased to announce that-for the eighth year in a row-its Team Members have ranked their company as one of Fortune magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Moving up 17 places from last year to Number 30 this year, the highest placement on the list so far, can be attributed to the equality that permeates Whole Foods Market, which includes a wage disclosure report listing gross pay and a salary cap limiting compensation to 14 times the average total of all the company's full-time Team Members.

This year, Fortune subdivided the list into large, mid-size, and small companies. Of the 37 large companies, Whole Foods Market is ranked fifth. Whole Foods Market is also recognized in Fortune's new Hall of Fame list of 22 companies that have appeared on the “100 Best” list since its inception in 1998.

“One of our core values at Whole Foods Market is to create a work environment where motivated Team Members can flourish and succeed to their highest potential. So, being a great place to work is very, very important to us, and we work at improving it all the time,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market CEO and co-founder. “Making the Fortune list for the eighth consecutive year makes us proud that our innovative employment practices like open books, salary caps, gainsharing, and team structure are empowering Team Members and contributing to their happiness.”

In a year that was challenging for most food retailers, Whole Foods Market had the best year in its 24-year history growing sales 23% to just under $4 billion. The Team Member base increased by 5,500 last year to over 32,000 as the Company opened 12 new stores and acquired seven stores in the United Kingdom, ending the fiscal year with 163 stores. Two of the company's new stores include a landmark store at New York City's Columbus Circle and its second store in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia). The Environmental Protection Agency also recognized Whole Foods Market with a Green Power Leadership Award for purchasing or generating more than 20 percent of its total national power load from green power sources per year.

“This is an incredible honor for Whole Foods Market and speaks so well of the commitment and passion every Team Member exhibits,” said Paula Labian, vice-president of team member services. “I want to personally thank our Team Members for acknowledging and continuing to be a part of our unique and very special workplace.”

Fortune's ranking of Whole Foods Market on the same list for the past eight years: 2005 — number 30 2004 — number 47 2003 — number 32 2002 — number 48 2001 — number 41 2000 — number 72 1999 — number 48 1998 — number 34