AUSTIN, Texas (May 22, 2012) – Today, Whole Foods Market announced the winners of its inaugural Supplier Awards, spotlighting natural and organic vendors who best embody the grocer’s mission and core values.

Italian food exporter and expert, Agritalia, earned the grocer’s highest honor of Top Supplier of the Year for outstanding all-around performance, including commitment to quality, consistent customer service and transparency.

Awardees were chosen by Whole Foods Market global buyers and experts who work side-by-side with the grocer’s national vendors to bring products to market. In addition to the Top Supplier of the Year award, the company recognized the cream-of-the-crop supplier partners in nine other categories: Best in Class, Best New Product, Cheese, Environmental, Quality Assurance, Special Achievement, Innovation, Wine and the company’s ethical sourcing program, Whole Trade® Guarantee.

“At Whole Foods Market, we live and breathe our core values, and one of those values is creating win-win relationships with our suppliers. We’re excited to spotlight our outstanding vendors whose shared passion, hard work and true partnership is helping us set the industry gold standard – for quality, ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and more,” said Jim Speirs, global vice-president of procurement, non-perishables.

“We launched these awards to honor partners who not only exemplify our core values, but who also demonstrate true commitment to growing with Whole Foods Market,” said Edmund LaMacchia, global vice-president of procurement, perishables. “We’re always challenging our suppliers to deliver superior quality products. Their eagerness to innovate makes these suppliers true partners in defining Whole Foods Market’s mission. We are proud to celebrate their accomplishments.”

All Supplier Award winners were announced at this evening’s awards dinner in Austin, Texas at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. About the winners:

Top Supplier of the Year:

  • Agritalia – for best overall performance, including superior product quality, consistent delivery and leadership in the industry.  

Best in Class:

  • Garden of Life (Non-Perishable)for consistently launching products with a “Whole Foods Market first” strategy, for strong training support, and for joining Whole Planet Foundation’s Supplier Alliance for Microcredit.
  • Cox Seafood (Perishable)for delivering premium quality seafood from boat to store in record time, and for pioneering Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for pink shrimp.

Best New Product:


  • Crave Brothers Farmstead for strongest alignment with Whole Foods Market’s mission, including green practices like water conservation and achieving negative carbon status through the use of bio-digesters to power production facilities and 300 surrounding homes.


  • Boiron Homeopathic (Non-Perishable)for environmental stewardship on all levels of business – from green packaging and waste recovery efforts to land conservation work.
  • Mood Fisheries (Perishables)for reviving the Nova Scotia sword fishery and helping local harpoon fishermen bring the industry’s first MSC-certified sword fish to Whole Foods Market.


  • Jasper Products, Stremicks Heritage Foods (Non-Perishables) – for creating a line of organic nondairy beverages that not only exceeds Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards, but helps meet consumers’ growing demand at great value prices.
  • Lady Moon Farms (Perishables) for becoming the first Florida farm to sign with the Coalition of Immokolee Workers (CIW), an organization supporting increased rights and pay for Florida farm workers.

Quality Assurance:

  • FGF Brands, Inc. (Non-Perishables) – for upholding thorough, third-party verified quality and process control programs to help meet and exceed shoppers’ expectations.
  • IMI Global, Inc. (Perishables)for playing a crucial role in the launch and continued success of GAP’s 5-Step program at Whole Foods Market.

Special Achievement:

  • Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative (Non-Perishables)for providing Whole Foods Market with a steady organic milk supply during the 2011 industry-wide shortage, while upholding ethical sourcing and sustainable farming practices.
  • Durst Organic Growers/Organic Harvest Network (Perishables) – for implementing farming techniques that boost soil fertility and balance wildlife and insect ecology – all creating soil that sprouts exceptional produce.

Whole Trade® Guarantee ethical sourcing:

  • Theo Chocolate (Non-Perishables) for not only supporting ethical sourcing through the Whole Trade program, but for creating high quality products that are sparking consumer demand for ethically-sourced cocoa.
  • The Elite Flower (Perishables)for strong commitment to workers, environment and community in Facatativa, Colombia. Through Whole Trade, Elite is now supporting education for more than 300 local children and adults, programs for more than 500 adolescent women and housing opportunities for more than 50 families.


  • The Wine Group for delivering diverse, complex and high quality varietal wines at great value prices, and for offering shoppers a new, lightweight bottle that lowers waste without raising costs.