AUSTIN, Texas (JULY 26, 2001) Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFMI) announced today that Company President Chris Hitt will retire effective August 1, 2001. Hitt, who has been on a sabbatical since the beginning of the year, would like to spend additional time with his family.

John Mackey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will assume the title of President. Mackey will remain focused on the Company's long-term strategic initiatives and will continue to delegate responsibility for day-to-day operations to Walter Robb and A.C. Gallo, the Company's Executive Vice Presidents of Operations. Robb and Gallo are veterans of the natural foods industry and Whole Foods Market. Both men have worked in a number of different positions over the past decade, beginning in store management and quickly rising to regional posts, including Regional President, followed by Executive Vice President at the national level.

“The strong, positive impact that Walter and A.C. are already making in their new positions allows me to comfortably make this decision,” said Hitt. “I remain passionate about the natural foods industry and, in the future, hope to develop new business methods and practices that will further the growth of organic and sustainable farms.”

“Chris has been an essential ingredient in growing Whole Foods Market to what it is today — the world's leading organic and natural foods supermarket,” said Mackey. “We appreciate Chris for his 16 years of hard work and dedication and wish him all the best.”

Hitt assumed the role of President in 1999. He joined Whole Foods in 1985 and served as Regional President of five of the Company's regions.