AUSTIN, Texas (May 8, 2013) – Whole Foods Market recognized the winners of its 2013 Supplier Awards, spotlighting natural and organic non-perishable suppliers who best exemplify the grocer’s mission and core values.                             

Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a top supplier of organic herbs and spices, earned the company’s highest honor of Supplier of the Year for outstanding overall product performance, exceptional quality, commitment to transparency and strong contribution to Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit that funds poverty alleviation in communities where Whole Foods Market sources products.

Whole Foods Market global buyers and experts selected this year’s recipients out of the thousands of suppliers they work beside every day 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 New Product, Excellence in Cheese, Environmental Stewardship, Outstanding Innovation, Excellence in Product Quality, Non-GMO Commitment, Partnership, Commodity Ingredients, Outstanding Wine and Beer and the company’s ethical sourcing program, Whole Trade® Guarantee.

“At Whole Foods Market, we seek out suppliers who share our core values – our commitment to quality, ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship – as well as our desire to innovate and provide the best quality and value for our shoppers,” said Jim Speirs, global vice-president of procurement, non-perishables. “The suppliers we’re honoring today represent the very best in our industry. We’re proud to recognize the passion, hard work and true partnership they deliver every day to support our business.”

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

Supplier of the Year

Frontier Natural Products Co-op – for outstanding overall product performance, exceptional quality, commitment to transparency and strong contribution to Whole Planet Foundation, which funds poverty alleviation in communities where Whole Foods Market sources products.

Best New Product

Tom’s of Maine for its Grab and Go Toothpaste in Fresh Mint (Fluoride and Fluoride Free); a product launched exclusively for Whole Foods Market shoppers that has delivering unmatched value and quality in the category, while using packaging that lowers waste without raising costs.

Excellence in Cheese

FoodMatch Inc – for honoring traditional methods of olive and antipasti production, for forming direct alliances with farmers in the Mediterranean and in the U.S., and for delivering premium quality products with a commitment to recycling and waste management.

Environmental Stewardship

Nature’s Path Foods – for the company’s commitment to non-GMO agriculture and pioneering role in environmental sustainability and organic food production in the competitive cereal category; and for the company’s deep commitment to fair trade sourcing, exclusivity and product innovation with Whole Foods Market. 

Outstanding Innovation

AgStrong – for its instrumental role in bringing Non-GMO Winter Canola to the Southeast as a new high-value crop; and for working to reduce the risk and costs associated with non-GMO cultivation to help farmers bring more profitable and crops to market.

Excellence in Product Quality

Frontier Natural Products Co-op – for consistently delivering premium quality products that not only meet, but exceed Whole Foods Market shoppers’ high expectations in a competitive category.

Non-GMO Commitment

Hidden Villa – (and its exclusive Nature’s Fed brand) for its groundbreaking commitment to non-GMO verification and supply chain development through the launch of the industry’s first non-GMO fed eggs –  eggs laid by chickens that are fed only non-GMO Project Verified feed.


Green Seal – for the organization’s integral involvement in the development, launch and execution of Whole Foods Market’s Eco-Scale™ Rating System for household cleaners; for creating win-win solutions for suppliers during the auditing and rating process; and for consistent, exemplary customer service.  

Commodity Ingredients

Bay State Milling – for embracing the challenge to customize flour blends and grades that achieve cost and performance goals that meet Whole Foods Market’s growing needs; and for superior customer service to the company’s regional bakehouses and distribution centers.

Outstanding Wine or Beer Supplier:

The Winery Exchange for delivering diverse, complex and high quality varietal wines at great value prices that satisfy and delight shoppers time and time again.

Whole Trade® Guarantee ethical sourcing:

Divine Chocolate USA – for its leadership in ethical sourcing and use of fair trade ingredients; and for the company’s support of the Kuapa KoKoo cocoa co-op which is empowering impoverished women in Ghana with an opportunity to improve their own lives while helping to make delicious, high quality products.

Special Recognition

Jim Bail, Director, Consulting and Technical Services at NSF International for his integrity, innovation, flexibility, problem solving expertise and overall incredible support for the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Programs at Whole Foods over the years; and for his work helping thousands of companies improve their food safety and quality assurance programs.