ROCKVILLE, Md. (November 6, 2003) Whole Foods Market, Inc., (NASDAQ: WFMI) announced today that 24 of its stores in its Mid-Atlantic Region have reduced electricity consumption by as much as 10 percent each by joining a clean wind energy program. The company also plans to educate local customers about the benefits of wind energy in an effort to support its core values of using wise environmental practices.

The wind power program launched in October at Whole Foods Market stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. As of November 1, 24 locations are receiving a portion of power from new wind facilities that produce six million kilowatt-hours for Whole Foods Market. The power will be supplied by Community Energy, Inc., the country's leading marketer of wind-generated electricity.

“Whole Foods Market's core values include a passion for implementing wise environmental practices, and it is important to us that we utilize a renewable energy resource,” said Muriel Ortiz, store team leader at Whole Foods Market's Tenley location in Washington, D.C. “By employing wind power, we are benefiting the environment and teaching our customers about a resource that is also readily available for their homes.”

The wind energy will be generated at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center, the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi River. Located in West Virginia, the center utilizes 44-1.5-megawatt wind turbines to produce approximately 176 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power more than 25,000 homes with 100 percent clean energy.

“Whole Foods Market is leading the way to a cleaner and more secure energy future. With wind-generated electricity, there is no fuel, no smoke, and no combustion. As leaders, the company can educate consumers about the environmental impact of wind energy, making it possible for the creation of more wind farms and the availability of more clean wind power,” said Brent Alderfer, president of Community Energy.

Compared to the average electricity mix, Whole Foods Market's annual use of wind power will offset the release into the air of:

  • more than 6 million pounds of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, and
  • more than 43 thousand pounds of sulfur dioxide, a major contributor to acid rain and snow, brown clouds and regional haze.

This amount of wind energy is the carbon dioxide equivalent to planting 480,000 trees, saving more than six million miles of automobile drive-miles, or removing 984 cars annually from the road.

As one of the largest private purchasers of wind energy in the nation, Whole Foods Market will take their commitment to green environmental practices one step further and educate consumers about the process and benefits of wind energy. In addition, Whole Foods Market will extend the opportunity for customers to join the initiative by receiving wind energy in their homes.

“Whole Foods Market believes in educating its customers on the benefits of a variety of environmentally safe products from food to body care products. Now we have yet another opportunity for our customers to join our team through wind energy purchases, allowing us to work together for the good of the environment,” said Ortiz. Whole Foods Market will begin in-store customer registration for wind energy in January 2004.

Whole Foods Market has adopted other energy-efficient and “green” practices at locations nationwide and was the United States' first food retailer to adopt solar electric and lighting in 2002 in Berkeley, Calif.