AUSTIN, Texas (April 30, 2008) – Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket, announced today that Guinness World Records has confirmed the Company has set a record for “Most Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels Cracked Simultaneously” to honor the tradition and celebration of the beloved cheese. The successful record achievement was attempted at hundreds of the Company’s stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. and was a first-ever attempt.

“This company-wide event represented Whole Foods Market’s passion for Parmigiano Reggiano and it was a fabulous celebration of a true hand-crafted work of art,” said Cathy Strange, Global Cheese Buyer for Whole Foods Market. “It was a sight to behold as our cheesemongers ‘broke open happiness’ and shared this crown jewel of cheeses with our guests. We are thrilled that Whole Foods Market has made its mark in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

Saturday, April 12th at 3 p.m. EDT was the official start time for the “cracking open” event. Whole Foods Market cheesemongers across the Company demonstrated the traditional method of breaking into 24-month-aged wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano using the five official knives from Italy’s Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. Nearly 300 wheels were opened at 3 p.m. EDT with official recordings coming in from 176 stores.

“Guinness World Records is pleased to be a part of this exciting day,” said Laura Plunkett, Marketing Director for Guinness World Records Book. “Getting all of the stores together to set the record for the ‘Most Parmigiano Wheels Cracked Simultaneously’ is no easy feat. We applaud Whole Foods Market’s success.”

Shoppers turned out in droves to witness the Company’s attempt, and stores did not disappoint. For many, it was not enough to simply demonstrate the traditional method of breaking into 24-month-aged wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano in which the entire process of carving into and portioning each 85-pound wheel can take up to a half an hour. Some stores had fun with the occasion and held competitive “crack offs” to see how fast they could properly open up a wheel and some Team Members performed the task in under two minutes. Other locations offered wine and culinary pairings such as honey-drizzled pears, truffled eggs, and Chianti with dark fruit aromas that made mouths water. All enjoyed samples of the rich cheese that is aged two full years to bring out the desirable ‘pleasant fireworks’ or unique, crunchy protein crystals.

Further information, event photos, and a video with a Whole Foods Market Team Member demonstrating the art of cracking open a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano can be found at

# # # About Guinness World Records Guinness World Records is the universally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, the annual Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and 20 languages and is one of the highest-selling books under copyright of all time with more than 3 million copies sold annually across the globe. Guinness World Records celebrated its 50th anniversary edition in 2004, a year after the sale of its 100 millionth copy. The Guinness World Records website ( receives more than 11 million visitors a year. Guinness World Records is published by HIT Entertainment Limited, a fully integrated global studio with divisions in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Japan, including broadcast production and distribution, video and audio sales, consumer products licensing and marketing.