ow! What a ride. Back in 1980, we started out with one small store in Austin, Texas. Today, we’re the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. What a long, strange trip it’s been. We still honor our original ideals, and we think that has a lot to do with our success.
Who are we? Well, we seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what we’re all about. Oh yeah, we’re a mission-driven company too. If you are interested in learning about our business practices and what makes us tick, check out our Core Values, Quality Standards, Declaration of Interdependence, and more.
Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet. Basically, we think these elements all play a huge role in our success.
Whole Foods — We search for the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural foods possible because we believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is.
Whole People — Our people are our company. They are passionate about healthy food and a healthy planet. They take full advantage of our decentralized, self-directed team culture and create a respectful workplace where people are treated fairly and are highly motivated to succeed.
Whole Planet — We are committed to helping take care of the world around us, and our active support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture helps protect our planet. And while we assist our global neighbors through our Whole Planet Foundation’s micro-lending operations, we also step out the back door of each of our stores to support food banks, sponsor neighborhood events and donate to local non-profit groups.
We know we’ve always been a little out of the ordinary. Those 19 people who started our first store were quite an idealistic bunch!
Early on, we adopted a set of core values to guide our purpose:
* Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available
* Satisfying and delighting our customers
* Supporting team member happiness and excellence
* Creating wealth through profits & growth
* Caring about our communities & our environment
* Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers
* Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education
We now number over 50,000 team members and are glad to report that our idealism and commitment to our core values are as strong as ever. (Sit in on a meeting and you’ll hear team members asking questions like “How does that action support our Core Values?” It’s a tough crowd!)
Yes, we are a publicly held company and have to make a profit to survive in the marketplace. But we’ve proven that a company can do good and do well if the doing comes from the heart. Luckily, our success helps us bring about change in the marketplace, which we hope will lead to good things for you and us and the planet.