8 Little-Known Facts About Whole Foods
Courtesy of Spoon University
With more than 85,000 team members, Whole Foods is the titan of the high-end grocery store industry. Last year, sales were $15.4 billion. Whole Foods offers more than 2600 natural and organic products, as well as its 365 Everyday Value products. If a brand manages to get eye-level rack space in Whole Foods, the brand has officially made it. Why? Because shoppers are willing to shell out more than $5 per bottle of kombucha and would rather save up from local, organic produce from Whole Foods than a fancy meal at a restaurant. It seems we can learn a lot from this health store hero. Scroll through for interesting facts you probably didn't know about Whole Foods.
John Mackey, the CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, has been making $1 per year since 2007. He doesn’t take home a bonus, nor does he have any stock options. “I have reached a point in my life where I no longer want to work for money,” Mackey told employees in a letter in 2007. “The tremendous success of Whole Foods Market has provided me more money than I ever dreamed I’d have, and far more than is necessary for either my financial security or personal happiness.”
Whole Foods has been ranked as one of the 100 best places to work by Fortune for the last 18 consecutive years. It has also been credited as the top job creator, having increased the number of employees by 784% since the Fortune list began.
In 2009, Mackey told Reason that Whole Foods considers the location of recent college graduates as one of the most important valuables. Whole Foods looks to open new locations within a 16-minute drive of areas heavily populated with recent college graduates. “I can tell you that about 80 percent of our customers have college degrees,” Mackey reported. “I can speculate that our customers, on average, are better educated and better informed. And a college degree, while not a perfect proxy for that, is the best we have in terms of demographic data that we can get.”
Whole Foods’ flagship store in Austin is its largest and most, arguably, most incredible outpost. The 80,000-square-foot retail space has an ice-skating rink on its roof, a full liquor license, and homemade gourmet dog treats. Ice buckets are stationed throughout the store, offering “walking around beer” for customers to enjoy as they pick out their groceries and a full bar to enjoy after you’ve crossed everything off your list.
If you’re looking for a bargain at Whole Foods, brave the crowds and shop on the weekends. Whole Foods offers double discounts on its produce once Friday afternoon rolls around, so weekends are by far the best time to score a deal.
Help wanted: certified cheese professionals. Whole Foods hires cheese lovers who have received credentials from the American Cheese Society. Only 406 people have passed its certification exam, so we’re talking serious prestige in the cheese world. The next time you are entertaining guests for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, make sure you stop by the cheese section at Whole Foods. You’ll have the finest selection imaginable.
Whole Foods’ commitment to natural food products is evident by its enduring commitment to research unhealthy additives and add them to its ever-growing list of unacceptable ingredients. Hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners are strictly prohibited from being in every product sold at the grocery chain.
At Whole Foods, all salaries are available for any employee to discover. Mackey believes that having a transparent salary empowers employees and motivates them to do more. He implemented the forward-thinking policy in 1986, just six years after co-founding the company. Of course, making salaries a public record for all Whole Foods employees comes with its difficulties. “I’m challenged on salaries all of the time,” Mackey admits to Business Insider. However, he notes that the policy allows for a strong defense. When someone asks, “How come you are paying this regional president this much, and I'm only making this much?' I have to say, 'Because that person is more valuable. If you accomplish what this person has accomplished, I'll pay you that, too.'"
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