Whole Foods Market's Jamie Yael Katz Discusses Quality Standards
AUSTIN, TX - Shoppers are continuously seeking out healthy and safe eating experiences, and the produce aisle is one destination that is top of mind. Whole Foods Market seeks to meet this demand through its rigorous Quality Standards implemented across the grocery store, serving as a guidepost for shoppers on the hunt for products that are healthy, high-quality, and ethically sourced.
“Our Quality Standards prohibit hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and more than 100 flavors, colors, sweeteners, and other ingredients commonly found in food,” Jamie Yael Katz, Senior Advisor of Quality Standards, told me. “Ingredients are banned for different reasons. It could be related to the environment, like partially hydrogenated oils, which we banned in 2003, and FDA banned in 2015, because of emerging research on potential health impacts. But often, they are banned because we don’t see an ingredient as necessary, like FD&C colors in food. We don’t think those enhance the experience of eating and producers have other techniques and ingredients they can use for visual appeal and still meet our standards.”
In produce and floral, Whole Foods builds on these standards with its Sourced For Good program, which supports workers, communities, and environmental stewardship where products are sourced. It started in 2007 as a Whole Trade Guarantee, and today, the retailer sells products from 12 countries, including the U.S., carrying that seal. It signifies a deep relationship with the supplier and collaboration with international third-party certifiers to help provide things like health care, improved wages, and maintenance of ecosystems.
“Every customer comes to our stores with different ideas about eating, whether that’s a focus on organic, gluten-free, or fair trade,” Jamie continued. “They know what they want and don’t want in their family’s food, and we like to offer choices for everyone. That’s one thing that makes shopping at Whole Foods Market so fun: discovering and trying new things. We are offering something for everyone while also meeting our values and purpose as a company. Joyful, stress-free eating experiences are powered by sharing high-quality food that meets industry-leading standards.”
With Quality Standards as rigorous as that of Whole Foods, it is no wonder that many parents turn to the retailer for their grocery and specialty food needs. The chain recently announced the results of a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, which states that parents of kids under 18 reported spending an average of 27.2 minutes per week—equivalent to a cumulative 24 hours annually—reading food labels and/or thinking about the ingredients in their children’s food.
To spread the news, Whole Foods partnered with Certified Holistic Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, a best-selling author, wellness expert, and mom of two.
“We’re proud to have Kelly help share our Quality Standards,” said Jamie. “We are hopeful that our Quality Standards can help our customers to eat joyfully and parent proudly, knowing Whole Foods Market has done the ingredient homework for them.”
Needless to say, Whole Foods takes its role as a pioneer seriously. The company is always pushing to take its standards higher, and that evolution is not going to stop.
“Our incredible Quality Standards team does deep research and field work when creating standards. We talk to industry experts, NGOs, suppliers, scientists, and visit manufacturers and farms,” Jamie shared. “Collectively, our team has over 270 years of experience at Whole Foods Market. We’re deeply rooted and committed to the promise Whole Foods Market has made to our customers to offer better products for them and their families.”
As one of the country’s leading organic grocers, implementations such as these Quality Standards are clearly chief contributors to Whole Foods’ growth trajectory.