Whole Foods Honors 2014 Supplier Award Winners

Whole Foods Market has revealed the winners of its annual Supplier Awards, the company’s highest honors for producer partners that embody its mission and core values, store officials say. Out of thousands of Whole Foods Market suppliers nationwide, fewer than 50 have received one of these distinguished awards.

Two producers earned the grocer’s top “Supplier of the Year” award for outstanding all-around performance:

  • Pitman Family Farms (Perishables) – ‘For its deep commitment to animal welfare, leadership in non-GMO-fed meat production and dedication to quality. In addition to raising chickens that meet Steps 3, 4 and 5 on the 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating System, Pitman Family Farms recently developed a new crossbreed of chicken that is better suited to an outdoor environment and, most recently, was the first supplier to earn approval to label its meat “Non-GMO Fed.”’
  • Suja Juice (Non-Perishables) – “For combining expertise in mixology, high-pressure pasteurization technology and ethical sourcing to reinvent the fresh juice category, and for partnering with Whole Foods Market to co-create Suja Elements, an exclusive line of mission-driven, cold-pressed smoothies at value prices. The brand donates to nonprofits 20 cents from every bottle sold as part of the Suja Elements Cause Collective.”

“Shoppers trust Whole Foods Market to uphold the highest quality, ingredient and sourcing standards in the industry, and our suppliers go to great lengths to help us deliver on that promise every day,” says Edmund LaMacchia, Whole Foods Market’s global vice president of procurement, perishables. “Our Supplier Award winners set the gold standard for producers in the industry, and we’re proud to celebrate their achievements.”

In addition to its two “Supplier of the Year” honorees, Whole Foods Market recognized its supplier partners in 16 categories that highlight several areas of achievement, including product innovation, environmental stewardship, ethical sourcing and excellence in quality standards and assurance.

“Every one of our supplier partners adds flavor, character and integrity to our stores, whether they’re dedicated to land conservation, sustainable fishing methods or simply creating the best-tasting product on our shelves,” says Jim Speirs, Whole Foods Market’s global vice president of procurement, non-perishables. “We’re thankful for their drive, true partnership and commitment to growing their business with Whole Foods Market.”

The retailer revealed its Supplier Award winners at a reception in Austin, Texas, at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. Additional honorees include:

  • Dedication to Responsible Sourcing: Alaffia
  • Outstanding Innovation: Simmons Pet Food
  • New Product Innovation: Gotham Greens
  • Environmental Stewardship: Alter Eco Foods
  • Best New Product: Brown Cow
  • Organic and Non-GMO Supply Chain Commitment: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
  • Best Partnership: The Xerces Society
  • Excellence in Cheese: Vermont Creamery
  • Outstanding Wine and Beer Supplier: Natural Merchants
  • Commodity Ingredients: Blue Diamond Growers
  • Excellence in Product Quality: Driscoll’s (perishables) and RAW SEAFOOD (non-perishables)
  • Product with a Purpose: Del Monaco Foods
  • Excellence in Standards: Kvaroy Fiskeoppdrett, AS
  • Outstanding Quality Assurance: Trace Register
  • Distinguished Service: Fair Trade USA
  • Special Recognition: Ocean Beauty, and Myrna Fossum
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