Whole Foods Market recognized 18 suppliers, who it said embody its mission and core values, in Austin, Texas, with its annual Supplier Awards.
“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,” said Edmund LaMacchia, Whole Foods Market’s global VP of procurement, perishables, in a statement. “Our Supplier Award winners set the gold standard for producers in the industry, and we’re proud to celebrate their achievements.”
Earning the top “Supplier of the Year” awards for outstanding all-around performance in the categories of perishables and non-perishables, respectively, were:
Pitman Family Farms for its commitment to animal welfare, leadership in non-GMO-fed meat production and dedication to quality. The producer has developed a new crossbreed of chicken that is better suited for the outdoors, according to Whole Foods, and was the first supplier to earn approval to label its meat “Non-GMO Fed.”
Suja Juice was honored for reinventing the fresh juice category by combining mixology expertise, high-pressure pasteurization and ethical sourcing, according to the retailer. In partnership with Whole Foods, Suja Juice created Suja Elements cold-pressed smoothies.
The retailer also honored:
- Dedication to Responsible Sourcing: Alaffia for providing fair wages and advancing gender equality for women in West Africa and supporting Whole Planet Foundation’s poverty alleviation efforts.
- Outstanding Innovation: Simmons Pet Food, creator of grain-free wet pet foods for the Whole Paws brand.
- New Product Innovation: Gotham Greens for creating a roof top garden on Whole Foods’ Brooklyn store.
- Environmental Stewardship: Alter Eco Foods for launching a fair trade truffle line in compostable packaging.
- Best New Product: Brown Cow for its exclusive launch of the first conventional non-GMO verified Greek yogurt.
- Organic and Non-GMO Supply Chain Commitment: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for supporting GMO labeling transparency and donating $2.3 million to support "Yes" on the 522 ballot initiative in Washington state.
- Best Partnership: The Xerces Society for advocacy and research to protect pollinators such as honeybees and monarch butterflies, and its partnership with Whole Foods to raise funds for research through the "Share the Buzz" campaign.
- Excellence in Cheese: Vermont Creamery for partnering with Whole Foods to create exclusive maple syrup and sea salt butter and vanilla creme fraiche.
- Outstanding Wine and Beer Supplier: Natural Merchants for its environmental stewardship and importing fine wines that are organically grown and produced.
- Commodity Ingredients: Blue Diamond Growers for high quality products, and its partnership to meet Whole Food' business needs.
- Excellence in Product Quality: Driscoll's for outstanding quality, service and flavor in berries and Raw Seafood for innovation, responsiveness and high quality and service.
- Product with a Purpose: Del Monaco Foods for its alignment with Whole Foods' mission and for being a partner in food safety and transparency.
- Excellence in Standards: Kvaroy Fiskeoppdrett, AS for delivering farmed salmon that's third-party audited to Whole Foods' aquaculture standards.
- Outstanding Quality Assurance: Trace Register for creating a tool to track Whole Foods' seafood purchases from source to store.
- Distinguished Service: Fair Trade USA for its commitment to improving the lives of farmers and farmworkers.
- Special Recognition: Ocean Beauty for delivering Alaskan salmon and halibut that meet Whole Foods' strict specifications, and Myrna Fossum for "sharing her deep passion and experience of sensory evaluation and for teaching Whole Foods Market team members how to use their senses to help improve products," according to Whole Foods.
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