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Whole Foods honors key produce suppliers

Whole Foods Market has announced the winners of the seventh annual Supplier Awards, which honor suppliers that embody the company’s mission and values through their proven commitment to quality, environmental stewardship, organic integrity, innovation and partnership. Recognized for their incredible achievements in 2018, the winners were named at a reception held in Austin, TX, April 10.wholefoods

“We’re proud to recognize these suppliers who offer outstanding products aligned with our mission, values and the high quality standards that we’ve championed for nearly 40 years,” said A.C. Gallo, president and chief merchandising officer at Whole Foods Market. “This year’s honorees were selected from thousands of brands and represent the best-in-class in sourcing, industry-leading innovation and win-win partnership.”

A total of 30 awards were distributed this year, with recipients including local, regional and national brands across perishable and non-perishable product categories. Whole Foods Market named two global suppliers and 11 regional partners as “Supplier of the Year” and recognized a variety of others for outstanding achievements in various categories that reflect Whole Foods Market’s core values. The honorees were selected by Whole Foods Market category experts and buyers who work closely with our suppliers every day.

Driscoll's recieved special recognition in the Global Awards category for "continuing to find ways to improve our partnership so that together, we’re providing customers with access to more fresh, delicious berries," according to Whole Foods. "Driscoll’s, a worldwide leader in berry production, is committed to quality in each step of berry production and distribution. With a culture rooted in many of the same values that Whole Foods Market believes in, the company’s dedication to flavor, transparency and partnership has allowed our berry program to thrive."

Awe Sum Organics was honored in the Organic Commitment category for its staunch commitment to organic agriculture and ensuring great tasting organic fruit supplies are plentiful. Awe Sum Organics has been supplying to Whole Foods Market since the 1980s. The company’s founder, David Posner, was one of the first people to bring organically grown fruits and vegetables to market. Recognizing early on that increasing consumer awareness and demand for organic produce required that organic products be made available in traditional grocery store formats, David sought out new growing regions outside the U.S. that allowed him to create a steady supply. Awe Sum Organics brought the first organic New Zealand apples to the U.S. during the summer and developed a new growing method that enables our customers to access organic grapes from Peru during the winter.

Alpine Fresh Inc. received a Rookie of the Year Award for bringing fresh fruits and vegetables from its farms to customers at a great value. Alpine Fresh offers excellent service and quality — and our customers recognize their great products, as evidenced by Alpine’s exponential growth in blueberries and asparagus sales.

Val Verde Vegetable Co. Inc. was honored as Southwest region suppliers of the year for developing a cutting-edge farming and ranching operation that supplies Whole Foods Market with more than 50 produce items year-round. Val Verde has recently expanded the production of organic produce locally in Texas to meet our growing customer demand. From organic cucumbers and cauliflower to cilantro, kale and watermelon radishes, this third generation Texas farming family is an incredible partner.

This year’s honorees also include Wild Planet Foods, Luke’s Lobster, Vive Organic, Forever Cheese, Thompson Farms, SmithFoods, OSI Industries LLC, Nature’s Path, Cocokind, SmartSweets, Bonnie's Jams, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, 4 x 400 Consulting, Inno-Pak, Aramouni International Inc. & Nature's Healthy Gourmet Inc., Inspire Pure Botanicals, FILLO'S Americas Made, UTEC, Humphry Slocombe, Crown Finish Caves, Woodlot, SoulRise Tribe, La Farm Bakery and Pensieve Foods LLC.