To Your Health
Health food store
Ann Walsh, a longtime team leader at the Hadley Whole Foods Market, says the company has remained deeply committed to its founding principles: "Our mission 30 years ago was to provide natural foods as a delicious and healthy alternative to the increasing amounts of highly processed foods with artificial ingredients that were available. We developed our quality standards ensuring that the food that we sell is free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats." Last year, Walsh says, "we took it a step further and launched the Health Starts Here program, deepening our commitment to healthy eating by providing education and support tools to inspire interest in foods that help improve and maintain health and vitality." That level of commitment—matched by a sense of social responsibility that informs, for example, the company's establishment of non-profit arms such as the Whole Planet Foundation (www.wholeplanetfoundation.org), which funds micro loans to women in 29 countries—has allowed Whole Foods to build strong bonds with its customers, Walsh says. "We want to exceed our customers' expectations on every shopping trip," she says.