Pointing to research indicating 4 in 5 Americans (81%) say they would like a way to easily find products that are responsibly sourced, Whole Foods Market has launched a Sourced for Good seal, an exclusive third-party certification program that raises funds to provide tangible improvements in farmworkers’ lives, strengthen worker communities where products are sourced and promote environmental stewardship where crops are grown, the company said.
Designed to help shoppers easily identify products that meet the sourcing standards required by the program, the Sourced for Good seal can be found on more than 100 products across Whole Foods’ stores from produce to floral and seafood.
A recent study of over 3,000 U.S. adults conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Austin-based Whole Foods Market found that 75% of Americans say when grocery shopping, it’s important to them that products are responsibly sourced, while 65% of U.S. shoppers are confused about how to determine whether a product is responsibly sourced.
In addition to produce items from asparagus to zucchini, Sourced for Good brings a first-time focus to seafood, including Del Pacifico wild-caught shrimp from Mexico, and domestically sourced items, like tulips from Bloomia in Virginia and Sun Valley Floral Farms in California. Adding new third-party-certified commodities enables the program to benefit even more workers and communities, the company said.
“At Whole Foods Market, our Sourced for Good products not only are good; they do good,” said Karen Christensen, SVP of merchandising for perishables, in a statement. “Our commitment to equitable trade has funded numerous community projects—from dental clinics to housing facilities to student scholarships to bird sanctuaries. By purchasing select products, customers help us in our goal to make a difference, and now with Sourced for Good, we’re offering shoppers an easier way to find these special products in our stores.”
Whole Foods sees its Sourced for Good program as an evolution of its dedication to supporting workers, communities and the environment. In 2007, the grocer began working with third-party certifiers under its Whole Trade Guarantee to bring about measurable, positive impact and generate millions of dollars annually to support farmworkers, their communities and environmental stewardship in the production of agricultural products. The expanded Sourced for Good program will replace Whole Trade Guarantee.
The Sourced for Good program includes products certified by internationally recognized third parties, such as Fair Trade USA, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade America, Fair Food Program and Equitable Food Initiative.
Whole Foods Market opened its newest store in Toledo, Ohio, on Aug. 7. Located at 3420 Secor Road, the 30,000-square-foot store offers a selection of locally sourced options, grab-and-go prepared foods and natural and organic grocery items. Like several recent openings, the Toledo unit had origins as Austin, Texas-based retailer's since-discontinued 365 concept, which explored a lower-cost, lower-service format with an emphasis on private brands.
The new store offers an expansive selection of grab-and-go cold beverages, as well as a hot and cold prepared food bars featuring seasonal dishes with vegan and organic options. The department includes a salad bar, soup wells, skillet bar with finger foods, full charcuterie case and stations for self-serve Detroit-style pan pizza, Genji sushi, rotisserie chickens and made-to-order sandwiches.
Other special features include a beauty and body care department featuring a variety of local products and supplements, including Cleveland-based Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, Vandalia, Ohip-based Skin Foodie, and Port Clinton, Ohio-based Lake Erie Candle Co., which offers an exclusive Toledo candle.