Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market is on the hunt for new products to list in 2023, as part of a wider UK category review aimed at attracting new and upcoming food brands to the Amazon-owned grocer.

The high-end retailer wants to add more than 100 new SKUs across nine different categories to its UK stores by spring 2023. It has partnered with the food entrepreneurship network Bread & Jam to help brands prepare for the pitching process, which is called ‘Whole Foods 100’. 

The network is running a series of sessions aimed at preparing new and small food companies to navigate the listing process.

“Whole Foods is obviously a big stepping stone in the journey for brands. So it’s a brilliant opportunity,” Bread & Jam co-founder Jason Gibb told The Grocer. He added thatdespite only having seven UK stores, Whole Foods was a “beacon retailer”, which could open doors for small food companies to listings in other retailers down the line.

As part of the process, Bread & Jam is hosting a virtual workshop about how listing with Whole Foods works on 18 January. The following week – on 23 January – it will host a virtual session with a ‘forager’ from the Whole Foods buying team.

Applications close on 25 January. Pitching for the brands chosen will begin in early February, with listings beginning from the spring.

“We need products that are retail-ready, SALSA [accredited] minimum, but they want to be working with brands before anyone else, so will look at brands that are not quite there yet,” Gibb said.

The nine categories include ambient vinegars, cereals & condiments, family desserts, frozen fruit & vegetables, and single-serve milk beverages. The full list is outlined on Bread & Jam’s website.  

Founded in 2016, Bread & Jam is a network for small food businesses and founders. It regularly runs programmes with several major supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, but the Whole Foods 100 was the ”first of its kind” targeted at such a large number of specific products with a single retailer, Gibb said.