Nourishing People and the Planet:
A Conversation with Whole Foods Market CEO Jason Buechel
Whole Foods Market CEO Jason Buechel took the stage at the National Retail Federation’s Retail’s Big Show as a keynote speaker in a fireside-style discussion with Nick Handrinos, Vice Chairman of Deloitte LLP's Retail and Consumer Products to discuss Whole Foods Market’s commitment to Nourish People and the Planet. Jason has been associated with Whole Foods for 10 years, beginning as a consultant; he became chief operating officer in 2019 and CEO in 2022.
During the keynote, Jason elaborated on elements within Growing with Purpose, his 10-year vision and strategy for leading Whole Foods Market into the future. Jason shared Whole Foods Market’s growth plans, including reaching new markets.
“We are so bullish on our potential to continue to add stores,” said Jason. “We currently have about 50 stores in our pipeline. We're looking to grow that to at least a hundred. Ultimately, we want to be opening 30 or more stores a year.”
Jason also discussed investments in sustainability and responsible sourcing, sharing details about the Sourced for Good program and the Quality Standards that define Whole Foods Market.
“One of our strengths is that our core customer really cares about quality standards and the differentiation that we bring to market,” Jason said. “We do the homework for them, so they’ll know what’s in the food we offer, and we feel that regardless of what may be happening on the economic front, they’re going to try to find ways to stay true to that.”
Jason shared upcoming investments in Team Member happiness and development, including the immersive opportunities that will be offered to Team Members through a new program called “In the Field with Jason.”
“We are helping Team Members better understand our higher Purpose as part of our career development efforts,” said Jason. “We want Team Members to see first-hand the impact that we can have – whether it’s our Sourced for Good initiative, the work we do around animal welfare or some of our sustainability initiatives.”
Jason said team members have to have a stake in the game. To that end, Whole Foods is developing professional upward paths for certain specialties, such as meat handling and cake decoration. “We want to be one of the best employers in the market,” he said.