Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market has opened the 2023 application process for its Local and Emerging Accelerator program.
The initiative, which launched in 2022, helps the company partner with local suppliers. Participants benefit from the mentorship of Whole Foods Market experts, educational programs and the potential for direct financial support. Each participant’s products are also considered for placement on the shelves of Whole Foods Market stores in their home city or region at the conclusion of the six-month program.
“Since our start more than four decades ago, we’ve been empowering small, local and emerging producers,” said Alyssa Vescio, SVP of merchandising.
“We’re thrilled to continue this important part of our legacy through the Local and Emerging Accelerator program. Our first cohort of nine local producers successfully graduated from last year’s inaugural program, and three have already launched in select Whole Foods Market stores. We could not be more excited to begin our search for a new and innovative group of suppliers we can support.”
LEAP Supplier Successes
CHKP Foods, a plant-based brand that transforms chickpeas into dairy-free yogurt, launched in Whole Foods Market’s Northeast locations in January, serving as the regional representative for Whole Foods Market’s initial LEAP cohort.
“Whole Foods Market’s Local and Emerging Accelerator Program offered CHKP an invaluable experience to learn, grow and advance our mission,” said Noam Sharon, co-founder of CHKP Foods.
“The expertise and insights provided by Whole Foods Market taught CHKP what makes a successful emerging brand, and we could not be more grateful for the leadership, confidence and support the team provided. Now that our product is on Whole Foods Market shelves, we are putting our learnings into practice to drive in-store engagement. We thank Whole Foods Market for this incredible opportunity, and wholeheartedly recommend LEAP to any interested supplier.”
Coyotas, a Mexican-American tortilla company based in San Diego, earned placement in Whole Foods Market stores in Arizona, Southern California, Southern Nevada and Hawaii. Coyotas makes grain-free, gluten-free and limited ingredient tortillas that meet strict quality standards and support its commitment to promoting artisan-made products.
“Coyotas is incredibly grateful to have participated in the first class of Whole Foods Market’s Local and Emerging Accelerator Program,” said Janet Flores Pavlovich, Coyotas founder.
“The experts at Whole Foods Market provided our team with invaluable guidance and shared insights that have helped take the Coyotas brand to the next level. We’re thrilled to see our product on Whole Foods Market shelves and look forward to our continued work together.”
For more information and to apply, click here.