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Whole Foods Market CEO Talks Future Of Food Retail

Whole Foods food retail
Jason Buechel

Jason Buechel, Whole Foods Market CEO, took part in two panel discussions – the evolving food retail landscape and the future of work – during the recent Milken Institute Global Conference 2024.

A gathering of global leaders from business, finance, government and philanthropy, this year’s conference focused on the critical issues facing the world today, including climate change, economic growth and technological innovation.

Buechel participated in “The Future of Food Retail” panel alongside Nancy Dalton, Amazon access external affairs, marketing and social impact at Amazon; Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co.; and Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association.

Buechel highlighted Whole Foods’ goal to have 30 stores a year in the pipeline, including new formats such as Daily Shop, along with other topics such as sustainable food systems and expanding quality standards.

“We feel responsibility as a company to take a look at how we can find ways to protect our environment and support our food systems for future generations,” Buechel shared. 

“Whole Foods started with climate friendly agriculture; organics have been a part of the company from the beginning. We are pushing other levers like regenerative and continue to lead the number of items that we are carrying in this space and bringing the first exclusive brand of products in this area as well.”

For a conversation titled “Visions for the Future: Leaders Shaping Tomorrow’s Workforce,” Buechel joined Debbie Dyson, CEO of OneTen; Lisa Gevelber, founder and head of growth with Google; and Igor Tulchinsky, chairman and CEO of WorldQuant.

The panel explored critical issues facing today’s workforce, including digital transformation, talent development strategies and adapting to the changing nature of work.

“For us, our team members are the lifeblood, they are the secret sauce of Whole Foods Market,” Buechel said. 

“If we put the right focus on making sure we can develop our team members to ensure they have the skills and experiences to best serve our customers, we can help create win-win outcomes. This is helping our team members develop skills they can have for life.”

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980, Austin-based Whole Foods Market is a leading natural and organic foods retailer and the first certified organic national grocer in the U.S. 

Part of Amazon’s Worldwide Grocery Stores, Whole Foods Market has more than 530 stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Read more corporate chain store news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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