Natural grocers are a growing format in the US supermarket industry, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is a new full-service specialty retailer focusing on fresh, healthy, natural and organic offerings. The store's signature offering is an extensive produce department with organic and local fruits and vegetables. In addition, Fresh Thyme's full-service offerings include healthy deli foods to go and fresh bakery goods, as well as natural and organic groceries. Fresh Thyme is scheduled to open a total of 60 stores by 2019.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market recently opened its newest store in Deerfield, IL. The store is the company’s second in Illinois. "Illinois is at the heart of our growth plan for continued expansion in the Midwest," Fresh Thyme CEO Chris Sherrell says. "Deerfield is a perfect fit for Fresh Thyme, as the community is active, well-educated and values fresh, healthy and natural food at great prices.”
Sprouts Farmers Market, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, on June 18 opened its first store in Atlanta. Offering fresh, natural and organic foods at value prices, Sprouts offers a complete shopping experience that includes fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items.

Recently named one of the nation’s top five favorite supermarket chains by Consumer Reports and headquartered in Phoenix, Sprouts employs more than 15,000 team members. As of the Snellville opening, Sprouts will operate more than 175 stores in 10 states.

Whole Foods Market’s first store in New York’s Capital Region, which opened June 18, offers a full range of natural and organic foods, and the store will be home to a number of local products from farms and producers throughout the region. Whole Foods Market reported there will be more than 50 first-to-launch products from Capital Region and Hudson Valley area artisans and producers to add to the hundreds of local upstate New York products already sold in stores. This list includes producers such as The Peanut Principle, Indian Ladder Farms, Gatherer’s Granola, and Bilinski’s Sausage. “Whole Foods Market is excited to be introducing the Capital Region to our abundance of natural and organic goods with the highest quality standards in the industry, as well as to an overall unique and exciting shopping experience,” says Gabriel Edell, store team leader at Whole Foods Market Albany. “We’ve embraced the community and look forward to forging fruitful and lasting partnerships with local vendors, businesses, and our community.”

Each department will feature specials such as in-house made juices and smoothies at the Whole Foods Coffee Bar and a wide selection of artisan-produced, hand-cut cheeses from around the world as well as Upstate New York. Whole Foods Market Albany will also introduce a seasonal cream pie and homemade ice cream sandwich program in the bakery, along with a variety of in-store venues offering everything from in-house chef prepared pizzas and cheesesteaks to hearty salad bowls and sushi.

In line with Whole Foods Market’s commitment, the Albany store will continue to provide options for locally sourced goods, high quality meats that are free of antibiotics and added hormones, with options from farms in both New York and throughout the Northeast Region.

In chainwide promotions, to help raise awareness about the importance of supporting honey bee populations, Whole Foods Market stores hosted “Human Bee-In” events on June 21 with family friendly activities, sampling and food demonstrations. Additionally, from June 18-July 1, Whole Foods Market and The Xerces Society continue their ongoing partnership to “share the buzz,” raising awareness for the critical role bees play in our food supply and educating consumers on how they can help. “Despite the critical role they play in sustaining our world, the situation for pollinators continues to be difficult,” says Eric Mader of the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program.

Whole Foods Market is striving to bring more attention to bee pollinators and to encourage shoppers to “bee” a part of the solution. “Buy organic,” Whole Foods recommends to shoppers. “Buying organic is one of the easiest ways to support pollinator health by reducing the number of harmful pesticides that can adversely affect bees.”