MORRISVILLE, N.C. — The Whole Foods Market Gluten-Free Bakehouse, which provides gluten-free baked foods for Whole Foods southern region market, is scheduled to close on March 8, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The plant closing is expected to impact 102 workers.
“Whole Foods Market was the first grocer to respond to the growing customer demand for gluten-free products when we opened our North Carolina Bakehouse nearly 20 years ago,” Whole Foods Market said. “As the number of certified gluten-free suppliers has rapidly expanded over the years, our reliance on the Bakehouse has diminished. We are working closely with all impacted team members and hope to place them in our nearby locations or in other roles within the company.”
The Gluten-Free Bakehouse opened in 2004 after Lee Tobin, a Whole Foods Market employee with celiac disease, began experimenting with gluten-free baking on his own time, developing recipes. The facility opened after Mr. Tobin could no longer keep up with customer demand in the little dedicated bakery kitchen he initially established.
The Gluten Free Bakehouse has an onsite testing lab, with every lot number of incoming ingredients and a sample of each finished product tested for the absence of gluten. The facility’s products are only available at Whole Foods Market stores in the United States and Canada. The products are shipped to the stores frozen.