AUSTIN, TEXAS — Ten up-and-coming consumer brands were selected to participate in Whole Foods Market’s Local and Emerging Accelerator Program. The program provides mentorship, education and shelf space at regional Whole Foods Market stores. Businesses may also receive financial support.
“We are delighted to welcome 10 exceptional local producers to the first cohort of our Local and Emerging Accelerator Program,” said Will Betts, vice president of local merchandising at Whole Foods Market, a business owned by Amazon.com, Inc. “We look forward to sharing valuable insights into marketing best practices, strategy and channel development to help expand the cohort members’ brands while preparing to introduce their products to Whole Foods Market shoppers. Whole Foods Market has long been committed to supporting small, local and emerging producers, and the Local and Emerging Accelerator Program enhances our ability to strengthen our relationships with local brands and elevate our product selection for communities across the country.”
The program will include a 12-week curriculum, a yearlong mentorship with a Whole Foods Market regional buyer, and access to additional supplier benefits to support growth. All products must meet the company’s quality standards and product safety requirements in order to be sold in Whole Foods Market stores. Participants may receive a $25,000 equity investment from a donor-advised fund managed by the Austin Community Foundation, with proceeds benefiting Whole Foods Market foundations.
Food brands participating in the program include:
- Buns Bakery, Providence, RI, a traditional Israeli-Jewish baker of babka, challah and rugelach (North Atlantic region)
- CHKP, Brooklyn, NY, a producer of non-dairy, chickpea-based yogurt alternatives (Northeast region)
- Coyotas, San Diego, a Mexican-American maker of grain-free tortillas formulated with cassava flour (Southern Pacific region)
- Good Girl Chocolate, Oklahoma City, a brand of gluten- and soy-free bean-to-bar chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar (Southwest region)
- Numa, Fallsington, Pa., a mother-and-daughter-founded brand of taffy and peanut candies inspired by traditional Asian recipes (Mid-Atlantic region)
- Onana Foods, Fort Collins, Colo., a maker of grain-free tortillas made with plantains, baking powder and sea salt (Rocky Mountain region)
- Pizzazza, Bellingham, Wash., a line of frozen pizzas topped with locally grown and produced ingredients (Pacific Northwest region)
- Theo’s Plant Based, Chicago, a creator of beet jerky supporting regenerative farming practices (Midwest region)
Hair care brand Tangles & Beyond, Hattiesburg, Miss., and skin care maker Vamigas, Alamo, Calif., also are participating in the program.