How To Get Into Whole Foods

WeStock Team
March 16, 2023

Ahh Whole Foods. The golden child of natural grocery, the millennial mom haven, and the white whale for CPG founders. For many, “making it” as a CPG brand, in particular, a better-for-you CPG brand, is having your product on the Amazon-owned grocery chain’s shelves. If Whole Foods is your dream retailer and you just aren’t sure how to crack the code we’ve got the scoop for you.

Make Sure You Fit the Bill

If you are here you likely already have done/are doing your research but before you get too far down the Whole Foods rabbit hole, ensure that your product meets their strict quality standards including a long list of no-no ingredients (not as strict as Erewhon but much more than your typical grocery store).

Use Your Network

Some of the best connections for you will be founders and brands who’ve already landed on the shelves, scope out your local whole foods and look for brands with the “local” tag to see if there are founders in your area you could take to coffee or lunch and maybe gain some wisdom on how they did it. Or, if you aren't near a Whole Foods or don’t currently have anyone in your network to turn to, turn to the digital world. Groups like Startup CPG are great places to meet fellow industry folk and ask questions of people who've already been through it. You’d be surprised how many people are more than happy to help.

Show Your Stuff

There are so many factors that go into buyers' decisions but at the end of the day, nothing matters if they don’t know you exist. The most obvious way is to reach out to buyers to set up meetings or send samples (check out our video on everything you need to know to pitch a buyer HERE). You can find the right buyer contact usually from Whole Foods and their email format is often

Another way to get buyers’ attention is through press. A good PR strategy can help get more consumer eyes on your brand but it can also set the stage for industry-focused publications to share your story which might get you in front of a buyer. And even if the buyer doesn’t read the story they are great pieces of social proof to leverage when pitching yourself. Last but not least, trade shows. It’s no secret that trade shows are where a lot of deals happen, whether you have a booth or are just attending they are a great chance to get in front of the right buyers.

Think Nationally, Act Locally

We know you want a nationwide roll-out and to say “available in all Whole Foods stores” on your website, but sometimes the best approach is to think smaller first. If you are in an area with a Whole Foods nearby make sure you are making your local presence known. This may mean vending at local farmer’s markets or having your product on the shelves at local gourmet grocers to attract “foragers” whose job is to scout the best products in the food and beverage space.

Utilize RangeMe

Here at WeStock we understand that most brands have to use RangeMe, we even wrote a whole blog about it. RangeMe is particularly useful if you are looking to get into Whole Foods. When you set up your RangeMe account Whole Foods buyers can see your profile and send you questions directly. Our advice is to make your profile as clear as possible so the buyer doesn't have to go back and forth with too much. RangeMe is just one part of the outreach strategy. You should also be reaching out to buyers directly while leveraging RangeMe.

Show Your Data

Flavor is great, but sales are better. Any good buyer needs to not only love your product but feel confident it will fly off the shelves. The easiest way to show them that is by leveraging your WeStock data to demonstrate the interest of Whole Foods shoppers in their specific region, even a specific store. Not set up yet? Request a demo here.

We know getting into Whole Foods can feel like a big feat, and in a lot of ways it is, but we hope that these tips make it feel a bit less daunting and give you somewhere to start.

Good luck!

WeStock Team

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