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Whole Foods Market(R) Makes FORTUNE's '100 Best Companies to Work For' List for 12th Consecutive Year
Date:1/22/2009

New Job Growth and Enthusiasm of Young Workforce Among Reasons Company is Honored with No. 22 Spot

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FORTUNE magazine ranked Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), No. 22 on its 2009 list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For." The Company has made the list consecutively for 12 years and is one of only 13 companies to be named every year since the list's inception.

"We congratulate and thank each and every one of our valued Team Members who have put us on this prestigious list again this year. It is their devotion and enthusiasm that have led to our success, and we are fortunate to have such talented and dedicated Team Members who satisfy and delight our shoppers every day," said Whole Foods Market CEO and co-founder John Mackey. "To be recognized a dozen years in a row validates Whole Foods Market's commitment to our core value of 'Supporting Team Member Happiness and Excellence'."

FORTUNE noted that the slowing economy "has not curbed the enthusiasm of this young workforce (28 percent are under age 25)." Additionally, FORTUNE listed Whole Foods Market No. 1 for job growth for adding 8,570 new employees in the last year.

Whole Foods Market ranks No. 11 out of the 39 large companies on the "best companies" list. The natural and organic grocer is one of 15 companies that pay 100 percent of its Team Members' health-care premiums and is one of the 20 employers on the list with at least 350 job openings at a time when many big companies are announcing mass layoffs. Additionally, the Company was ranked the 15th most diverse and was one of only four grocery stores on the overall list.

Whole Foods Market believes these unique factors and other Company perks are part of the reason it made the FORTUNE list again this year. Benefits include a 20 percent Team Member store discount, fully paid health care premiums for those who work 30 hours a week, health care coverage for domestic partners and a personal wellness account for health care expenses. Every three years, Team Members help select the employee benefits Whole Foods Market offers by participating in a company-wide benefits vote.

Whole Foods Market was one of 14 companies headquartered in Texas to make the list and one of two companies based in Austin, Texas. The list and related stories appear in the Feb. 2 issue of FORTUNE, available on newsstands Monday, Jan. 26 and at www.fortune.com.

Company employees played an important role in determining the FORTUNE ranking. Two-thirds of a company's score is based on survey responses from 400 randomly selected employees. To pick the "100 Best Companies to Work For," FORTUNE works with Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz of the Great Place to Work(R) Institute--a global research and consulting firm with offices in 30 countries--to conduct the most extensive employee survey in corporate America.

More than 81,000 employees from 353 companies responded to the 57-question survey created by the Institute. Two-thirds of a company's score is based on the survey, which is sent to a minimum of 400 randomly selected employees. The remaining third is based on a company's responses to the Culture Audit questionnaire, which asks detailed questions about demographics, pay and benefits, and open-ended questions on philosophy, communication and more.

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com), a leader in the natural and organic foods industry and America's first national certified organic grocer, was named "America's Healthiest Grocery Store" in 2008 by Health magazine. The Whole Foods Market motto, "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet"(TM) captures the Company's mission to find success in customer satisfaction and wellness, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to its 53,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by FORTUNE magazine for 12 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2008, the Company had sales of $8 billion and currently has more than 275 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market, Fresh & Wild(TM), and Harry's Farmers Market(R) are trademarks owned by Whole Foods Market IP, LP. Wild Oats(R) and Capers Community Market(TM) are trademarks owned by Wild Marks, Inc.

About FORTUNE

FORTUNE is a global leader in business journalism with a worldwide circulation of more than 1 million and a readership of nearly 5 million, with major franchises including the FORTUNE 500 and the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For." FORTUNE Live Media extends the brand's mission into live settings, hosting a wide range of annual conferences, including the FORTUNE Global Forum. FORTUNE magazine's online home is CNNMoney.com, the most visited and utilized business destination website.

    Contacts:  kate.lowery@wholefoods.com - 512/542-0390
               libba.letton@wholefoods.com - 512/542-3031


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SOURCE Whole Foods Market, Inc.
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