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    Wild Oats Leads the Few Public Grocery Firms on '100 Best Corporate Citizens' List

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Natural and organic food retailers Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Whole Foods Markets, along with wholesaler United Natural Foods, were listed among the '100 Best Corporate Citizens' by Business Ethics magazine yesterday.

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Natural and organic food retailers Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Whole Foods Markets, along with wholesaler United Natural Foods, were listed among the '100 Best Corporate Citizens' by Business Ethics magazine yesterday.

    This year, Business Ethics magazine ranked Wild Oats number 28, out of the 1,100 U.S. public companies surveyed by the national magazine. This is the third year Wild Oats Markets has been recognized on the annual list, which began in 1999. "Wild Oats is extremely honored to be chosen as a top corporate citizen by Business Ethics Magazine," said Perry Odak, president and c.e.o. of Wild Oats Markets. "Since the company was founded in 1987, Wild Oats has been dedicated to supporting our local communities, the environment, our customers and our employees."

    As part of Wild Oats' mission to promote health and well-being among customers, employees, local communities and the environment, Wild Oats supports non-profit, local and national organizations that promote sustainable agriculture, education, environmental preservation, hunger relief, and animal welfare. It also offers its employees benefits that include a community volunteer work, whereby Wild Oats pays its employees for up to 52 hours each year for volunteering with local non-profit groups.

    Wild Oats donates more than $2 million annually to its local communities and national non-profit organizations with paid volunteer time, food donations and monetary gifts. Last year, Wild Oats and its customers donated more than $500,000 through major fundraising drives to support several non-profit organizations, including Hurricane Katrina relief and humanitarian efforts made by the American Red Cross, Southeast Asian Tsunami Relief efforts, the American Farmland Trust, Habitat for Humanity, and Food For All, an anti-hunger organization.

    "Wild Oats Markets realizes that as a leader in the natural and organic foods industry, we have a responsibility to go beyond providing quality food to our customers," said Odak. "From our industry-leading commitment to organics and protecting our environment, to our increasing support of Fair Trade products and strong community initiatives, Wild Oats is proud to be recognized as a socially responsible company."

    Whole Foods Market ranked 47th, followed by United Natural Foods at No. 50. No mainstream supermarket chains made the list.

    Business Ethics magazine, which covers what it considers socially responsible businesses, bases its ranking on quantitative measures of corporate service to eight stakeholder groups: shareholders, community, governance, diversity, employees, environment, human rights, and product.

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