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In an effort to bring more high-quality local products to market, grocery team leaders at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain Region are hosting a daylong “Meet & Greet” next month at its regional headquarters in Boulder, Colo.
The May 11 gathering is open to artisan natural and organic producers based in the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Space is limited; local producers are asked to submit a brief product description, photo and a copy of the ingredient panel.
“We’re committed to offering more products in our stores made from our local community,” said Tom Rich, grocery coordinator for Whole Foods’ Rocky Mountain Region. “We look forward to learning about – and tasting – all the amazing artisan products of our region.”
Whole Foods supports local vendors through a variety of regional programs. Last month, the company announced it has funded a total of $4 million in low-interest loans through its Local Producer Loan Program, established in 2007 to help small, independent producers expand their businesses. A number of vendors in the grocer’s Rocky Mountain Region are recipients of small business loans through this program, including Boulder Ice Cream, Justin’s Nut Butter, Imagiplay, Evol Burritos, Third Street Chai and Full Circle Farm.
Rocky Mountain regional producers attending the meet-and-greet will be introduced to grocery team leaders and key buyers, and will be able to present products and get feedback on them. Participants also will hear case studies from local vendors and learn about manufacturing and regional distribution options for small-scale producers, how to streamline paperwork and work with Whole Foods on a regional and store-by-store basis.
Whole Foods regional grocery team leaders are seeking to meet new local producers with products in frozen foods; dairy products; bulk items, such as beans, grains, trail mixes, dried fruit and nuts; grocery and consumer packaged goods; and beverages.
Prospective participants should apply at [email protected] or to Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region, Attn: Grocery Coordinator, 1821 30th St., Unit A, Boulder, Colo., 80301. Deadline is May 2.
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market has sales of more than $9 billion and has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.