Whole Foods has always been known as a grocery store for the health conscious. Packed with an array of organics, colorful produce, healthier junk food alternatives, and wonderful nutritious items like kombucha and kabocha, Whole Foods is often the go-to store for foodies and health enthusiasts alike.
However, prices can be a tad on the high side, which is apparent from the majority of customers who shop there. For instance, the scene in Philadelphia’s Callowhill Whole Foods is much different from the strapped-for-cash North Philly residents and students who fill Progress Plaza’s Fresh Grocer.
While Whole Foods may not be lowering their prices anytime soon for regular customers, CEO John Mackey recently launched a program that offers special benefits to their employees in addition to the 20% discount they already receive. In the new initiative, titled “Team Member Healthy Discount Incentive Program”, employees can become eligible to receive as much as a 30% discount on grocery purchases.
That’s a deal I wouldn’t want to pass up. Although I’m not a Whole Food’s employee, if I were, a 30% discount would allow me to replace some of my Fresh Grocer groceries with more of Whole Food’s gourmet products, without going broke.
However, not all employees will be lucky enough to receive this special discount, particularly if they aren’t in the “health-conscious” category of Whole Foodies. Here’s how the program works: Employees who decide to enter the program will be screened for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and smoking. Based on the results, employees will be ranked and placed into categories of either platinum, gold, silver, or bronze. Platinum candidates, being the most fit employees, will receive a 30% discount on groceries. Those who fall into the bronze category will receive a 22% discount. Whole Foods worked closely with their Scientific and Medical Advisory Board to determine the specific category requirements.
The program encourages employees to make healthy choices and cultivate a healthy lifestyle, some of the core principles that Whole Foods embodies. This would also help Mackey decrease the company’s $150 million health care costs.
To me, this sounds like a plan that more companies should acquire. These kind of initiatives help to not only decrease individual companies’ health care, but decrease our nation’s overwhelming cost of health care while promoting health among our citizens. Rather than spending money on feeding workers doughnuts and coffee during coffee breaks, why not put the money towards healthy initiatives for employees? Seems like a win-win situation to me.