Whole Foods Rewards Employees Considered Healthy

Photo from http://progresspr.wordpress.com

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.

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  • Reply
    Simply Life
    February 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    wow, creative idea!

  • Reply
    Jenna @ Healthy. Happy. Well.
    February 7, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I just read about this the other day. I agree with the company. They have an image to withhold and nothing negative happens to the employees who can’t stand up to that, but a reward goes to the ones who can. I think it is a great motivator!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Damn I wish I could get 30 percent off groceries! that would be sweet

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    30%! Nice! I agree, more companies should reinforce healthful decisions like Whole Foods!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    That is a great idea! I wish there were more incentives for people to be healthy.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    thats a good idea! amen to that!

  • Reply
    Teniah Howell
    February 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

    That is so totally awesome!! I totally agree and think this is a wonderful and responsible approach.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Wow interesting…I think it would be hard to nail down what’s “healthy” though – I mean I know there are certain values and stuff but everyone is different and at different points in their lives…someone could be working towards getting healthy while still not so…I don’t know haha! Either way I’d take 30% off please!!

  • Reply
    Naomi (onefitfoodie)
    February 8, 2010 at 8:43 am

    30% HOLLAAAA I think my life savings would be eaten up by my groceries LOL

  • Reply
    Fitness Contrarian
    February 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Sounds like a good idea. Some people need incentives to change their lives and eat better. Good for Whole Foods.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    We have no Whole Foods in my city, but if we did I would be applying to work there!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I think thats a great idea. For a grocery store thats geared towards health, having healthy employees only makes sense.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    That sounds like a smart idea for wholefoods to have this program for their employees! I totally agreed with you, it seems like a win – win situation!

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    February 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I heard about this on Dateline (I think) once. I was so excited about it. While I don’t normally shop at Whole Foods, because like you said it’s super expensive, I do think more companies should have programs like this. It really encourages healthy employees and as an RD who works in corporate wellness, I’m all about it!!

    Great post.

  • Reply
    marla (Family Fresh Cooking)
    February 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Very interesting program. Yes, more focus should be put on healthy lifestyles. Less $$$ should be spent on folks that eat poorly and are not taking care of themselves. The people who are doing it right need to lead by example.

  • Reply
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