What: Dr. Fuhrman Health Getaway 2010
Where: Rancho Bernado Inn, San Diego, Calif.
When: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Why: Whole Foods Market returns to its roots
The Scoop: Let's get right to the "kombucha kontroversy." Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey confirmed over dinner that the love-it-or-hate-it tasty tonic, or as I call it, "the fermented concoction that helps me hang on" (sorry Mr. Buffett), has been pulled from all of his groceries. Why? And just how much should we blame Lindsay Lohan?
An unnamed teetotaler close to Mackey mentioned the tipsy feeling felt after drinking the fermented tea (it wasn't me, I swear). Whole Foods had it tested, and, wouldn't you know, the alcohol content was far above the 0.5 percent listed on the label—ranging anywhere from 0.7–1.2 percent depending on brand. Pass me another. Staying one step ahead, WF pulls the bubbly bliss from its shelves, in order to save its pristine image... and possibly a few lawsuits somewhere down the road? Now we know why they installed "kombucha bars" that sold the liquid refreshment "on tap" in some of its markets.
Last night's plenary was all Whole Foods, with Mackey explaining "The Whole Foods Market Healthy Eating Revolution," a uniquely forward-thinking plan that is already a resounding success. Citing that 82 percent of US adults have at least one heart disease risk factor, 81 percent are on weekly meds, and the 10 million obese kids "who will be the first generation in the country to have shorter life spans than their parents," it's time for a change. Enter ANDI.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Eat Right America have developed a score (think "report card") that ranks foods by their nutritional density. WF posted the ANDI scores (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) in their produce sections beginning in January and wouldn't you know it produce sales shot up 25 percent in the last six months (leafy greens an amazing 1,000 percent). WF then added a seventh core value to the company mission, "promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education," and originated the Total Health Immersion Program for WF team members. Chef Chad Sarno (you'll meet him tomorrow) is the coordinator of the Immersion Program, a wide-ranging plan that includes higher company discounts depending upon how healthy one is, a Healthy Eating Dining Club in each market, and the availability of the program to the public in 2011.
The ANDI score card. Eat your greens.
Mackey summed it all up. "The original intent of Whole Foods was to sell healthy alternatives." He mentioned that in his first store 35 percent of sales were produce and another 20 percent bulk items. In the 30 years since those numbers have fallen to roughly 17.5 and 1.5 percent, respectively. "We're getting back to our roots." And nuts and seeds and greens.