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Whole Foods CEO on Food Retail's Future

Jason Buechel, CEO of Whole Foods

Jason Buechel, Whole Foods Market CEO, discussed the evolving food retail landscape during the Milken Institute Global Conference 2024, a gathering of business, finance, government, and philanthropy leaders.

Buechel participated in “The Future of Food Retail” panel alongside Nancy Dalton, director of Amazon Access external affairs and marketing and social impact at Amazon, Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co., and Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of The Food Industry Association. He highlighted Whole Foods’ goal to have 30 stores a year in the pipeline including new formats like Daily Shop, a quick-shop, urban format, along with other topics such as sustainable food systems and expanding quality standards.

“We feel responsibility as a company to take a look at how we can find ways to protect our environment and support our food systems for future generations,” said Buechel. “Whole Foods started with climate friendly agriculture; organics have been a part of the company from the beginning. We are pushing other levers like regenerative and continue to lead the number of items that we are carrying in this space and bringing the first exclusive brand of products in this area as well.”

Additionally, Buechel joined Debbie Dyson, CEO of OneTen, Lisa Gevelber, founder and head of Grow with Google, and Igor Tulchinsky, chairman and CEO of WorldQuant for a conversation titled “Visions for the Future: Leaders Shaping Tomorrow’s Workforce.” The panel explored issues facing today’s workforce, including digital transformation, talent development strategies, and adapting to the changing nature of work.

“For us, our team members are the lifeblood, they are the secret sauce of Whole Foods Market,” said Buechel. “If we put the right focus on making sure we can develop our team members to ensure they have the skills and experiences to best serve our customers, we…can create win-win outcomes.”

Buechel will discuss similar topics during the keynote address at the 68th Summer Fancy Food Show, taking place June 23-25 at the Javits Center in New York.