30 Years and Proud!

Written By:
Heather Wainer
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See the rest of our 30th Anniversary Coverage:
Profile of Howard Wainer | Five Trends over Five Years
2009-2014 Timeline | Company Bios

They say with age comes experience. That being said, personally, I hate getting older. But as a company, I could not be more excited.

This month, I am so proud we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of WholeFoods Magazine. And I, am overwhelmed with pride and joy that the Natural Products Association selected my father and hero, WholeFoods president, Howard Wainer, to receive its highest honor: the 2014 President’s Award.

I have grown up with the magazine. I’ve watched it flourish and helped it develop over the years. Yes, it is safe to say that my younger sibling is all grown up, but it is by no means stagnant. We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve even more, which is more important today than ever before.

Changes All Around Us
Over the past few years, we here at WholeFoods have seen many changes, had experiences that made us laugh and cry, and welcomed what was yet to come. Regarding the WholeFoods family, I am proud to say that our staff is almost the same as it was at our 25th anniversary. Some employees are even celebrating double-digit anniversaries soon. To me, that says a lot about us as a company.

Despite these constants, we have had some changes. Our valued editor/associate publisher Kaylynn gave birth to two boys and did not miss a beat here. On a sadder note, in 2011, we lost my beloved mother, who was our circulation director and a dear friend and mentor to so many. I have never been so touched as by the people who reached out to my father and me during that difficult time and made us feel so loved. We do keep her memory alive.

We were tested again in 2012 when my father underwent a kidney transplant. Once again, I was overwhelmed by support and, of course, could not be more thankful to the donor, one of my sorority sisters, who now truly is my sister.

This brings me to one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. This past year, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Peru with Vitamin Angels and see their amazing, selfless work firsthand. I plan on doing more of this type of work in the future, especially with children.

And at home, one of our biggest developments at WholeFoods was the introduction of our new Web site, wholefoodsmagazine.com, in 2010. And a year ago, we revolutionized the most comprehensive and valuable directory in the industry with the SourceBook Online. We’re using this momentum to move WholeFoods forward in the years to come.

Moving Forward
Over the past 30 years, WholeFoods has witnessed and reported on some big changes in this industry we love and in publishing itself, the two things that define our family-owned company.

Today, I believe that the natural products industry has evolved into a mature industry. Over the past few years, companies have had to become GMP compliant, for instance. The responsibility, testing and investments I see my customers involved in makes me proud to be associated with them.

But yet, the natural products industry must still fight the good fight. DSHEA is constantly being challenged; the media does not let up even on supplement darlings like EFAs, vitamin D and multivitamins; and many are fighting against GMOs. It is comforting to see how many allies we have, but we cannot become complacent. As our champions are getting older, we must find new partners to help us fight for our cause. There is so much at stake to defend, especially at a time when consumer acceptance of natural and organic products is mounting so rapidly.

Natural products sales—once entirely the domain of health food stores—continue to grow in mass market and online retailers. Natural practitioners and gourmet retailers, too, are now key sellers of our products, and WholeFoods has grown its circulation to incorporate them. Our newest column, The Gourmet Guru, is just one example of how WholeFoods continues to respond to trends to give readers fresh, much-needed information. As an aside, it’s interesting that WholeFoods’ first cover story in 1984 was on natural gourmet foods. Is what was old new again or were we just ahead of our time? Either way, we hope you enjoy our new column.

As I mentioned earlier, WholeFoods has increased its digital presence while investing in our print publication. In a sign of the times, we have watched other magazines ceasing to print at all in favor of online publishing.

But, WholeFoods continues to be dedicated to print, while offering a digital flipbook and online coverage at wholefoodsmagazine.com, where you can see everything that appears in print plus web exclusives. With Social Media becoming so popular, we connect with readers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus more to come. In the coming years, you will see us not just keep up with the trends, but also stay ahead of them. We have so many plans in the works, but will also abide by our core mission statement to inform and educate.

2014 looks to be one of our best years yet with so many reasons to celebrate. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you, and that you continue to celebrate with us all year long with our 2014 Editorial Series about Natural Success Stories.

Thanks for 30 wonderful years. I look forward to 30+ more.

In love and health,

Heather Wainer

 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2014