Possibly one of the most famous Person of the Year recognitions in the United States was actually a bandage intended to cover up a faux pas. A ground-breaking aviator who made a pioneering trans-Atlantic flight had inadvertently not made it onto the cover of a popular news magazine that year (1927). To correct their oversight, the editors took a “better late than never” approach by putting him on the cover at yearend and giving him the honor of Person of the Year. Since then, this cover story has been a December tradition, naming the person who most affected the year’s news, either good or bad.

WholeFoods decided January 2015 would be the perfect time to select our first annual Person of the Year, and the honor was certainly no mistake.

Our New Honor
Our team has been formulating our Natural Products Person of the Year award for quite some time. The brainchild of our president and founder, Howard Wainer, we felt this month was the perfect time to share the story of an individual who made great contributions to the industry in the previous year and recognize him or her in a new way.

Negative reports have a way of getting top billing in the national news, and our industry is definitely a favorite target, even if such excoriation is unjustified and unfounded. If it bleeds, it leads, right?

Well, here at WholeFoods, we’re constantly hearing about the incredible ways that hardworking and dedicated individuals raise the bar of our industry every day. From fighting for it on the Hill and in the courts, to filling unmet needs by creating amazing new products, to passionately explaining the value of natural health to shoppers, the natural products industry has no shortage of incredible contributors. While we knew it would be impossible to honor them all, we felt it was important to start our own tradition of highlighting one person’s contributions every year and recognizing that person’s efforts. He or she may not be a household name, but their efforts will likely touch millions in a positive way and their stories deserve to be told.

We hope the WholeFoods Natural Products Person of the Year honor, to be presented at the start of the year, will not only demonstrate how an individual helped the industry grow during the previous year, but also will inspire us all to continue moving it forward by making it the best it can be. We believe this year’s choice, Megan Westgate, executive director of the Non-GMO Project, more than fits the bill on both fronts. You can read why in our cover story.

Negative news should not be covered up, but there’s definitely a time and a place for positive stories to be shared. Perhaps, if it’s an incredible deed, it should lead, right? WF

Kaylynn Chiarello-Ebner
Editor/Associate Editor  

Throughout 2015, WholeFoods will welcome nominations for our next Person of the Year, to be honored in January 2016. Send your ideas to KaylynnEbner@wfcinc.com.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2015