Providing Flavor Flexibility while Navigating ‘Whole Foods’ Regulatory Requirements

By January 9, 2023Blog, News

What does the average Whole Foods customer look like? Well, according to Business Insider, they’re 29-35 years old and make around $80K a year. They (and millions of other Whole Foods customers) enjoy organic, natural, and ethically-sourced foods/beverages that taste great and make them feel better about their health. They want to know where their purchases come from and how they were made. They want to be able to easily identify products that are well-regulated and continuously tested for safety and quality. And our average customer shops a lot, buying an estimated 9 items per trip, with each trip costing around $46. Does that sound like a customer you’d like to market to?

Well, before your products can be sold in Whole Foods and long before they can be placed in these valuable customers’ carts, you’ll want to make sure that you completely understand the process for qualifying for shelf space in Whole Foods. We can assist with that, and much, much more!

Let’s talk about how Custom Flavors can help you ensure that your various product lines are safe, tasty, and approved at one of the country’s 10 most popular supermarket chains—Whole Foods.


What Is So Important About These Guidelines? What Does Your Team Need To Know?

This official list of “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food” is a fantastic resource for both identifying and eliminating any problematic ingredients that might be present in your current products or future formulations…but, like all things somewhat complicated, we know how much it helps to have some more context and a little bit of…custom, creative flavor.

Commonly used ingredients in other companies’ formulations include:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Acetoin (Synthetic)
  • Benzophenone
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Ethyl Vanillin (Synthetic)
  • Eugenyl Methyl Ester (Synthetic)
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Myrcene (Synthetic)
  • Neotame
  • Propylene Glycol Esters of Fatty Acids
  • Propionic Acid
  • Pulegone
  • Pyridine (Synthetic)
  • Smoke Flavor (Synthetic) 
  • Vanillin (Synthetic)

These ingredients (and more) can NOT be found in any products sold inside any of ‘Whole Foods’ more than 500 locations across the United States.

Our 20,000+ Delicious Flavors Are Fully Customizable To Your Tastes

With 60% of our existing catalog consisting entirely of natural ingredients and over 360 flavors Certified Organic, we are offering new organic flavors and extracts every single day. We want to help you create exciting new organic products that keep your customers raving about you and them for years to come.

To continue creating the great-tasting flavors and extracts that ‘Whole Foods’ customers expect, there’s really no other option than providing flexibility, while adhering to carefully regulated third-party regulations. As such, we carefully source and select our ingredients to ensure quality, sustainability, and safety. From glycerin certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to cocoa powder certified by the Rainforest Alliance, our experts make sure that our products meet or exceed the highest standards.

Custom Flavors Is The Perfect Partner For You & ‘Whole Foods’

The possibilities are endless when you deal with a partner that knows this space and knows it well. Our formulation experts can help you create healthy, refreshing, and energy-boosting products for your customers, without bloated lead times and extensive back-and-forth that keep you from getting your new creation to the shelves and end caps of ‘Whole Foods.’



We mentioned that the average Whole Foods customer was around 29-35 years old…have you checked out our latest piece on brand names and nostalgia? It’s definitely something to read and remember:

“Whether you spent those specific years in middle school, high school, or college, the things you remember from those times are special. The food you eat and the drinks you drink in the present are all affected by tastes that you acquired in the past. All of our favorite tastes are driven by our nostalgia…”

Here are some more ‘Whole Foods-friendly’ brand flavor inspirations that we thought of…just this year!

  • Olipop – Better-for-you sodas & tonics with reduced sugar, fiber, and prebiotics using nostalgic flavors like Classic Root Beer, Strawberry Vanilla, and Cherry Cola.
  • Smart Sweets – Paving the way in the “healthier candy” space by reimagining nostalgic candies such as Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, and Peach Rings (under different names) made with better-for-you ingredients and crafted with care.
  • Legendary Foods – Fun nostalgic bakery flavors featuring less sugar, carbs, and more protein! Flavors like Hot Fudge Sundae, Birthday Cake, Red Velvet, and Cookies and Cream are always a home run.

Imagine Your Food & Beverage Company Had Its Product Formulated…

  • If you’re already a Custom Flavors customer, we can convert the in-house flavors that you were using to Whole Foods-compliant versions (or as specified by other specialty grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Publix, Sprouts, Walmart, Costco, and Target.)
  • Already using another flavorhouse that can’t get the job done in time? With our industry-leading capabilities, we sustainably provide 20,000+ custom flavors similar to or better than the competition.

Either way, the overall profile of your finished product is now consistent, high-quality, and ready to be packed onto the shelves of Whole Foods and other specialty/organic grocery chains everywhere. FInally you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re in the hands of flavor professionals who care about great taste, amazing ingredients, and impeccable customer service.

Lastly, While These Guidelines Might Change, Our Lead Times Don’t…

When you order with Custom Flavors, you’re signing up to receive the best of the best. From our ethically-sourced supply chain to our world-class production facilities, we’re devoted to providing high-quality natural and organic products to our clients when they want them, not right before their upcoming deadline.

Still have more questions about Whole Foods or how Custom Flavors can help you? Schedule a call with one of our team members today to get their whole, undivided attention and expert advice.