Whole Foods Market has appointed a new Global Coordinator of Local Brands, promoting experienced advocate for local producers Kelly Landrieu. Using her five years of experience with Whole Foods, Landrieu will now work alongside the retailer’s local foragers and merchants to acquire a variety of innovative and trending products.
Most notably, Landrieu helped develop and manage the “Friends of Whole Foods Market” program, which features artisan and restaurateur partners within the walls of Whole Foods Market stores. Landrieu also spent four years as a Whole Foods local forager in the 40-store Southwest region. There she discovered hundreds of local brands, including MALK Organics, French Truck Coffee, and Windowsill Pies, according to a press release.
In her new role as Global Coordinator of Local Brands, Landrieu will use these skills to highlight the local product selection at Whole Foods stores. Her tasks will also include developing continued education and mentorship programs for current and future local suppliers, as well as supporting her forager partners in the field.
“We’re very excited for Kelly to work with our team of local foragers to source the best local products for our stores and help our local suppliers thrive and expand,” said Cathy Strange, Global Executive Coordinator of Specialty and Product Innovation and Development. “Kelly’s experience as a local forager in the field, along with her passion for food and entrepreneurship, make her a terrific advocate for our local buyers, foragers, and suppliers.”
Whole Foods noted that it has developed a longstanding reputation as an incubator for small suppliers. The grocer's Local Producer Loan Program has provided low interest loans to local suppliers to help them expand their businesses for more than 11 years, loaning more than $22 million to small businesses to use for investments in new equipment, organic certification, or research and development for new products.