Several Hawai‘i suppliers recognized for their exemplary work

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I (Oct, 22, 2014) – Whole Foods Market Hawai`i announces the winners of its second annual ‘ONO Awards, spotlighting the local producers and suppliers who best embody Whole Foods Market’s mission and core values. The awards were presented during an intimate awards ceremony last night at Fresh Cafe in Kaka`ako, O`ahu.

“We are excited to announce the winners of our second annual ‘ONO Awards. At Whole Foods Market we seek out culinary treasures from dedicated food artisans who share our passion for excellence, tradition and regional identity. Each of these recipients does just that,” said Claire Sullivan, Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i coordinator, purchasing and public affairs. “These awards recognize the hard work and dedication of our local supplier partners as selected by Whole Foods Market customers and team members.”

“One of Whole Foods Market’s core values is to create ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers, and the ‘ONO Awards are a way for us to publicly recognize those local suppliers who are true partners, helping our customers stay connected to the people who grow and make our food,” said Dabney Gough, Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market K?hala.

This year’s winners are:

People’s Choice Award: Chic Naturals
Selected by the Whole Foods Market community, from over 700 individual votes and hundreds of initial nominations

These protein-rich, non-GMO, gluten-free chickpea snacks, which come in salty and sweet flavors, have become a favorite of the Hawai`i community. Owners Shaun and Joan Bayles are dedicated to providing alternative snacks and ingredients that meet the highest standards, with third party verification by the Non GMO Project and Celiac Sprue Association.

Team Member Pick of the Year: Adoboloco
Selected by Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i team members

The sassy branding, great story, and excellent quality product have garnered a huge fan base of Whole Foods Market Team Members. Started by the Parson family as a homeschooling project, these hot sauces have grown into a business that has achieved cult favorite status beyond Maui’s shores. Ingredients are sourced from small local farms and each sauce features a single varietals and origins that celebrate flavor and heat. Adoboloco is a two-time winner, having won 2013 Best New Product.

The following five awards were selected by Whole Foods Market’s Hawai`i leadership team.

Innovator of the Year: Maui Breadfruit Company: Pono Pies and Hummus
Selected for creativity in product, packaging, or business practices

Owner John Cadman has demystified `ulu (breadfruit) and turned it into a treat everyone can get behind. For his pies the fruit is pureed into mousse-like base, incorporated with local ingredients like Kona coffee, mango, and liliko`i, and paired with a gluten-free crumb crust. In his hummus the `ulu is blended with local macadamia nuts to make a flavorful dip. The company also supplies frozen `ulu that allows the store kitchens to feature this traditional staple.

Sustainability Award: Paepae o He`eia
Selected for practices that preserve the ‘aina, support our local economy, and promote food/product self-sufficiency

Based at the 800 year old Hawaiian fish pond near Kane`ohe, O`ahu, this organization works to perpetuate the ancient practice of Hawaiian aquaculture. A nonprofit deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture, Paepae is restoring an ancient Hawaiian fishpond while providing educational opportunities and internships to youth and college students. Paepae is a longstanding community partner of Whole Foods Market and their limu (seaweed) is featured in the stores’ poke.

Best New Product: Pono Pies
Selected for best new product from previous year to date

Whole Foods Market started carrying these pies earlier this year, and the response has been incredible thanks to an amazing product, excellent press in the local media, and a fantastic partnership with owner John Cadman. In Hawaiian pono means “correct, beneficial, done in the right way” and the pies and hummus live up to this by helping to address sustainability and food security issues in Hawai`i by broadening the access to and appeal of the Polynesian staple ‘ulu.

Partner of the Year: Hawaii Beef Producers
Selected for exemplifying collaborative win-win partnerships outlined in Whole Foods Market’s core values

Hawaii Beef Producers, under the leadership of Jill Mattos, serves as the processor and coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s local beef program.  The participating Hawai`i Island ranches – Kuahiwi Ranch, Ponoholo Ranch, Daleico Ranch, Egami Ranch and RJ Ranch – all meet the Global Animal Partnership’s Step 4 pasture centered criteria. This award celebrates the ranchers’ dedication to building their herds and designating cattle for Whole Foods Market, which represents a significant long term commitment. The capacity of this collaborative effort has allowed Whole Foods Market to expand the local beef program not only within the meat case, but also into the roast beef and other ready-to-eat dishes. The beef is one of the most sought after local products and now represents the majority of our beef sales.

Hall of Fame: Kumu Farms
Selected for a long-standing producer who has made significant contributions to our local food economy

Kumu Farms, under the leadership of Grant Schule, has been a valuable partner for Whole Foods Market and a crucial piece in Whole Foods Market’s local product expansion. A wonderful organic farm with operations on both Moloka`i and Maui, Kumu Farms has been a trusty supplier of organic papayas and apple bananas ever since the Kahala store opened in 2008.  When Whole Foods Market shared its need for local organic kale, Kumu Farms took up the challenge, planting kale, chard and other veggies and expanding to Maui to supply a significant portion of the produce, prepared foods and coffee juice bar needs. Kumu Farms’ willingness to collaborate and take a chance on new crops has made for an extremely valuable win-win partnership for the farm as well as Whole Foods Market.


Whole Foods Market has been actively sourcing local products since opening its first store in 1980. In Hawai‘i, Whole Foods Market currently partners with more than 300 local farmers and producers. In 2014, the stores proudly purchased more than $6 million worth of Hawai`i agricultural products, including fresh produce, meat, dairy, eggs, honey and coffee. The Hawai`i team continually seeks out additional local products and producers to grow the volume and variety of Hawai`i grown and made products available at Whole Foods Market’s three island stores.

To learn more about Whole Foods Market, please visit http://wholefoodsmarket.com/.

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