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Can You Finally Open a Whole Foods Franchising Business in 2022?

Whole foods franchising could help spread healthy food across the US. Whole Foods is a food store chain that specializes in providing healthy food such as local, organic, and plant-based products. Do you wish to learn about whole foods franchising? Then read on as we shall discuss whole foods franchising in this article.

whole foods franchising
A Whole Foods market in San Francisco, Calif., on Feb. 15, 2022.

Whole Foods Franchising Fee and Financial Requirements

Whole Foods franchising is not available currently. However, if Whole Foods ever begins franchising, estimates suggest a licensing fee of $50,000 (minimum).

After all, franchise fees for grocery store concepts like 7-Eleven can attain $75,000 per location.

You should expect an upfront investment of millions of dollars in any grocery store. The total startup cost of a grocery store heavily depends on its size and the services offered. The larger the space, the higher the cost of opening.

Here are some of the basic startup costs for a grocery store. Because Whole Foods is an upscale grocery, you can expect to pay higher startup costs to ensure that your machinery, signage, and ambiance match the brand’s perception.

Fees for Insurance, Permits, and Other Services

When opening a supermarket, there are a lot of hoops to jump through. You’ll need to purchase insurance, building permits, and, based on where you open, an alcohol license. All of this is expected to cost an additional $50,000 upfront.

Initial build-out

You need to construct the Whole Foods structure. When you factor in the workforce, plumbing, electrical hookups, cooling systems, shelves, signs, cashiers, carts, and other new grocery necessities, this will cost you at least another $2 million.

Initial Inventory

A Whole Foods Market’s early inventory, which includes fruits, vegetables, meats, and beverages, will cost over $200,000.


You’ll need a huge estate in a city’s commercial district. Because Whole Foods typically opens in more affluent, urban areas, the cost of purchasing a property will be high. The land alone will cost more than $1 million.

 Cost of Whole Foods Franchising

Sadly, Whole Foods does not allow franchises. Every store, even those outside the United States, is owned by the company.

There has been no official explanation why the company will not franchise. Some speculate that this is because of the grocery store chain’s strict operations and preference for complete control over business operations.

Just because Whole Foods franchising isn’t available doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a thing or two about the business to help you on your way to becoming an entrepreneur.

Below are a few facts about the grocery chain that may be useful to you in the long term. Who knows, maybe Whole Foods will open its door to franchising someday.

Annual Sales / Revenue Average

According to Exchange Right, Whole Foods’ overall income in 2020 was up to  $385.06 billion, representing an 87.62% increase over the previous fiscal years.

Whole Foods Market, according to reports, has a profit margin of over 30%. This is an extremely high margin for a supermarket in an industry where a 5% margin would suffice. That is an enticing return for the company’s shareholders.

Facts About the Whole Foods Franchising

John Mackey founded Whole Foods. But, before it was known as Whole Foods Market, it was known as Safer Way Natural Foods in Austin, Texas, in 1978.

After merging with Clarksville Natural Grocery, it changed its brand name to what we currently know as Whole Foods Market in 1980.

Whole Foods has grown rapidly over the years because it merged with other supermarkets. Whole Foods made its first foray outside of Texas in 1988, and by 1992, the company had gone public.

The grocery chain presently has over 500 locations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They have billions of dollars in revenue, with the first recorded in 1997.

Whole Foods is well-known for selling organic and natural products. They adhere to their principles of selling healthy products by prohibiting the use of several unhealthy and harmful items in their products. 

Ingredients Prohibited by Whole Foods 

  • irradiated foods
  • FD & C colors
  • hexa-, hepta- and octa-esters of sucrose
  • disodium inosinate
  • aspartame
  • cyclamates
  • artificial flavors
  • disodium dihydrogen EDTA
  • calcium saccharin
  • disodium calcium EDTA
  • bromated flour
  • lactylated esters of mono- and diglycerides
  • BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • artificial colors
  • hydrogenated fats
  • benzoyl peroxide
  • EDTA
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • cysteine (l-cysteine)
  • acesulfame-K (acesulfame potassium)
  • calcium peroxide
  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
  • foie gras
  • calcium bromate
  • acetylated esters of mono- and diglycerides
  • brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
  • DATEM (Diacetyl tartaric and fatty acid esters of mono and diglycerides)
  • disodium guanylate
  • GMP (disodium guanylate)
  • azodicarbonamide
  • calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • benzoates in food
  • caprocaprylobehenin
  • dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS)
  • calcium disodium EDTA
  • IMP (disodium inosinate)
  • ammonium chloride
  • dimethylpolysiloxane
  • calcium sorbate
  • bleached flour
  • certified colors
  • calcium propionate
  • ethyl vanillin
  • carmine
  • ethoxyquin
  • ethylene oxide
  • methyl silicon
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • sodium diacetate
  • sucroglycerides
  • saccharin
  • potassium sorbate
  • partially hydrogenated oil
  • potassium bromate
  • nitrates/nitrites
  • propylparaben
  • tetrasodium EDTA
  • sodium propionate
  • sodium bisulfite
  • sulfites (sulfur dioxide)
  • TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone)
  • sucrose polyester
  • sodium benzoate
  • natamycin
  • microparticularized protein derived fat substitute
  • potassium metabisulfite
  • sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • potassium bisulfite
  • lead-soldered cans
  • sucralose
  • sodium glutamate
  • methylparaben
  • propyl gallate
  • propionates
  • polydextrose
  • potassium benzoate
  • sodium sulfite
  • sorbic acid
  • sodium nitrate/nitrite
  • sodium aluminum sulfate
  • vanillin
  • solvent-extracted oils, (except grapeseed oil).

Whole Foods sells fresh produce like vegetables, fruits milk, eggs, meat (all of which are labeled as Animal Welfare Certified), ready foods, pantry necessities, baked products (bread and rolls), and desserts.

Customers can shop at Whole Foods by going to the supermarket or ordering online. They have the option of having their groceries delivered or picking them up.

Acquisition and Certification

whole foods franchising

Amazon paid $13 billion for Whole Foods in 2017. Because of this acquisition, Whole Foods prices have been reduced slightly, making it slightly more affordable.

This also enabled Prime members in the United States to claim benefits such as 10% off yellow sale signs and free delivery services. This allows them to save more money when buying at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is the only certified organic supermarket in the United States. The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF certify them as organic) in the US.

By Their stores in the UK and Canada are also certified organic by respective government agencies.

Items with non-GMO labels have been verified. Their beauty and cleaning products are also performance-tested and do not have any harmful ingredients.

The company’s founder John Mackey stepped down as CEO in September 2022 to retire, and the COO Jason Buechel took his place. The corporate headquarters is currently in Austin, Texas.

 Whole Foods Profit

Whole Foods’ 2020 Gross Profit was $291.82 billion, while her 2020 Annual Net Income was $21.33 billion, according to Exchange Right.

 Benefits of a Whole Foods Franchising

Assume you can franchise Whole Foods. What are the benefits of running this grocery chain? Here are a few to look forward to.


Grocery shopping at Whole Foods is simple thanks to features like internet shopping, shipment, and pickup.

But that isn’t all. Whole Foods is heading even further by making shopping with them a flawless and high-tech experience.

Amazon has completely renovated some Whole Foods locations. Shoppers can now enter the store, select the items they want, and walk out without having to go through a cashier.

Instead, it will be debited to your credit card, and you will be billed shortly thereafter.

We’re uncertain if this will be implemented at all Whole Foods locations. However, this shows that the grocery chain will not be left behind in terms of innovation.

Healthy Products

Whole Foods only sells quality foods. They hold their beliefs so firmly that they even publish a list of blacklisted harmful ingredients that you won’t find in their shops and assure you of their certifications so you understand they’re very much legit.

Living a healthy life appears to be on the rise, so if you ever wish to franchise a Whole Foods grocery store, you’ll be able to attract the increasing number of health-conscious customers searching for a certified all-natural supermarket to get their supplies.

Big Name

whole foods

Whole Foods is available in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., but something well-known the grocery store in the U.S. They are regarded as a supermarket behemoth, ranking fifth on their list of the Most Popular Grocery Stores. Because Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, they have a fairly large brand.

So, if you can get Whole Foods franchised, know that you will deal with one of the biggest grocery stores in the United States.

Whole Foods Franchise Challenges

Whole Foods, like every other business, will face difficulties. Here are a few you can expect if you franchise one:

Whole Paycheck

For the longest time, Whole Foods has been dubbed “Whole Paycheck” because it is a grocery chain that sells high-priced items.

Though Amazon’s acquisition has made them more affordable, Whole Foods is still known to be more expensive when compared to other large supermarket stores in the United States.

 Whole Foods Alternative Franchise

Check Jamba Juice if you’re searching for a healthy food franchise. They are a well-known smoothie, juice, and fresh fruit bowl business in the US and around the world.

Jamba Juice franchise fees range from $35,500 to $741,500, with initial investments ranging from $290,050 to $741,500. Trader Joe’s, which has a huge following in California, is another option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whole Foods is not available for franchising.


Broad differentiation generic strategy

individuals and families

Whole Foods has a much larger brand selection than Trader Joe’s.

They prohibit the use of any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

selling organic and natural goods

Any person interested in health and wellness must probably hear of Whole Foods Market. Despite high food prices, this supermarket chain has expanded to over 500 locations and is known for selling organic products.

Whole Foods has amassed a devoted following and its fair share of detractors over the past four decades. Haters will hate, right? Despite the criticism, Whole Foods continues to attract health-conscious customers and generates total profits of more than $385 billion.

If you are a fan of healthy living, with a financial situation that meets Whole Foods’ requirements, this supermarket may be for you. You’ll simply need to wait a few more years to see if Whole Foods would ever allow franchising.

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