This spring marks a period of exceptional growth for Whole Foods, a company that's quickly becoming the Google of the food industry. On the heels of a wellness center announcement, Whole Foods reveals its plans for Whole Journeys, an international, food-focused travel venture.
Beginning in April, Whole Journeys will take groups of 16 people maximum to Turkey, Italy, Spain, China, France and Switzerland with itineraries chock-full of soft adventures and hands-on culinary experiences.
"The goal is to further connect our customers to their food, where it comes from and the traditions of food in that region, not to promote Whole Foods." - Heather Kennedy, Whole Journeys coordinator
Choose the biking trip across Italy and you won't have to worry about how much pasta you consume, or hike through the Dolomites and learn the secrets of making yogurt and cheese. Each trip is fit to certain tastes and activity levels, and Whole Journeys has launched with over a dozen to choose from.
"These trips will allow customers to experience a culture through their food and food traditions," Heather Kennedy, Whole Journeys coordinator, tells CultureMap. "Our guests will see the region from a unique perspective while doing an activity, such as walking, hiking, rafting, or cycling. Approaching an ancient hill-top town in Tuscany on a bicycle or while walking is a much different experience than seeing it from the window of a tour bus. "
She says it's the company's intent to support the various regions' economies as best it can while keeping the luxury level mid to high. "We are staying in local, boutique hotels, we’ll use passionate local guides and we’ll visit open-air markets, restaurants and producers inherent to the region — all of which will have a positive impact on local economies."
If concerned that the trips will be overtly branded with Whole Foods paraphernalia and language, Kennedy says the company's name may come up, but it's Whole Journeys' goal to be as authentic as possible.
"Some trips will provide the opportunity to meet with a local producer that creates products we carry in some of our stores, or similar to what we carry. But the goal is to further connect our customers to their food, where it comes from and the traditions of food in that region, not to promote Whole Foods."
For those interested in learning the deeper stories of the food we consume, reserve a spot on a trip on Whole Journeys website and temper those glasses of wine with a few hikes in the Hill Country.