Whole Foods Takes A Stake in Mendocino Farms

Organic food grocer Whole Foods Market has made a minority investment in sandwich chain Mendocino Farms. The move gives the retailer another asset in its private brand portfolio to enhance customer experience and build differentiation. As part of the deal, Whole Foods plans to test the opening of Mendocino Farms outlets in select stores. The test will likely include “365 by Whole Foods Markets,” which are scheduled for launch in the late 2016.

Mendicino farms 2David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods, told Nations Restaurant News: “Mendocino Farms is one of the best sandwich and salad concepts coming out of Southern California and we believe it’s one of the top emerging restaurant brands in the country. We are always looking at trends in the food industry, especially those that complement our existing offerings. Aside from offering delicious, high-quality products we think our customers will love, Mendocino Farms’ core values align well with our own, and that’s very important to us.”

The first Mendocino Farms in a Whole Foods is expected to be in Orange County, Calif., or the Los Angeles area, but the test may also include Northern California.

Founded in 2005, Mendocino Farms is a premium fast-casual restaurant, with chef-driven sandwiches and salads made with sustainable ingredients.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.