This spring has marked a period of exceptional growth for Whole Foods, a company that's quickly becoming the Google of the food industry. On the heels of plans to open a swanky health resort, the health food giant now has plans for an international, food-focused travel venture.
Whole Journeys is offering trips chock-full of soft adventures and hands-on culinary experiences in Turkey, Italy, Spain, China, France and Switzerland.
"The goal is to further connect our customers to their food and where it comes from," says Whole Journeys coordinator Heather Kennedy.
Choose the biking trip across Italy, and you won't have to worry about how much pasta you consume; hike through the Dolomites and learn the secrets of making yogurt and cheese. Each trip — more than a dozen in all — appeals to certain tastes and activity levels.
"These trips will allow customers to experience a culture through their food and food traditions," says Heather Kennedy, Whole Journeys coordinator. "Our guests will see the region from a unique perspective while doing an activity, such as walking, hiking, rafting or cycling. Approaching an ancient hilltop 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 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."