John Mackey opened a single Whole Foods Market in 1980 to sell healthy food to his community of Austin, Texas. Forty years and nearly 500 stores later, the company’s co-founder and CEO is considered one of the most influential voices in the food industry and on the science of healthy eating, the subject of his book The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity. He discusses the importance of reeducating our palates to a diet of “whole foods” and why conscious capitalism is a critical driver of good business.
On growing a business: “There’s nothing more fun than building a business, at least that I’ve found. It’s the biggest kick in life. You’re creating something. You’re doing it with people you love and care about – you’re doing it together. You get to see the fruits of your labor. You’re employing people. You’re watching them grow. It’s deeply, deeply satisfying.”
On the importance of training your palate to crave healthy foods: “Once you reeducate your palate, there’s no loss in pleasure. I love really healthy food, but I had to reeducate my palate to learn to enjoy it. Since there’s no loss in pleasure, it makes great logical sense to teach yourself to eat the healthiest food in the world, and then you make this great discovery that it actually tastes better and you like it better.”
On business as a creator of greater good: “I really believe business creates value for its customers, it creates value for its employees, it creates value for suppliers, it creates value for its investors, it creates value for the community and the larger society that we’re part of. And conscious capitalism is basically an attempt for people to understand business at this deeper level.”