A woman shops at a Whole Foods supermarket in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A woman shops at a Whole Foods supermarket in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Got the next great organic food product? Wondering how to get it into your local Whole Foods store? Then Tom Rich is the guy to talk to.

Rich is the grocery coordinator for the 27-store Rocky Mountain region of the Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain. He works in the health-oriented, food-centric city of Boulder, Colorado, where the company’s recently expanded Pearl Street store is considered a rich testing ground for new concepts.

“Part of the responsibility in our position is to find new, emerging brands,” Rich said. “We’re trying to build our bullpen. We’re tasked to do that here.”

He gives two examples of concepts that began in Boulder and were subsequently given national treatment throughout Whole Foods’ 300-store network: all-natural nut butter producer Justin’s and flatbread and burrito bowl maker EVOL.