NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS Notice is

NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS Notice is

NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the Shareholders of Whole Foods Market, Inc. will be held at the Fai...

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NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the Shareholders of Whole Foods Market, Inc. will be held at the Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94108, on March 9, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. local time for the following purposes: 1.

To elect the eleven nominees named in the attached Proxy Statement to the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market, Inc. to serve one-year terms expiring at the later of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in 2017 or upon a successor being elected and qualified;

2.

To conduct an advisory vote to approve the compensation of the named executive officers;

3.

To ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent auditor for the fiscal year ending September 25, 2016;

4. To ratify the amendment of our team member stock purchase plan to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance pursuant to such plan by an additional 1,000,000 shares; 5.

To consider three shareholder proposals, described in the accompanying Proxy Statement, if properly presented at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders; and

6.

To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting or any adjournments or postponements thereof.

Only shareholders of record at the close of business on January 11, 2016 are entitled to notice of, and to vote at, the meeting. All shareholders are requested to be present in person or by proxy. Any shareholder who later finds that he or she can be present at the meeting, or for any reason desires to do so, may revoke the proxy at any time before it is voted. Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials for the 2016 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting: We are mailing to many of our shareholders a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials (which we refer to as a “Notice”), rather than mailing a full paper set of the materials. The Notice contains instructions on how to access our proxy materials on the Internet, as well as instructions on obtaining a paper copy of the proxy materials. This process is more environmentally friendly and reduces our costs to print and distribute these materials. All shareholders who do not receive such a Notice, including shareholders who have previously requested to receive a paper copy of the materials, will receive a full set of paper proxy materials by U.S. mail. Voting by the Internet or telephone is fast and convenient, and your vote is immediately confirmed and tabulated. If you receive a paper copy of the proxy materials, you may also vote by completing, signing, dating and returning the accompanying proxy card in the enclosed return envelope furnished for that purpose. By using the Internet or telephone, you help us reduce postage and proxy tabulation costs. Please do not return the enclosed paper ballot if you are voting over the Internet or by telephone. Record Date: January 11, 2016 By Order of the Board of Directors,

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer January 21, 2016 YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT! Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, please cast your vote as promptly as possible by Internet, telephone or U.S. mail.

WHOLE FOODS MARKET, INC. PROXY STATEMENT Table of Contents QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING THIS PROXY STATEMENT PROPOSAL 1 – ELECTION OF DIRECTORS Current Nominees CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Corporate Governance Highlights Directors and Committee Assignments Committees and Meetings Board Oversight of Enterprise Risk Risk Considerations in our Compensation Programs Leadership Structure Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation Code of Business Conduct DIRECTOR COMPENSATION Director Compensation Program for Fiscal Year 2015 Director Compensation Table for Fiscal Year 2015 PROPOSAL 2 – ADVISORY VOTE TO APPROVE THE COMPENSATION OF THE NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION Compensation Discussion and Analysis Compensation Committee Report Summary Compensation Table for Fiscal Year 2015 Grants of Plan-Based Awards for Fiscal Year 2015 Outstanding Equity Awards Value at Fiscal Year-End 2015 Option Exercises and Stock Vested for Fiscal Year 2015 Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation for Fiscal Year 2015 Potential Payments on Termination/Change of Control PROPOSAL 3 – RATIFICATION OF INDEPENDENT AUDITOR Independent Public Accountants Audit Committee Pre-Approval Policies and Procedures Audit Committee Report PROPOSAL 4 – TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF SHARES AUTHORIZED FOR ISSUANCE UNDER THE COMPANY’S TEAM MEMBER STOCK PURCHASE PLAN PROPOSAL 5 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING REVISIONS TO THE COMPANY'S PROXY ACCESS BYLAW PROPOSAL 6 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING ACCELERATED VESTING OF EQUITY AWARDS UPON A CHANGE IN CONTROL PROPOSAL 7 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING FOOD WASTE REPORTING CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS 2015 Related Party Transactions Related Party Transactions in General OTHER INFORMATION Beneficial Ownership Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance Deadlines for Submitting Shareholder Proposals Multiple Shareholders Sharing the Same Address

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Whole Foods Market 550 Bowie Street Austin, Texas 78703 PROXY STATEMENT Annual Meeting of Shareholders of the Company to be held on March 9, 2016 Questions and Answers Regarding This Proxy Statement Q: Why am I being asked to review these materials? A: The accompanying proxy is solicited on behalf of the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market, Inc., a Texas corporation (which we refer to as the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our”). We are providing these proxy materials to you in connection with our Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held at the Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94108, on March 9, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. local time. As a Company shareholder, you are invited to attend the Annual Meeting and are entitled and encouraged to vote on the proposals described in this Proxy Statement. Q: Why am I being asked to review materials online? A: Under rules adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, we are furnishing proxy materials to many of our shareholders on the Internet rather than mailing printed copies of those materials to each shareholder. If you received a Notice by mail, you will not receive a printed copy of the proxy materials unless you request one. Instead, the Notice will instruct you as to how you may access and review the proxy materials on the Internet. If you received a Notice and would like to receive a printed copy of our proxy materials, please follow the instructions included in the Notice. We anticipate the Notice will be mailed to shareholders on or about January 21, 2016. Q: Who may vote at the meeting? A: You may vote all of the shares of our common stock that you owned at the close of business on January 11, 2016, the record date. On the record date, the Company had 328,039,911 shares of common stock outstanding and entitled to vote at the meeting. You may cast one vote for each share of common stock held by you on each of the matters presented at the meeting. Q: What proposals will be voted on at the meeting and how does the Board of Directors recommend I vote? A: There are seven proposals to be considered and voted on at the meeting, including four Company proposals and three shareholder proposals. Please see the information included in the Proxy Statement relating to these proposals. The proposals to be voted on and related recommendations from the Board of Directors are as follows: Company Proposals 1.

To elect the eleven nominees named herein to the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market, Inc., each to serve a term expiring at the later of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in 2017 or upon a successor being elected and qualified. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” each of the nominees to the Board of Directors.

2.

To conduct an advisory vote to approve the compensation of the named executive officers. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” approval of the compensation of the named executive officers.

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3.

To ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent auditor for the Company for the fiscal year ending September 25, 2016. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” ratification of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent auditor.

4. To ratify the amendment of our team member stock purchase plan to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance pursuant to such plan by an additional 1,000,000 shares. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” ratification of the amendment of our team member stock purchase plan to increase the number of shares authorized for issuance under our team member stock purchase plan. Shareholder Proposals 5.

To ask that our Board of Directors adopt and present for shareholder approval revisions to the Company’s proxy access bylaw. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “AGAINST” this proposal

6.

To ask that our Board of Directors adopt a policy related to limiting acceleration of vesting of equity upon a change in control. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “AGAINST” this proposal.

7.

To ask the Company to issue a report regarding our food waste efforts. Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “AGAINST” this proposal.

We will also consider other business that properly comes before the meeting in accordance with Texas law and our Bylaws. Q: How do I vote? A: You may vote your shares in advance using any of the following voting alternatives: VIA INTERNET at www.ProxyVote.com. BY TELEPHONE by viewing the proxy materials at www.ProxyVote.com and using a touch-tone phone and the tollfree number provided at that time. You can also use a telephone to request a paper copy of the proxy materials. BY MAIL by completing and mailing in a paper proxy card, as outlined in the Notice. Alternatively, you may vote your shares in person at the meeting. If, like most shareholders of the Company, you hold your shares in street name through a stockbroker, bank or other nominee rather than directly in your own name, you are considered the beneficial owner of those shares. To vote at the meeting, beneficial owners will need to contact the broker, trustee or nominee that holds their shares to obtain a “legal proxy” to bring to the meeting. You are encouraged to read all of the proxy materials before voting your shares as they contain important information necessary to make an informed decision. If your shares are registered directly in your name with our transfer agent, Securities Transfer Corporation, you are considered a shareholder of record with respect to those shares, and the Notice has been sent directly to you by Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. If you are the beneficial owner of those shares, the Notice is being forwarded to you. Please carefully consider the information contained in the Proxy Statement and, whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, vote by Internet, telephone or mail so that we can be assured of having a quorum present at the meeting and so that your shares may be voted in accordance with your wishes. Even if you plan on attending the meeting but later decide not to attend, your vote will be counted if you vote by Internet, telephone or mail. -2-

We encourage you to register your vote via the Internet at www.ProxyVote.com. If you attend the meeting, you may also submit your vote in person, in which case any votes that you previously submitted (whether via the Internet, by telephone or by mail) will be superseded by the vote that you cast at the meeting. Whether your proxy is submitted by the Internet, by telephone or by mail, if it is properly completed and submitted and if you do not revoke it prior to the meeting, your shares will be voted at the meeting in the manner set forth in this Proxy Statement or as otherwise specified by you. To vote at the meeting, beneficial owners will need to contact the broker, trustee or nominee that holds their shares to obtain a “legal proxy” to bring to the meeting. Unless you hold your shares through the Company’s 401(k) plan, you may vote via the Internet or by telephone until 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 8, 2016, or the Company’s agent must receive your paper proxy card on or before March 8, 2016. If you participate in the Company’s 401(k) plan, your proxy card includes shares that the plan has credited to this account. To allow sufficient time for the Company’s 401(k) plan trustee to vote, the trustee must receive your voting instructions via Internet or by telephone by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 4, 2016, or the Company’s agent must receive your paper proxy card on or before March 4, 2016. If the trustee does not receive your instructions by that date, the trustee will vote the shares in the same proportion of votes that the trustee receives from other plan participants who did vote. Q: If I do provide voting instructions and/or grant my proxy, who will vote my shares at the meeting and how will they vote my shares? A: John Mackey and Walter Robb are officers of the Company and were named by our Board of Directors as proxy holders. They will vote all proxies, or record an abstention or withholding, in accordance with the directions on the proxy. If no contrary direction is given, the shares will be voted as recommended by the Board of Directors. Q: What happens if additional matters are presented at the Annual Meeting? A: Other than the items of business described in this Proxy Statement, we are unaware of any other business to be acted upon at the Annual Meeting. If you grant a proxy, the persons named as proxy holders, John Mackey and Walter Robb, will have the discretion to vote your shares on any additional matters properly presented for a vote at the meeting in accordance with Texas law and our Bylaws. Q: If my shares are held in street name by my broker, will my broker vote my shares for me? A: Your broker is allowed to vote your shares only on certain “routine” proposals or if you provide your broker with instructions on how to vote. Under applicable stock exchange rules, only Proposal 3 (ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent auditors) is routine. Brokers are prohibited from voting uninstructed shares on “nonroutine” proposals, including proposals for elections of directors and all other proposals except Proposal 3. If you do not give your broker or nominee specific instructions, your shares may not be voted on certain matters and will not be considered as present and entitled to vote with respect to those matters. Q: What constitutes a quorum? Why is a quorum required? A: Return of your proxy is important because a quorum is required for the Company shareholders to conduct business at the meeting. The presence at the meeting, in person or by proxy, of the holders of shares having a majority of the voting power represented by all issued and outstanding shares entitled to vote on the record date will constitute a quorum, permitting us to conduct the business of the meeting. Proxies received but marked as abstentions, if any, will be included in the calculation of the number of shares considered to be present at the meeting for quorum purposes. Because this proxy includes a “routine” management proposal, shares represented by such “broker non-votes” will be counted in determining whether there is a quorum present. If we do not have a quorum, we will be forced to reconvene the Annual Meeting of Shareholders at a later date. -3-

Q: What if I abstain? A: Abstentions are included in the determination of shares present for quorum purposes; however, except as required by applicable law or regulations, votes submitted as abstentions will not be counted as votes FOR or AGAINST any matter presented for shareholder approval. Q: Can I change my vote after I have delivered my proxy? A: Yes. You may revoke your proxy at any time before its exercise. You may also revoke your proxy by voting in person at the Annual Meeting. If you are a beneficial shareholder, you must contact your brokerage firm or bank to change your vote or obtain a proxy to vote your shares if you wish to cast your vote in person at the meeting. Q: Who will count the votes? A: We hired Carl T. Hagberg and Associates to judge voting and be responsible for determining whether or not a quorum is present. We hired Broadridge Financial Services, Inc. to tabulate votes cast by proxy or in person at the Annual Meeting. Q: Where can I find voting results of the meeting? A: We will announce preliminary general voting results at the meeting and publish final detailed voting results on a Current Report on Form 8-K that we will file within four business days after the meeting. Q: Who will bear the cost for soliciting votes for the meeting? A: We will bear all expenses in conjunction with the solicitation of the enclosed proxy, including the charges of brokerage houses and other custodians, nominees or fiduciaries for forwarding documents to security owners and the fee to Georgeson Inc., who will help us solicit proxies. We anticipate that the fee to Georgeson Inc. will be $8,500, plus expenses. In addition, proxies may be solicited by mail, email, in person, or by telephone or fax by certain of our directors, officers and other team members. Q: Whom should I call with other questions? A: If you have additional questions about this Proxy Statement or the meeting or would like additional copies of this document or our 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K, please contact: Whole Foods Market, 550 Bowie Street, Austin, TX 78703, Attention: Investor Relations Dept., Telephone: (512) 542-0204. Q: How can I communicate with the Company’s Board of Directors? A: Shareholders may send communications in care of the Director of Internal Audit, Whole Foods Market, 550 Bowie Street, Austin, TX 78703, or via email to: [email protected] Please indicate whether your message is for the Board of Directors as a whole, a particular group or committee of directors, or an individual director. The Board of Directors has implemented procedures for processing shareholder communications and a description of these procedures can be found on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/investor-relations/corporategovernance. Web links throughout this document are provided for convenience only, and the content on the referenced websites does not constitute a part of this Proxy Statement.

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PROPOSAL 1 – ELECTION OF DIRECTORS Size of Board of Directors Our Board of Directors currently consists of eleven members. All eleven members of the Board of Directors are elected by the holders of our common stock. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” EACH OF THE NOMINEES TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS SET FORTH IN THIS PROPOSAL 1. Vote Required Election of each director requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast by the holders of shares represented at the meeting and entitled to vote. Current Nominees The director nominees are Dr. John Elstrott, Shahid (Hass) Hassan, Stephanie Kugelman, John Mackey, Walter Robb, Jonathan Seiffer, Morris (Mo) Siegel, Jonathan Sokoloff, Dr. Ralph Sorenson, Gabrielle Sulzberger and William (Kip) Tindell, III. Each of the nominees is currently a member of the Board of Directors and each has been nominated for election at the Annual Meeting to hold office until the later of the next annual meeting or the election of his/her respective successor. Our director nomination process is discussed below where we describe the purpose of our Nominating and Governance Committee. The Board of Directors, upon the advice of the Nominating and Governance Committee, has determined that all of the director nominees, other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Robb, are “independent directors” as defined in Rule 5605 of the NASDAQ Listing Rules. This independence question is analyzed annually in both fact and appearance to promote armslength oversight. The Board of Directors considered the following information in determining whether or not our directors are independent. Mr. Mackey and Mr. Robb are current Company officers, and accordingly the Board of Directors has concluded that neither is currently an independent director. With respect to our other directors, some serve on the boards of or have an ownership interest in privately held companies, including some companies that are vendors of the Company. Several of these directors have been entrepreneurs in the organic-foods industry for a number of years and our Board of Directors believes that their industry experience is valuable to the Company. As reported to us by our directors, in many cases the ownership interest of any board member in a vendor amounted to less than 2% of the vendor’s outstanding ownership interests, and in all cases amounted to less than 5% of the vendor’s outstanding ownership interests. Collectively, the Company’s purchases of product from all vendors in which any of our directors noted a fiscal year 2015 ownership interest and/or noted service as a director represented approximately 0.02% of the Company’s purchases during fiscal year 2015. Furthermore, Jonathan Seiffer and Jonathan Sokoloff are both partners of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., which is an affiliate of Beacon Holding Inc. During 2011, Beacon Holding Inc. purchased BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc., which is a leading warehouse club operator in the eastern United States. Messrs. Seiffer and Sokoloff are each a director of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. Further discussion concerning director independence is available on our website at: http://assets.wholefoodsmarket.com/www/company-info/investor-relations/corporategovernance/Governance_Principles_Nov4_2014.pdf. The information provided below is biographical information about each of the nominees, including other public company board memberships. Age and other information in each nominee’s biography are as of January 21, 2016. -5-

Dr. John Elstrott, 67, has served as the Chairman of the Board since 2009 and has served as a director of the Company since 1995, serving as Lead Director from 2001 to 2009. Dr. Elstrott is an Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship and the founding director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, which he started in 1991. Dr. Elstrott served as a director and member of the audit, compensation and nominating and governance committees of the board of directors of Stewart Enterprises, Inc. from April 2011 to December 2013; Dr. Elstrott served as Stewart’s lead independent director from January 2012 to December 2013. Dr. Elstrott has a PhD in Economics and significant business experience, including over 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur and investor. Dr. Elstrott brings to our Board of Directors leadership, financial and risk assessment experience as well as his entrepreneurial experience and history with the Company. Shahid (Hass) Hassan, 67, has served as a director of the Company since 2005. Mr. Hassan has been a General Partner of Greenmont Capital, an investment firm, since 2006. Mr. Hassan was a co-founder, President and CEO of Alfalfa’s Market and President of Wild Oats Marketplace and founded Fresh & Wild, Ltd., an organic food retailer in the United Kingdom, in 1999. Mr. Hassan served as President and Executive Chairman of Fresh & Wild from 1999 until 2004, when it was acquired by the Company. Mr. Hassan has over 35 years of experience in the retail grocery business in both public company and private company settings. Mr. Hassan brings to our Board of Directors financial and risk assessment experience as well as his grocery retail, entrepreneurial and leadership experience and history with the Company. Stephanie Kugelman, 68, has served as a director of the Company since November 2008. Ms. Kugelman serves as a principal of A.S.O., A Second Opinion, a strategy and branding consultancy she founded in 2007, and since January 2015 as Vice Chairman at Solera Capital, a private equity firm. She was previously Vice Chairman and Chief Strategic Officer of Young & Rubicam Brands, a worldwide marketing communications company, where she held positions of increasing responsibility commencing in 1971. Ms. Kugelman also serves on the board of directors of HSNi. Ms. Kugelman brings to our Board of Directors entrepreneurial, leadership, financial and risk assessment experience as well as her marketing strategy and branding experience. John Mackey, 62, co-founder of the Company, has served as Co-Chief Executive Officer since May 2010, was the Chief Executive Officer from 1978 to May 2010 and was President from 2001 to 2004. Mr. Mackey has served as a director of the Company since 1978 and served as Chairman of the Board from 1978 through December 2009. Mr. Mackey brings to our Board of Directors financial and risk assessment experience as well as his grocery retail, entrepreneurial and leadership experience and history with the Company. Walter Robb, 62, has served as Co-Chief Executive Officer since May 2010. Mr. Robb also served as the Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer from 2004 to May 2010, as Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to 2004, and as Executive Vice President from 2000 to 2001. Since joining the Company in 1991, Mr. Robb has also served as Store Team Leader and President of the Northern California Region. Mr. Robb has served as a director of the Company since May 2010. Mr. Robb also serves on the board of directors of The Container Store. Mr. Robb brings to our Board of Directors financial and risk assessment experience as well as his grocery retail, entrepreneurial and leadership experience and history with the Company. Jonathan Seiffer, 44, has served as a director of the Company since December 2008. He is a Senior Partner of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. and joined Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. in 1994. Mr. Seiffer has over 20 years of experience in investment banking and private equity. Mr. Seiffer brings to our Board of Directors investment banking, financial, leadership and risk assessment experience. Morris (Mo) Siegel, 66, has served as a director of the Company since 2003. Mr. Siegel is currently self-employed, having operated Capital Peaks Investments, an investment firm, since 2002. Mr. Siegel was the co-founder of Celestial Seasonings, Inc., serving as Chairman and CEO from 1970 until 2002. Celestial Seasonings merged with The Hain Food Group, forming The Hain Celestial Group of which Mr. Siegel served as Vice Chairman from 2000 until retiring in 2002. Mr. Siegel also served on the board of directors of Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. until September 2011. Mr. Siegel brings to our Board of

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Directors financial and risk assessment experience as well as his food products, entrepreneurial and leadership experience and history with the Company. Jonathan Sokoloff, 57, has served as a director of the Company since December 2008. He is Managing Partner of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., which he joined in 1990. Mr. Sokoloff served on the board of directors of Rite Aid Corporation until May 2011 and currently serves on the board of directors of The Container Store and Shake Shack Inc. Mr. Sokoloff brings to our Board of Directors investment banking, financial, leadership and risk assessment experience. Dr. Ralph Sorenson, 82, has served as a director of the Company since 1994. Dr. Sorenson is the Managing General Partner of the Sorenson Limited Partnership, which focuses on venture capital investments in a diverse range of entrepreneurial startups. Dr. Sorenson is President Emeritus of Babson College (1974-1981); Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the University of Colorado Business School (1992-present); former Chairman and CEO of Barry Wright Corporation, a NYSE company (1981-1989); and a former professor at the Harvard Business School (1964-1974, 1989-1992). Dr. Sorenson is a former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a Life Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of the Boston Museum of Science, Trustee Emeritus of Babson College, a member of the President’s Council of Olin College of Engineering, and a director of the Toyota Mobility Foundation. Over the years he has served on the boards of directors of more than a dozen public companies. Dr. Sorenson brings to our Board of Directors leadership, financial and risk assessment experience as well as his entrepreneurial experience and expertise and history with the Company. Gabrielle Sulzberger, 55, has served as a director of the Company since 2003. Ms. Sulzberger has served as a Principal of a diversified investment fund, Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners, LP, since its inception in October 2005. In addition, Ms. Sulzberger served as Chief Financial Officer of the Villanueva Companies, a private holding company with diverse investment interests, from 2002 through 2005. Ms. Sulzberger also serves on the boards of directors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Brixmor Property Group Inc. Ms. Sulzberger served on the board of directors of Stage Stores, Inc. until June 2015. Ms. Sulzberger brings to our Board of Directors financial, leadership and risk assessment experience as well as her entrepreneurial experience and history with the Company. William (Kip) Tindell, III, 62, has served as a director of the Company since November 2008. He co-founded The Container Store in 1978 and is its Chairman and CEO. Mr. Tindell serves as the Chairman of the Board of the National Retail Federation, and was inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame in 2006. Mr. Tindell brings to our Board of Directors financial and risk assessment experience as well as his entrepreneurial and retail leadership experience. The Nominating and Governance Committee, consisting solely of “independent directors” as defined in Rule 5605 of the NASDAQ Listing Rules, recommended the eleven directors set forth in Proposal 1 for nomination by our full Board of Directors. Based on this recommendation and each nominee’s credentials and experience outlined above, the Board of Directors has determined that each such nominee can make a significant contribution to the Board of Directors and should serve as a director of the Company. Our Board of Directors nominated such directors for election at the Annual Meeting. All nominees are currently directors, and each nominee has agreed to be named in this Proxy Statement and to serve if elected. Although we know of no reason why any of the nominees would not be able to serve, if any nominee is unavailable for election, the proxy holders may vote for another nominee proposed by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may also choose to reduce the number of directors to be elected, as permitted by our Bylaws.

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CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Corporate Governance Highlights We have long supported strong corporate governance practices. Our Board of Directors continually reviews our practices and ensures that they evolve to appropriately balance the interests of our stakeholders. Set forth below are examples of practices that demonstrate this commitment to our stakeholders. Practice

Explanation

Director Independence

We have an independent Chairman of the Board. Nine of 11 director nominees are independent. All committee members are independent. Independent directors regularly meet in executive sessions.

Practices of our Board of Directors and Our directors conduct annual self-evaluations. Committees All of our Audit Committee members are “audit committee financial experts.” We have a diversity policy that our Nominating & Governance Committee considers in selecting and recommending candidates for election. None of our directors serve on more than three public company boards. We have a director stock ownership policy in place. Shareholder Rights

Directors are elected annually. Directors must be elected by a majority vote standard in uncontested elections. An incumbent director who is not re-elected must promptly offer to resign. Our bylaws contain simple majority vote requirements. Our proxy access bylaw provides that a single shareholder or groups of up to 20 shareholders collectively owning at least 3% of our relevant voting power for at least three continuous years can include nominees in our proxy statement, up to a total number of such nominees not to exceed 20% of the number of directors then serving, subject to the eligibility, procedural and disclosure requirements set forth in the bylaws.

Shareholder Outreach

We have a strong shareholder engagement program. We engage with our shareholders to ensure that both management and the board are made aware of issues that matter most to our investors so that these issues are addressed on a timely basis. We engage regularly with our largest shareholders to hear their views on both general and company specific governance matters.

Compensation

See the “Summary of Compensation Practices for Fiscal Year 2015” section of this Proxy Statement for a discussion of our leading compensation practices.

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Directors and Committee Assignments Assuming election of all eleven nominees listed above, the following is a list of persons who will constitute the Company’s Board of Directors following the meeting, including their current committee assignments. Name Dr. John Elstrott * Hass Hassan Stephanie Kugelman John Mackey Walter Robb Jonathan Seiffer Mo Siegel Jonathan Sokoloff Dr. Ralph Sorenson Gabrielle Sulzberger Kip Tindell

Audit Committee

Compensation Committee

Nominating and Governance Committee

** ** **

* Chairman of the Board ** Chair of Committee Committees and Meetings Committees The Board of Directors maintains the following three standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee and the Nominating and Governance Committee. The members of the various committees are identified in the preceding table. The charter of each committee can be found in the “Corporate Governance” section of our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/investor-relations/corporate-governance. The duties of each committee are set forth in its charter. Audit Committee. The purpose of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibility for monitoring risks and the Company’s internal control system, overseeing the quality and integrity of the accounting, auditing and reporting practices of the Company and the audits of the Company’s financial statements, and other such duties as directed by the Board of Directors. The Committee is expected to maintain free and open communication with the independent auditors, the Director of Internal Audit and the management of the Company. In discharging this oversight role, the Committee is empowered to investigate any matter brought to its attention, with full power to retain outside counsel or other experts for this purpose. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include: (i) selecting, hiring and evaluating our independent auditor; (ii) reviewing and discussing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting; (iii) overseeing the integrity of our financial statements and monitoring our compliance with legal and regulatory requirements as they relate to financial statements or accounting matters; (iv) overseeing internal auditing processes; (v) reviewing with management our audited financial statements, earnings announcements, regulatory filings and other public announcements regarding our results of operations; (vi) inquiring about significant risks, reviewing our risk assessment and management policies, and assessing steps taken to control these risks; (vii) establishing procedures for receipt, retention and treatment of complaints regarding accounting, internal accounting controls and auditing matters; and (viii) overseeing and reviewing the Company’s internal audit function.

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The Board of Directors has determined that all Audit Committee members are “audit committee financial experts” under the regulations promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Board of Directors has also determined that each of the directors serving on our Audit Committee is “independent” within the meaning of the applicable rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the NASDAQ Listing Rules. Compensation Committee. The purpose of the Compensation Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in carrying out its responsibilities with respect to overseeing the Company’s compensation policies and practices, review and approve annual compensation and compensation procedures for the Company’s executive officers, and oversee and recommend director compensation to the Board of Directors. The Compensation Committee’s responsibilities include: (i) overseeing the Company’s overall compensation structure, policies and programs, and assessing whether the Company’s compensation structure establishes appropriate incentives for management and employees; (ii) making recommendations to the Board of Directors with respect to, and administering, the Company’s incentive compensation and equity-based compensation plans, including the Company’s stock option plans and team member stock purchase plan; (iii) reviewing and approving compensation procedures for the Company’s executive officers; (iv) recommending to the independent directors for approval the compensation of the Co-Chief Executive Officers based on relevant corporate goals and objectives and the Board of Directors’ performance evaluation of the Co-Chief Executive Officers; (v) reviewing and approving the compensation of executive officers other than the Co-Chief Executive Officers; (vi) reviewing and recommending to the Board of Directors employment and retention agreements and severance arrangements for executive officers, including change-in-control provisions, plans or agreements; (vii) annually reviewing the compensation of directors for service on the Board of Directors and its committees and recommending changes in compensation to the Board of Directors; (viii) monitoring directors’ compliance with the Company’s stock ownership guidelines; (ix) at least annually, reviewing and assessing the adequacy of the charter and participating in an evaluation of the Committee; (x) and working with Company management to address any conflict of interest with any compensation adviser engaged by the Compensation Committee. The Compensation Committee Charter does not provide for any delegation of these duties. Regarding most compensation matters, including executive and director compensation, the Company’s executive team provides recommendations to the Compensation Committee. The Board of Directors has determined that each of the directors serving on our Compensation Committee is “independent” within the meaning of the applicable rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the NASDAQ Listing Rules. Neither the Compensation Committee nor Company management engaged any outside consultants regarding fiscal year 2015 executive compensation. Nominating and Governance Committee. The Nominating and Governance Committee’s purpose is to monitor and oversee matters of corporate governance, including the evaluation of the Board of Directors’ performance and processes and the “independence” of directors, and select, evaluate and recommend to the Board of Directors qualified candidates for election or appointment to the Board of Directors. The Nominating and Governance Committee identifies director candidates through recommendations made by members of the Board of Directors, management, shareholders and others, including the possibility of a search firm. At a minimum, a Board of Directors nominee should have significant management or leadership experience which is relevant to the Company’s business, as well as personal and professional integrity. The Board of Directors believes it is in the best interest of the Company and its shareholders to identify and select highly qualified candidates to serve as directors and for the Board of Directors to be comprised of a diverse group of individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives. Recommendations are developed based on the nominee’s knowledge and experience in a variety of fields, and research conducted by the Company’s staff at the Nominating and Governance Committee’s direction. In addition, the Nominating and Governance Committee considers the Company’s Corporate Governance Principles’ provisions on diversity when reviewing director - 10 -

candidates and recommending candidates to the Board for election. The Corporate Governance Principles provide that, in performing candidate review responsibilities, the Nominating and Governance Committee should (i) ensure that candidates with a diversity of ethnicity and gender are included in each pool of candidates from which Board nominees are chosen; (ii) seek diverse candidates by ensuring director searches include nominees from both non-executive corporate positions and non-traditional environments; and (iii) review periodically the composition of the Board to ensure it reflects the knowledge, experience, skills and diversity required for the Board to fulfill its duties. Any shareholder recommendation should be directed to the attention of the Company Secretary and should include the candidate’s name, home and business contact information, detailed biographical data, relevant qualifications for Board of Directors membership, information regarding any relationships between the candidate and the Company within the last three years, and a written indication by the recommended candidate of his or her willingness to serve. In determining whether to nominate a candidate, whether from an internally generated or shareholder recommendation, the Nominating and Governance Committee will consider the current composition and capabilities of serving board members, as well as additional capabilities considered necessary or desirable in light of existing and future Company needs. The Nominating and Governance Committee also exercises its independent business judgment and discretion in evaluating the suitability of any recommended candidate for nomination. The Board of Directors has determined that each of the directors serving on our Nominating and Governance Committee is “independent” within the meaning of the applicable NASDAQ Listing Rules. Fiscal Year 2015 Meetings During fiscal year 2015, the Board of Directors and the various committees held the following number of meetings: Board of Directors, seven meetings; Audit Committee, nine meetings; Compensation Committee, three meetings; and Nominating and Governance Committee, three meetings. No director attended fewer than 75% of the meetings of the Board of Directors (and any committees thereof) that he or she was required to attend. It is a policy of the Board of Directors to encourage directors to attend each Annual Meeting of Shareholders. All members of the Board of Directors attended the Company’s 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Board Oversight of Enterprise Risk Risk management is primarily the responsibility of the Company’s management team. However, our Board of Directors oversees the management team’s assessment of the material risks faced by the Company at both the full Board of Directors level and at the committee level. In accordance with our Audit Committee charter, the Audit Committee is responsible for assisting the Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibility for monitoring Company risk and the Company’s internal control system and for assisting the Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibility for oversight of the quality and integrity of the accounting, auditing and reporting practices of the Company. To assist the Audit Committee in assessing the Company’s approach to risk management, the management team prepares a list of what it perceives to be the most significant risks facing the Company, along with a statement reflecting any associated action the Company is taking to mitigate each type of risk. The Audit Committee reports on risk to the full Board of Directors as necessary. In addition, each quarterly board report from management addresses matters of particular importance or concern including any significant areas of risk that require Board of Directors and/or committee attention. Throughout the year the Board of Directors and committees receive a variety of management presentations on different business topics that include discussion of associated significant risks.

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Risk Considerations in our Compensation Programs As part of our regular review of compensation practices, management conducted a comprehensive review of our compensation policies and practices for all team members for fiscal year 2015 in order to determine whether risks arising from any of those policies and practices are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company. Management’s conclusion was presented to and discussed with the Compensation Committee. In its review, management analyzed each of our compensation policies and practices, including any potential risks arising from the policies and practices and factors that mitigate risk. Based on its review, management concluded that the Company does not have compensation policies or practices that create risks that are reasonably likely to have a material effect on the Company. Factors that management believes mitigate risks include the following: • • • • • • • • • • • •

As a food retailer, we are not engaged in activities that present a high risk related to our team member compensation relative to other businesses; Our executives’ compensation mix of base salary and short-term and long-term incentives provides compensation opportunities measured by a variety of time horizons to balance our short-term and long-term strategic goals; The relationship between the incremental achievement levels and corresponding payouts in our incentive plans is appropriate; Our incentive bonus payouts are effectively “capped” due to our salary cap; Our bonuses for our executive officers and the rest of our leadership network employ a reasonable mix of performance metrics and are not concentrated on a single metric; Criteria for payments to our executive officers and the rest of our leadership network under our annual bonus are closely aligned with our strategic goals and shareholder interests; Payout curves are reasonable and do not contain steep “cliffs” that might encourage unreasonable short-term business decisions to achieve payment thresholds; For our executive officers and the rest of our leadership network, a significant portion of variable pay is delivered through long-term incentives which carry vesting schedules over multiple years; Equity awards for team members are subject to service-based vesting schedules over multiple years; Our Code of Business Conduct, our internal controls and other measures implemented by us help mitigate risk; We have a recoupment policy for our executive officers with respect to financial restatements; and We have a policy against hedging and pledging arrangements by Section 16 officers entered into after January 24, 2013.

Leadership Structure The Company currently separates the roles of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. These roles were previously combined, with all of the powers traditionally granted to a Chairman of the Board instead held by our lead director. However, in multiple years, shareholder activist groups focused on the Company in an attempt to have our shareholders vote to separate the roles of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Although our shareholders declined to separate these roles, to avoid unnecessary distraction and protect the Company’s corporate governance profile, Mr. Mackey voluntarily gave up the Chairman of the Board title, effective December 2009. The Company is currently fortunate to be able to draw on the talents and visionary skills of its Co-Chief Executive Officers, John Mackey and Walter Robb, and its Chairman of the Board, Dr. John Elstrott. Given the above facts, we currently believe that a structure which separates the roles of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer is in the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders. Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation The following individuals served as members of our Board of Directors’ Compensation Committee during fiscal year 2015: Mo Siegel (Chair), Jonathan Sokoloff, Dr. Ralph Sorenson and Gabrielle Sulzberger. No member of the Compensation - 12 -

Committee has served as one of our officers or employees at any time. During fiscal year 2015, none of our executive officers served as a member of the compensation committee of any other company that had an executive officer serving as a member of our Board of Directors or our Compensation Committee. During fiscal year 2015, none of our executive officers served as a member of the board of directors of any other company that had an executive officer serving as a member of our Board of Directors’ Compensation Committee. Code of Business Conduct The Company expects all of its team members and directors to act in accordance with the highest standards of personal and professional integrity at all times, and to comply with the Company’s policies and procedures and all laws, rules and regulations of any applicable international, federal, provincial, state or local government. The Board of Directors has adopted a Code of Business Conduct, which is posted on the Company’s website at http://assets.wholefoodsmarket.com/www/company-info/investor-relations/corporategovernance/CodeofBusinessConduct2015.pdf. The Code of Business Conduct applies to the Company’s principal executive officers, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer, controller and other persons who perform similar functions for the Company, in addition to the corporate directors and employees of the Company. DIRECTOR COMPENSATION Director Compensation Program for Fiscal Year 2015 For fiscal year 2015, each of our non-employee directors received the following: a $9,945 quarterly retainer; $7,317 for each Board of Directors’ meeting attended in person; $1,340 for each Committee meeting attended in person in conjunction with a Board of Directors meeting; $5,361 for each Committee meeting attended in person apart from a Board of Directors meeting; $1,787 for each Board of Directors/Committee meeting greater than two hours in length attended by telephone in which a majority of directors/committee members participated; $1,340 for each Board of Directors/Committee meeting between one and two hours in length attended by telephone in which a majority of directors/committee members participated; and $671 for each Board of Directors/Committee meeting between fifteen minutes and one hour in length attended by telephone in which a majority of directors/committee members participated. Each quarter a retainer was paid to the Chairman of the Board in the amount of $11,374. Finally, each quarter the Board of Directors Committee Chairs received the following retainers: $4,259 for the Audit Committee Chair; $2,233 for the Compensation Committee Chair; and $2,233 for the Nominating and Governance Committee Chair. We strive to promote an ownership mentality among key leadership and our Board of Directors. Our Corporate Governance Principles provide that it is the policy of the Board of Directors to encourage each director to maintain a stock ownership investment in the Company equal to the estimated cash compensation received by each such director for the first full year of service on the Board of Directors. As of December 4, 2015, all directors were in compliance with this policy. See the “Other Information – Beneficial Ownership” section of this Proxy Statement for information regarding the Company ownership interests of each member of our Board of Directors. The members of our Board of Directors receive regular grants of options and restricted stock. Options and restricted stock become exercisable in four equal installments (or three equal installments for restricted stock granted November 16, 2011) each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date.

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Director Compensation Table for Fiscal Year 2015 The following table provides compensation information for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015 for each non-employee member of our Board of Directors. The Summary Compensation Table in the “Executive Compensation” section of this Proxy Statement contains compensation disclosure for Mr. Mackey and Mr. Robb, who are also executive officers of the Company. Neither Mr. Mackey nor Mr. Robb receives any compensation for serving as a member of the Board of Directors. Fees Earned or Paid in Cash Dr. John Elstrott

Stock Awards

Option Awards

All Other Compensation

(1)

(2)

(3)

Total

$ 141,384

$ 117,979

$ 140,992

$ 2,519

$ 402,874

Hass Hassan

94,546

117,979

140,992

2,519

356,036

Stephanie Kugelman

95,217

117,979

140,992

2,519

356,707

Jonathan Seiffer

95,888

117,979

140,992

2,474

357,333

104,149

117,979

140,992

3,664

366,784

Jonathan Sokoloff

87,252

117,979

140,992

2,474

348,697

Dr. Ralph Sorenson

102,827

117,979

140,992

3,638

365,436

Gabrielle Sulzberger

112,924

117,979

140,992

2,519

374,414

82,577

117,979

140,992

2,519

344,067

Mo Siegel

Kip Tindell (1)

Amounts represent the grant date fair value of stock awards granted in fiscal year 2015. See Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements in the Company’s Annual Report for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015 regarding assumptions underlying the valuation of equity awards. The total number of shares granted to each specified director during fiscal year 2015 was 2,269. At fiscal year end the aggregate number of stock awards outstanding for each director was 5,204.

(2)

Amounts represent the aggregate grant date fair value of option awards granted in fiscal year 2015 (consisting of two awards valued at $114,036 and $26,956, respectively, per director). See Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements in the Company’s Annual Report for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015 regarding assumptions underlying the valuation of equity awards. The total number of options granted to each specified director during fiscal year 2015 was 8,250. At fiscal year end the aggregate number of option awards outstanding for each director was as follows: Dr. John Elstrott 48,374; Hass Hassan 41,250; Stephanie Kugelman 53,750; Jonathan Seiffer 32,250; Mo Siegel 53,750; Jonathan Sokoloff 32,250; Dr. Ralph Sorenson 52,750; Gabrielle Sulzberger 53,750; and Kip Tindell 41,250. Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. had 18,000 options outstanding which were granted in respect of Mr. Seiffer’s and Mr. Sokoloff’s service on our Board of Directors. These options may be considered beneficially owned by Mr. Seiffer and Mr. Sokoloff. (3)

Amounts represent only dividends on restricted stock paid in fiscal year 2015 for all directors other than Mo Siegel and Dr. Ralph Sorenson. For Mr. Siegel, the amount represents $2,519 in dividends on restricted stock paid in fiscal year 2015 and $1,145 in reimbursement payments for continuing board education. For Dr. Sorenson, the amount represents $2,519 in dividends on restricted stock paid in fiscal year 2015 and $1,119 in reimbursement payments for continuing board education. The Company’s policy with respect to continuing board education reimbursement is that, upon request from a director, the Company will reimburse the director for travel and meal expenses incurred during their travel for Company business, and for approved continuing board education, including related travel and meal expenses, up to $7,500 in any calendar year.

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PROPOSAL 2 – ADVISORY VOTE TO APPROVE THE COMPENSATION OF THE NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS Pursuant to Section 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, shareholders have an opportunity to cast an advisory vote to approve the compensation of our named executive officers as disclosed in this Proxy Statement. This proposal, commonly known as a “say-on-pay” proposal, gives shareholders the opportunity to approve on an advisory basis our fiscal year 2015 executive compensation programs and policies and the compensation paid to the named executive officers. At the Company’s 2011 Annual Meeting, the majority of our shareholders voted to advise us to include a say-on-pay proposal every year, and the Board of Directors determined that the Company will hold an advisory shareholder vote on the compensation of our named executive officers every year. This non-binding, advisory vote on the frequency of say-on-pay proposals must be held at least once every six years. As discussed in the following “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” section of this Proxy Statement, the primary objective of our compensation program, including our executive compensation program, is to attract and retain qualified, energetic team members who are enthusiastic about the Company’s mission and culture in order to achieve our corporate objectives and increase shareholder value. This proposal allows our shareholders to express their opinions regarding the decisions of our Compensation Committee on the prior year’s annual compensation to the named executive officers. Your advisory vote will serve as an additional tool to guide our Board of Directors and Compensation Committee in continuing to improve the alignment of the Company’s executive compensation programs with the interests of the Company and its shareholders, and is consistent with our commitment to high standards of corporate governance. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “FOR” APPROVAL OF THE FOLLOWING ADVISORY RESOLUTION: RESOLVED, that the Company’s shareholders approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation paid to the Company’s named executive officers as disclosed in this Proxy Statement pursuant to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s compensation disclosure rules, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis section, the compensation tables and the related narrative discussion. Vote Required Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on, and who vote for or against, the proposal. Because the vote on this proposal is advisory in nature, it will not affect any compensation already paid or awarded to any named executive officer and will not be binding on or overrule any decisions by the Board of Directors, and it will not create or imply any additional fiduciary duty on the part of the Board of Directors. The Compensation Committee will take into account the outcome of this advisory vote when considering future compensation arrangements for our named executive officers.

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EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION Compensation Discussion and Analysis Overview The following section explains our compensation programs, with an emphasis on the compensation of our eight executive officers, each of whom we refer as our “named executive officers” for discussion purposes in this document only: • • • • • •

John Mackey and Walter Robb, our Co-Chief Executive Officers A.C. Gallo, our President and Chief Operating Officer Glenda Flanagan, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jim Sud, our Executive Vice President of Growth and Business Development David Lannon and Ken Meyer, our Executive Vice Presidents of Operations Jason Buechel, our Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Securities and Exchange Commission rules require us to disclose the compensation of our principal executive officers (John Mackey and Walter Robb), our principal financial officer (Glenda Flanagan) and the three most highly compensated executive officers other than the principal executive officers and principal financial officer. We have included two additional executive officers in order to present compensation information for all of our executive officers. In this respect, we do not represent that these two additional executive officers referred to herein as “named executive officers” are “named executive officers” as defined by Item 402 of Regulation S-K for purposes of the federal securities laws. 2015 Shareholder Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation At our 2015 Annual Meeting, a substantial majority of our shareholders approved the compensation of our named executive officers, with approximately 95% of the votes cast in favor of our executive compensation proposal. Our Compensation Committee took this strong approval into account as one of many factors it considered in connection with the discharge of its responsibilities. Our Compensation Committee implemented one change to our executive compensation program for 2015. Historically, as a guideline, our Compensation Committee has sought to limit the total number of shares issuable under equity grants to the 32 members of the Whole Foods Leadership Network (which we refer to as “WFLN”), which includes our named executive officers, to a percentage of all shares issuable under equity grants made to all team members in such fiscal year. Prior to fiscal year 2015, this percentage was 10%. The Compensation Committee increased this percentage to 20% in fiscal year 2015 in order to increase its flexibility to determine the amount of equity to grant to the Company’s leadership, while keeping the percentage relatively low in order to continue to align our compensation philosophy with our core values. Our Compensation Committee did not implement any other changes to our executive compensation program for 2015, partly because it believed that the shareholder vote demonstrated that our shareholders support the overall design of the program.

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Summary of Compensation Practices for Fiscal Year 2015 We continually evaluate our compensation practices to ensure that they help us to achieve our compensation goals and align with our core values. Set forth below are some examples of practices that demonstrate our commitment to our goals and values. Compensation Practice

Explanation

Salary cap

As further described in the section entitled “Cash Compensation,” our compensation philosophy emphasizes internal pay equity. In this regard, we have generally limited the cash compensation of any team member (including our executive officers) to a certain multiple of the average annual wage of all full-time team members, with limited exceptions described below. For 2015, this multiple was 19 times the average annual wage.

Guideline on executive officers’ annual As a guideline, we generally seek to limit the total number of shares issuable under equity grants our stock incentive plan to the 32 members of the Whole Foods Leadership Network (which includes our executive officers) to approximately 20% of all shares issuable under equity grants made to all team members in a fiscal year. This guideline is part of our internal pay equity considerations when we set executive compensation. Recoupment policy

We adopted a recoupment policy that applies to compensation paid in fiscal year 2014 and going forward. Under the policy, our Compensation Committee may seek to recoup from our current and former named executive officers any excess incentive based cash compensation awarded as a result of an accounting restatement due to material noncompliance with financial reporting requirements under the U.S. federal securities laws. Although we may need to revise our policy depending on the final recoupment rules under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, we believe this policy is a good governance practice that would be beneficial for our Company even ahead of the final rules.

Benchmarking

While our Compensation Committee may review practices of other companies to have a point of reference when making compensation decisions, we do not “benchmark” our executive officers’ compensation so that it must equal a certain percentage of compensation awarded by other companies. We believe that such benchmarking has been a factor in the exponential growth in executive compensation that is common at other companies, and that it is not the best practice for our own Company’s stakeholders.

Pay equity among executive officers

Except as noted below, each of our executive officers generally receives the same base salary and annual bonus (before any reductions due to the salary cap) and the same size annual “leadership grant” of stock options, although we from time to time award additional equity grants which may vary in size among the executives. Our executive officers act as a team, and we believe this pay equity emphasizes their teamwork and is fair to them and our stakeholders. Effective January 1, 2007, Mr. Mackey voluntarily reduced his salary to $1 and elected to forgo any future bonus and equity awards. As Mr. Buechel became an executive officer during fiscal year 2015, his compensation differed from the other executive officers.

Egalitarian welfare benefit structure with limited perquisites

Our executive officers generally receive the same benefits that other full-time team members receive, including a team member purchase discount card and health insurance.

No Section 280G tax gross ups

We do not provide Internal Revenue Code Section 280G “golden parachute” tax gross ups.

No new hedging or pledging arrangements by executive officers

Since January 2013, our insider trading policy has prohibited our executive officers (and other Section 16 insiders) from entering into any new hedging or pledging arrangements involving our stock.

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Objectives of Our Compensation Programs Our compensation and benefit programs reflect our philosophy of egalitarianism. While the programs and individual pay levels will always reflect differences in job responsibilities, geographies and marketplace considerations, the overall structure of compensation and benefit programs should be broadly similar across the organization. The primary objective of our compensation programs, including our executive compensation program, is to attract and retain over the long term qualified and energetic team members who are enthusiastic about our mission and culture, providing them with sufficient income and other benefits to keep them focused on the Company as their employer. A further objective of our compensation programs is to reward each of our team members for their contribution to the Company. Finally, we endeavor to ensure that our compensation programs are perceived as fundamentally fair to all stakeholders. Our Compensation Committee is empowered to review and approve, or in some cases recommend for the approval of the full Board of Directors, the annual compensation and compensation procedures for our executive officers. Elements of Executive Compensation Program The elements of our executive compensation program are similar to the elements used by many companies and are as follows: 1. 2. 3.

Cash Compensation – including base salary and bonus Equity Compensation – including stock option grants and, in some years, restricted share issuances Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement

The exact base pay, bonus formulas, equity grants, cash salary cap, and agreement terms are chosen in an attempt to balance our competing objectives of fairness to all stakeholders and attracting/retaining team members who may have other attractive employment opportunities. Other than benefit hours pool balances (described below), cash compensation generally is paid as earned. Cash Compensation: What Our Compensation Program Is Designed to Reward Annual executive officer cash compensation consists of a base salary component and the incentive component discussed below. Our cash compensation program is designed to reward teamwork and each team member’s contribution to the Company. Our executive officers (other than Mr. Mackey, who voluntarily reduced his salary to $1 and elected to forgo future cash compensation and equity awards effective January 1, 2007, and Mr. Buechel, who became an executive officer during the fiscal year and whose 2015 bonus is described below) participated in our Bonus Plan in fiscal year 2015. Under this plan, in measuring the executive officers’ contribution to the Company, our Compensation Committee considers numerous factors, including the Company’s growth and financial performance through reference to the metrics set forth below and general marketplace conditions. The Bonus Plan includes qualitative and quantitative components. The qualitative bonus amount is determined at the end of each fiscal year by our Compensation Committee in its discretion, provided this amount is limited to no more than 30% of the applicable executive officer’s annual base salary. Historically, the committee has determined the quantitative and qualitative portions of the bonus for the executive officers as a group, and has not differentiated among the officers based on personal performance. In determining the qualitative bonus amount, our Compensation Committee attempts to reward specific accomplishments that are important to the long-term health of the Company. For example, the committee may consider subjective factors such as long-term strategy development, future company leader development, product differentiation plans, vendor relationships, and generally how smoothly the executive team is working together. Our Compensation Committee believes that such factors may not be reflected in a single year’s - 18 -

quantitative results. The qualitative portion of the Bonus Plan also may be used to recognize and reward the role of the executive officers in meeting other challenges that are not reflected in the quantitative bonus criteria, either because they are unanticipated or because they are due to general economic conditions. For example, if the Company’s results of operations were below expectations as a result of an unexpectedly weak U.S. economy, but the Company significantly outperformed most other food retailers and/or our own revised expectations due to the management team’s appropriate strategic adjustments, the quantitative bonus might not function as intended and the qualitative portion of the bonus would reward performance. The following five quantitative bonus criteria were selected at the beginning of the fiscal year by the Compensation Committee in its discretion, which are the same criteria used in fiscal year 2014: 1.

Comparable store sales growth – the year-over-year sales growth at existing stores, calculated on a store-by-store basis. Sales of a store are calculated on a constant currency basis and deemed to be comparable commencing in the 57th full week after the store opened or was acquired.

2.

Year-over-year improvement in earnings before interest, taxes and non-cash expenses (“EBITANCE”) – the year-overyear increase in earnings before interest, taxes and non-cash expenses. Non-cash expenses include depreciation, amortization, fixed asset impairment charges, non-cash share-based payment expenses, deferred rent and last-in, firstout (“LIFO”) charge.

3.

Return on invested capital (“ROIC”) – the result of dividing net income by average invested capital. Invested capital reflects a trailing four-quarter average.

4.

Year-over-year improvement in Economic Value Added (“EVA”) – the year-over-year increase in net operating profits after taxes minus a charge on the cost of invested capital necessary to generate those profits.

5.

Positive free cash flow – the Company’s net cash provided by operating activities minus capital expenditures.

In selecting bonus criteria, associated amounts and weightings, the Compensation Committee attempts to determine which factors will better measure the executive officers’ performance, taking into consideration the Company’s current major goals and financial forecast, as well as general economic conditions. For example, if the Company were to dramatically increase its growth plan, positive free cash flow would be negatively impacted and the Compensation Committee might choose a different amount/weighting of this metric or choose a completely different metric. For fiscal year 2015, with regard to the selected criteria, the following formulas and relative weightings were also approved at the beginning of the fiscal year by the Compensation Committee: 1.

Comparable store sales growth

$5,000 is earned for every 10 basis points of improvement, and the total is multiplied by 20% to weight this portion of the quantitative bonus amount.

2.

Year-over-year improvement in EBITANCE

For every dollar of results, $0.005 (or 0.50%) is earned, and the total is multiplied by 20% to weight this portion of the quantitative bonus amount.

3.

ROIC

$8,000 is earned for every 10 basis points of return, and the total is multiplied by 20% to weight this portion of the quantitative bonus amount.

4.

Year-over-year improvement in EVA

For every dollar of results, $0.0175 (or 1.75%) is earned, and the total is multiplied by 20% to weight this portion of the quantitative bonus amount.

5.

Positive free cash flow

For every dollar of results, $0.0015 (or 0.15%) is earned, and the total is multiplied by 20% to weight this portion of the quantitative bonus amount.

All criteria are adjusted for inflation. Comparable store sales growth, year-over-year improvement in EBITANCE, and yearover-year improvement in EVA were also adjusted in fiscal year 2013 to be on a 52-week to 52-week basis. These incentive compensation elements are designed to be attainable and collectively intended to increase the executive’s overall compensation for a fiscal year. With regard to the performance criteria selected for fiscal year 2015, all performance criteria resulted in positive dollar amounts except the performance criterion, “Year-over-year improvement in EVA.” All performance criteria that resulted in positive dollar amounts were summed to determine the quantitative bonus amount. The performance criterion that resulted in a negative dollar amount was not subtracted from or otherwise had any impact on the quantitative bonus amount. Stock price performance has not been a factor in determining annual cash compensation because - 19 -

the price of the Company’s common stock is subject to a variety of factors, many of which are outside the control of our executive officers. Mr. Buechel, who became an executive officer during the fiscal year, received $241,520 in bonus. The amount received by Mr. Buechel was prorated for prior position achievement and his current executive officer position. As Mr. Buechel will be an executive officer for all of fiscal year 2016, we expect that his bonus will be subject to the same metrics as the other executive officers for 2016. Cash Compensation: How We Choose Amounts and/or Formulas for Each Element Our Compensation Committee intends to set total executive cash compensation sufficiently high to attract and retain a strongly motivated leadership team, but not so high that it has a long-term negative impact on our other stakeholders. Each executive’s current and prior compensation is considered in setting future compensation. The incentive bonus under the Bonus Plan is included in compensation to help align the financial incentives with the financial interests of our shareholders, primarily growth and return on invested capital. The criteria used to calculate the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan were chosen because we believe they are currently the best objective measures of our overall financial performance. The smaller qualitative portion of the Bonus Plan is included to provide the committee with some level of planned discretion in granting executive bonuses. For Mr. Buechel’s fiscal year 2015 bonus, the amount received is prorated and reflects his prior position achievement and his current executive officer position. We review the compensation practices of other companies generally to better understand the market and the spectrum of compensation philosophies and options across the United States. To some extent, our compensation plan is based on the market and companies against which we compete for team members, including executives, and we must remain competitive; however, our compensation philosophy emphasizes internal pay equity and fair treatment of all stakeholders. We are committed to stakeholder equity as a principle. This principle has led us to generally limit the maximum cash compensation we pay team members in relation to any fiscal year, which we refer to as the “salary cap.” Cash payments, including base salary and amounts paid under our incentive compensation plan, fall within the scope of our salary cap.1 The salary cap is set each fiscal year by our Compensation Committee through use of a multiple of our full-time team members’ average annual wage. In reviewing the multiple for a fiscal year, our Compensation Committee looks to general marketplace conditions and the compensation levels it believes to be required to attract and retain outstanding team members. We have increased this multiple three times since the salary cap policy was first adopted approximately 29 years ago. Each of these increases was made to keep the compensation paid to our executives competitive in the marketplace.

1

Team members may take time off without pay in order to reduce their salary earned and increase the amount of bonus that can be paid within the cap. Additionally, any team member may elect to receive a cash payment in exchange for their unused paid time off at 75% of the value otherwise due, to which amount the salary cap does not apply. Employee benefits, equity awards and any other form of non-cash compensation, such as the 401(k) match, are not included in determining and applying the salary cap. The salary cap does not apply in the team member’s year of termination or retirement, at which time he or she may receive a cash payment in exchange for unused paid time off at 100% of the value otherwise due. In addition, the salary cap may not apply to compensation arrangements found in agreements related to change of control or termination of employment, nor does it apply to dividends paid on any of the Company’s common stock held by any team member. - 20 -

The following is the salary cap calculation for the past five fiscal years: Fiscal Year 2015

Average Average Hourly Wage (1) Annual Wage (2) $

19.70

$

Multiple

Salary Cap

40,976

19

$ 778,500

2014

19.16

39,853

19

757,200

2013

18.89

39,289

19

746,500

2012

18.63

38,747

19

736,200

2011

18.24

37,947

19

721,000

(1)

Average Hourly Wage is the total cash compensation of all full-time team members in a fiscal year divided by the total hours worked by all such team members in that year. (2)

Average Annual Wage is the product of the Average Hourly Wage and 2,080 hours. The Company uses 2,080 hours in the calculation as it represents the product of 40 hours per week and a 52-week year. Equity Compensation: What Our Compensation Program Is Designed to Reward As previously stated, stock price performance has not been a factor in determining annual cash compensation. However, because we believe a relationship exists between our stock price and our team members’ performance—through driving sales and improving earnings—our compensation program is designed to reward team members, including our executive officers, for positive stock price performance, through equity grants pursuant to our broad-based plan. We believe this strategy helps to more closely align the economic interest of our team members and our shareholders. All of our full-time and part-time team members are eligible to receive stock options through annual leadership grants or through service hour grants once they have accumulated 6,000 service hours (approximately three years of full-time employment). We believe that stock options are a beneficial compensation tool because they link our team members’ interests with those of our shareholders, they are well suited to broad-based grants, they are easy to understand, and team members can control the timing of their taxable event. As of 2015 fiscal year end, approximately 94% of all equity awards granted pursuant to our stock plan since its inception in 1992 have been granted to team members who are not executive officers. Except as described below, each of our executive officers receives stock option grants under the Company’s stock incentive plan. Service hour grants are allocated to each eligible team member (including our executive officers) based on the proportion of their total accumulated service hours. With respect to annual leadership grants, our Compensation Committee provides a discretionary award of a similar number of options to each executive officer. Two of our executive officers voluntarily did not receive annual leadership or service hour grants in fiscal year 2015: Mr. Mackey has elected not to receive future equity grants effective January 1, 2007, and Mr. Robb elected not to receive his annual leadership or service hour grant in fiscal year 2015. From time to time, our Compensation Committee may determine that additional equity grants, including possible restricted share issuances, are warranted in order to reward exceptional performance, motivate future strong performance, retain valuable team members and keep the Company competitive. Equity Compensation: How We Choose Amounts and/or Formulas for Each Element Our Compensation Committee does not have an exact formula for allocating between cash and non-cash compensation, and its allocation may change from year to year. In determining the amount of such awards, our Compensation Committee considers a number of factors, including historic practice such as the amount of prior grants, our recent performance, general market conditions, the need to retain and motivate team members, the pool of discretionary grants for all team members, and our philosophy of fairness to all stakeholders. - 21 -

Our Compensation Committee intends to limit the number of shares granted to all team members in any one fiscal year so that annual earnings dilution from share-based payment expense will not exceed 10%. The Company’s actual dilution from share-based payment expense for each fiscal year since 2006 has been less than 10%. Historically, as a guideline, our Compensation Committee has sought to limit the total number of shares issuable under equity grants to the 32 members of the Whole Foods Leadership Network (which we refer to as “WFLN”), which includes our named executive officers, to a percentage of all shares issuable under equity grants made to all team members in such fiscal year, which for fiscal year 2015 was 20%. The Company grants to WFLN have been under 20% of all equity grants for the fiscal year in each fiscal year since WFLN was established more than a decade ago. For fiscal year 2015, all equity grants were recommended by the executive team, and the final determination was made by our Compensation Committee after discussions among the executive team and the committee, taking into consideration: (1) our usual broad-based grants, (2) our recent performance, (3) the proportion of awards granted to WFLN, and (4) our stakeholder fairness philosophy, including the requirement to expense equity grants and our current intent to limit the number of shares granted in any one year so that annual earnings dilution from share-based payment expenses will not exceed 10%. In each fiscal year, we establish a pool of grants based on prior year grants to all team members with a growth factor. We then estimate earnings dilution from share-based payment expense (to set the dilution guideline for our Compensation Committee) and determine the portion that should be granted to WFLN. As necessary, the Compensation Committee reviews whether or not circumstances exist that suggest a deviation from our general practices. Subject to certain exceptions, we schedule equity grant dates well in advance of any actual grant. The grant date is established when our Compensation Committee approves the grant, and all key terms have been determined and are expected to be communicated to recipients within a relatively short period of time. The exercise price of each of our stock option grants is the market closing price on the grant date. Our general policy is for the primary annual grant to occur within two weeks after the official announcement of our second quarter results so that the stock option exercise price reflects a fully informed market price. At times we make grants that are in addition to the primary annual grant, including the February 2015 grants, which were approved by our Compensation Committee in December 2014 and granted when our trading window opened in February 2015 and are described below. If at the time of any planned equity grant date any member of our Board of Directors or executive team is aware of material non-public information, we would not generally make the planned grant. In such event, as soon as practical after material information is made public, our Compensation Committee generally would have a special meeting and/or otherwise take all necessary steps to authorize the delayed grant. Executives are not treated differently from other team members in the grant process. Our Compensation Committee has delegated to our executive team the power to administer, subject to and within the limitations of the express provisions of our stock incentive plan, all aspects of outstanding and future grants of equity under the plan. This delegation, however, does not include the authority to (i) determine when and how each award will be granted; what type or combination of types of awards will be granted; the time or times when an award may be exercised; the number of shares with respect to which an award will be granted to each participant; the exercise price or the purchase price for shares under an award; or the terms, performance criteria or other similar conditions, vesting periods or any restrictions for an award or any restrictions on shares acquired pursuant to an award; (ii) change the name of participant for whose benefit an award is or will be granted under the plan; (iii) accelerate or defer the vesting of any rights under an award (except that such authority exists with respect to participants other than directors and executive officers); or (iv) amend any award agreement with respect to the foregoing provisions, other than to correct any defect, omission, or inconsistency in any award agreement granted to persons who are not executive officers. On December 23, 2014, our Compensation Committee awarded special grants of stock options and restricted stock to our executive officers (or, in the case of Jason Buechel, who was a member of WFLN but not an executive officer at that time, a special grant of stock options). Because our trading window was closed at the time, the committee determined that the grants would be made on February 13, 2015, when our trading window was open. One purpose of the grants was to reward the executives’ contributions to our Company’s performance. The other purpose of the grants was to encourage continued stability on our leadership team, which the Compensation Committee believed would help our Company’s performance in - 22 -

future years. The committee also believed that these grants were tools that would create further long-term alignment between our executives and our shareholders. Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement: What Our Compensation Program Is Designed to Reward Through use of our Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement, we reward each executive’s long-term service with the Company and set forth the terms under which the Company and each executive, other than Mr. Mackey, may agree to protect our confidential information and market position after any such executive’s employment is terminated. Through this arrangement, we also encourage our executives’ continued services in the event a change in control becomes likely and/or occurs. We believe this arrangement will protect our market position by discouraging our executives’ seeking employment with our competitors and by protecting our confidential information. In the case of a change of control, we believe the arrangement strikes a balance between incentive and executive retention without providing the benefits to an executive who continues to be employed by an acquiring company. Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement: How We Choose Amounts and/or Formulas for Each Element The elements of this arrangement were determined by generally studying the compensation arrangements of other companies within the United States, specifically non-compete agreements and change-of-control agreements. In applying these types of arrangements to the Company, our Compensation Committee considered the need to protect our market position, our current compensation programs and the need to motivate compliance with the arrangement through sufficiently high payments. This arrangement is discussed in detail under the “Potential Payments on Termination/Change of Control – 2010 Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement” section of this Proxy Statement. Tax and Certain Other Factors Considered by the Compensation Committee In structuring our compensation programs, we take into account Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m). Under Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m), a limitation is placed on tax deductions of any publicly held corporation for individual compensation to certain executives exceeding $1,000,000 in any taxable year, unless the compensation is performance-based. Although our salary cap usually causes non-performance-based compensation to be below the $1,000,000 threshold, in certain years our executives may have compensation which results in non-deductibility under Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m). Regarding most compensation matters, including the form and amount of executive and director compensation, our executive team provides recommendations to our Compensation Committee. These recommendations include recommendations with respect to changes to executive team salaries, changes to the bonus plan, annual stock option grants, restricted stock grants, discretionary bonuses, other incentive awards and the fees paid to directors. Our Compensation Committee considers a number of factors in establishing executive compensation, including executive team recommendations, general marketplace conditions and the Company’s growth and financial performance. However, the committee does not delegate any of its functions to others in setting compensation. Neither our Compensation Committee nor Company management engaged any outside consultants regarding fiscal year 2015 executive compensation.

- 23 -

Review of 2015 Compensation John Mackey Effective January 1, 2007, John Mackey, our Co-Chief Executive Officer, voluntarily reduced his salary to $1 and elected to forgo any future bonus and equity awards. In 2013, Mr. Mackey extended this election so that he would accrue no additional paid time off. For fiscal year 2015, Mr. Mackey earned $1 in base salary. Mr. Mackey will continue to receive the same noncash benefits that other full-time team members receive, including a team member purchase discount card and health insurance. Members of the Executive Team Other Than John Mackey Cash compensation. For fiscal year 2015, the Compensation Committee increased the salary of each of our named executive officers, other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel, to $486,510. For each member of the executive team other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel, the quantitative portion of the bonus was calculated to be $325,080 for fiscal year 2015. Although the Compensation Committee gave the executive team high marks for its long-term company strategy development, future company leader development and most other relevant metrics, based on the Compensation Committee’s determination that the Company’s financial performance was an overriding factor this fiscal year, no qualitative bonus was awarded for fiscal year 2015. The actual amount paid to these executive officers under the Bonus Plan was limited by the salary cap. The salary cap caused our executive officers other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel to forfeit $33,090 in cash compensation that they otherwise earned. Each member of the executive team, other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Sud, also received a matching contribution to his or her 401(k) plan in the amount of $155, which is calculated according to a formula consistent with the matching contribution available to all participating team members. Mr. Buechel, who became an executive officer during the fiscal year, received a $241,520 bonus. The amount received by Mr. Buechel was prorated for prior position achievement and his current executive officer position. Benefit hours (paid time off) bank. Our executive officers, other than Mr. Mackey, received additional compensation during the fiscal year in relation to their benefit hours in the following amounts: Mr. Robb received $72,684; Mr. Gallo received $51,398; Mr. Sud received $52,618; Mr. Lannon received $76,339; Mr. Meyer received $41,637; and Mr. Buechel received $75,048. Ms. Flanagan used 100% of her benefit hours earned during fiscal year 2015, and also used an additional $37,356 of paid time off, resulting in an “aggregate withdrawal” or “distribution” of $37,356 reflected in the associated table. Equity incentives. Each of our executive officers, other than Mr. Mackey (who voluntarily elected to forgo future equity awards) and Mr. Robb (who voluntarily elected to forgo his annual leadership and service hour grant in 2015), received a leadership grant of stock options to purchase 4,500 shares in connection with our annual grant process on May 15, 2015. Also in connection with our annual grant process, our executives other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Robb, and other than Mr. Buechel, who had not been with the Company long enough to qualify for a service hour grant, received a grant of options on May 15, 2015 based on his or her years of service with the Company in the following amounts; Mr. Gallo received options to purchase 231 shares; Ms. Flanagan received options to purchase 301 shares; Mr. Sud received options to purchase 254 shares; Mr. Lannon received options to purchase 238 shares; Mr. Meyer received options to purchase 184 shares. In addition to the annual grant of stock options, on February 13, 2015, our executive officers received special stock option and restricted stock grants in the following amounts: Mr. Robb and Mr. Gallo received 10,687 restricted shares and options to purchase 30,000 shares; and our other executive officers, other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel, received 5,344 restricted shares and options to purchase 21,000 shares. On February 13, 2015, Mr. Buechel, who was not a member of the executive team at that time, received options to purchase 4,500 shares. Additionally, Mr. Buechel received options to purchase 200 shares in May 2015 as part of a special award made to a number of team members in the Company who were selected as “All-Stars” for the year.

- 24 -

Compensation Committee Report The following Report of the Compensation Committee is not to be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent we specifically request that such information be treated as soliciting material or we specifically incorporate it by reference into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. We have reviewed and discussed with management the forgoing Compensation Discussion and Analysis to be included in this Proxy Statement for the Company’s 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, filed pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Based on the review and discussion referred to above, we recommend to the Board of Directors that the Compensation Discussion and Analysis referred to above be included in this Proxy Statement. Compensation Committee Mo Siegel (Chair) Jonathan Sokoloff Dr. Ralph Sorenson Gabrielle Sulzberger Summary Compensation Table for Fiscal Year 2015 The following table includes information concerning compensation for the one-year periods ended September 27, 2015, September 28, 2014 and September 29, 2013 in reference to our named executive officers. Cash compensation received by the named executive officer is found in the Salary, Bonus or Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation columns of this table. Total cash compensation received for each named executive officer in relation to each fiscal year is limited to the Company’s salary cap for such fiscal year, with some exceptions2, none of which have occurred in the last three years. For fiscal years 2015, 2014 and 2013, the salary cap was $778,500, $757,200 and $746,500, respectively.

2

See footnote 1 on page 20 for a discussion of salary cap exceptions. - 25 -

Fiscal Year

Salary

Bonus

Stock Awards

(1)(2)

(3)(4)

(5)

Option Awards (5)

John Mackey – Co-Chief Executive Officer 2015 $ 1 $ — $ — $ — 2014 1 — — — 2013 1 — — — Walter Robb – Co-Chief Executive Officer 2015 486,510 — 600,022 570,177 2014 472,350 59,840 1,000,013 968,161 2013 458,600 45,200 1,520,426 895,230 A.C. Gallo – President and Chief Operating Officer 2015 486,510 — 600,022 626,857 2014 472,350 59,840 1,000,013 967,817 2013 458,600 45,200 1,537,414 898,632 Glenda Flanagan – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer 2015 486,510 — 300,039 456,642 2014 472,350 59,840 500,033 695,837 2013 458,600 45,200 — 413,172 Jim Sud – Executive Vice President of Growth and Business Development 2015 486,510 — 300,039 456,079 2014 472,350 59,840 500,033 695,225 2013 458,600 45,200 — 412,277 David Lannon – Executive Vice President of Operations 2015 486,510 — 300,039 455,888 2014 472,350 59,840 500,033 695,620 2013 458,600 45,200 — 413,628 Ken Meyer – Executive Vice President of Operations 2015 486,510 — 300,039 455,241 2014 472,350 59,840 500,033 694,932 2013 458,600 45,200 — 412,698 Jason Buechel – Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer 2015 362,920 — — 202,199

Non-Equity All Other Incentive Plan Compensation Compensation $

— — —

Total

(9)

(6)(7)(8)

$

— — —

$

1 1 1

291,990 225,010 242,700

102,223 38,207 74,342

2,050,922 2,763,581 3,236,498

291,990 225,010 242,700

81,037 87,021 69,394

2,086,416 2,812,051 3,251,940

291,990 225,010 242,700

5,803 67,174 19,091

1,540,984 2,020,244 1,178,763

291,990 225,010 242,700

58,266 33,644 58,051

1,592,884 1,986,102 1,216,828

291,990 225,010 242,700

82,142 58,793 68,876

1,616,569 2,011,646 1,229,004

291,990 225,010 242,700

47,440 38,204 57,187

1,581,220 1,990,369 1,216,385

241,520

77,332

883,971

Amounts shown in the Salary column of this table for fiscal year 2015 reflect each named executive officer’s annual rate of pay.

(1)

Effective January 1, 2007, Mr. Mackey voluntarily reduced his annual salary to $1 and elected to forgo earning any future cash compensation, stock awards and/or option awards. In 2013, Mr. Mackey extended this election so that he would accrue no additional paid time off.

(2)

Under the Bonus Plan for named executive officers, excluding Mr. Mackey, and subject to the salary cap, related amounts were earned and paid to the named executive officer for the fiscal year. Based on the elements of this compensation structure and applicable disclosure rules, only the qualitative portion of the Bonus Plan compensation is disclosed in this column (see the Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation column of this table for additional compensation under the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan).

(3)

(4)

For fiscal year 2015, the Compensation Committee did not award a qualitative portion of the bonus.

Amounts represent grant date fair value. See Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements in the Company’s Annual Report for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015 regarding assumptions underlying the valuation of equity awards. The 2013 option award amount for Mr. Robb was inadvertently reported for Mr. Gallo (and vice versa) in the Company’s last two Proxy Statements, causing the “Option Awards” value to be $3,402 too high for Mr. Robb and $3,402 too low for Mr. Gallo. Those amounts have been corrected in the Summary Compensation Table of this Proxy Statement.

(5)

- 26 -

Pursuant to the bonus awarded to Mr. Buechel for fiscal year 2015 and under the Bonus Plan for named executive officers, excluding Mr. Mackey, and subject to the salary cap, related amounts were earned and paid to the named executive officer for the fiscal year. Based on the elements of this compensation structure and applicable disclosure rules, only the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan compensation is disclosed in this column (see the Bonus column of this table for additional compensation under the qualitative portion of the Bonus Plan, if any).

(6)

The amount shown in this column for each named executive officer, other than Mr. Mackey, is the total amount paid under the Bonus Plan, less the amount disclosed in the Bonus column of this table.

(7)

For fiscal year 2015, for executive officers other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel, the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan was calculated to be $325,080. The portion of the Bonus Plan bonus disclosed in this column is the actual total cash paid under the Bonus Plan (see also the Bonus column of this table) after the application of the salary cap for Mr. Robb, Mr. Gallo, Ms. Flanagan, Mr. Sud, Mr. Lannon and Mr. Meyer. Mr. Buechel, who became an executive officer during fiscal year 2015, received a $241,520 bonus. The amount received by Mr. Buechel was prorated for both his prior position achievement and his current executive officer position.

(8)

The amounts in this column related to benefit hours accumulated by the executive during the fiscal year (see the Registrant Contributions in Last Fiscal Year column of the Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Table); 401(k) match payments, which are available to all team members; and, in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, dividends on restricted stock paid in the fiscal year. For fiscal year 2015, the amounts in this column represent (i) dividends on restricted stock paid in the fiscal year in the following amounts: $29,384 for Mr. Robb, $29,484 for Mr. Gallo, $5,648 for each of Ms. Flanagan, Mr. Sud, Mr. Lannon and Mr. Meyer and $2,129 for Mr. Buechel; (ii) benefit hours accumulated by the executive during the fiscal year in the following amounts: $72,684 for Mr. Robb, $51,398 for Mr. Gallo, $52,618 for Mr. Sud, $76,339 for Mr. Lannon, $41,637 for Mr. Meyer and $75,048 for Mr. Buechel; and (iii) $155 in 401(k) match payments for each executive other than Mr. Mackey and Mr. Sud. Ms. Flanagan used 100% of the benefit hours earned during fiscal year 2015, thus the amount in this column does not reflect any increase for accumulated benefit hours. (9)

- 27 -

Grants of Plan-Based Awards for Fiscal Year 2015

Grant Date

Name

All Other Option Awards: Exercise Grant Date Fair All Other Estimated Future Payouts Under Stock Awards: Number of or Value Non-Equity Incentive Plan Awards Number of Securities Base Price of Stock Underlying Shares of of Option and Option Options Threshold Target Maximum Stock or Units Awards Awards (2)

John Mackey Walter Robb

(1)

$

— 291,990

2/13/2015 2/13/2015 A.C. Gallo

291,990 2/13/2015 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

Glenda Flanagan

(3)

(4)





— 10,687

30,000 —

56.15 —

570,177 600,022

— 10,687 —

30,000 — 4,731

56.15 — 43.08

570,177 600,022 56,680

— 5,344 —

21,000 — 4,801

56.15 — 43.08

399,124 300,039 57,519

— 5,344 —

21,000 — 4,754

56.15 — 43.08

399,124 300,039 56,955

— 5,344 —

21,000 — 4,738

56.15 — 43.08

399,124 300,039 56,764

— 5,344 —

21,000 — 4,684

56.15 — 43.08

399,124 300,039 56,117

— —

12,000

56.15 43.08

(5)

$





$

291,990 2/13/2015 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

Jim Sud

291,990 2/13/2015 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

David Lannon

291,990 2/13/2015 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

Ken Meyer

291,990 2/13/2015 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

Jason Buechel

291,990 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

4,700

156,972 45,227

(1)

Effective January 1, 2007, Mr. Mackey voluntarily reduced his salary to $1 and elected to forgo earning any future cash compensation, stock awards and/or option awards.

(2) The Bonus Plan has a qualitative discretionary component (see the Bonus column of the Summary Compensation Table) and a quantitative component which is described here. The quantitative component of the Bonus Plan does not provide for threshold or maximum payment amounts, except that the payment may be limited due to the salary cap. Specified targets under the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan are described above under the heading “Cash Compensation: What Our Compensation Program Is Designed to Reward.” Other than for Mr. Mackey and Mr. Buechel, the amount disclosed as each named executive officer’s “target” under the quantitative portion of the Bonus Plan for fiscal year 2015 is a representative amount. This disclosed figure was determined by calculating the difference between their base salary and the salary cap. Each named executive officer’s compensation under the Bonus Plan for fiscal year 2015 is subject, together with base salary, to the salary cap described in the “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” section above. Mr. Buechel became an executive officer during fiscal year 2015, thus his disclosed target tracks the targets of the other named executive officers, other than Mr. Mackey. (3)

The restricted stock vests in four equal installments each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date.

(4)

Options become exercisable in four equal installments each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date.

(5) See Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements in the Company’s Annual Report for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015 regarding assumptions underlying the valuation of equity awards.

- 28 -

Outstanding Equity Awards Value at Fiscal Year-End 2015 The following table includes certain information with respect to the value of all restricted stock and unexercised options previously awarded to the named executive officers as of the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. The number of restricted stock and options held at September 27, 2015 includes awards granted under the Whole Foods Market, Inc. 2009 Stock Incentive Plan. Option Awards

Stock Awards

Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options

Name

Grant Date

Exercisable

Shares or Units of Stock That Have Not Vested

Unexercisable

Option Exercise Price

Option Expiration Date

(1)

John Mackey Walter Robb

A.C. Gallo

Glenda Flanagan

Jim Sud

5/14/2010 5/13/2011 2/10/2012 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 2/21/2013 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/14/2010 5/14/2010 5/13/2011 2/10/2012 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 2/21/2013 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015 5/14/2010 5/14/2010 5/13/2011 2/10/2012 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015 5/14/2010 5/13/2011 2/10/2012 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

— 72,700 9,442 15,000 7,026 10,000 650 2,348 12,500 1,188 — 94 43,054 9,392 15,000 7,060 10,000 850 2,358 12,500 1,181 — — 8,842 28,000 9,450 15,000 7,030 10,000 2,348 8,750 1,187 — — 21,000 9,342 15,000 6,952 10,000 2,322 8,750 1,175 — —

Market Value

Number (2)

— — — 5,000 2,342 10,000 30,950 2,346 37,500 3,561 30,000 — — — 5,000 2,352 10,000 30,950 2,356 37,500 3,541 30,000 4,731 — 22,000 — 5,000 2,342 10,000 2,346 26,250 3,559 21,000 4,801 22,000 — 5,000 2,316 10,000 2,321 26,250 3,523 21,000 4,754

$

- 29 -

— 20.42 31.25 40.81 44.27 46.04 42.47 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 20.42 20.42 31.25 40.81 44.27 46.04 42.47 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08 20.42 20.42 31.25 40.81 44.27 46.04 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08 20.42 31.25 40.81 44.27 46.04 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08

— 5/14/2020 5/13/2018 2/10/2019 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 2/21/2020 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/14/2017 5/14/2020 5/13/2018 2/10/2019 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 2/21/2020 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/2022 5/14/2017 5/14/2020 5/13/2018 2/10/2019 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/5022 5/14/2020 5/13/2018 2/10/2019 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/2022

$



(3)

35,150

1,093,165

14,354

446,409

10,687

332,366

35,150

1,093,165

14,354

446,409

10,687

332,366

7,177

223,205

5,344

166,198

7,177

223,205

5,344

166,198

(3)

David Lannon

Ken Meyer

Jason Buechel

5/14/2010 5/13/2011 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015 5/14/2010 5/13/2011 5/11/2012 12/4/2012 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015 5/31/2013 2/14/2014 5/16/2014 2/13/2015 5/15/2015

2,200 4,702 44,568 10,000 2,360 8,750 1,183 — — 2,200 9,296 44,488 10,000 2,334 8,750 1,169 — — 27,250 5,000 1,125 — —

8,800 — 14,854 10,000 2,360 26,250 3,546 21,000 4,738 8,800 — 14,828 10,000 2,333 26,250 3,506 21,000 4,684 27,250 15,000 3,375 12,000 4,700

20.42 31.25 44.27 46.04 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08 20.42 31.25 44.27 46.04 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08 51.86 52.25 37.91 56.15 43.08

5/14/2020 5/13/2018 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/2022 5/14/2020 5/13/2018 5/11/2019 12/4/2019 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/2022 5/31/2020 2/14/2021 5/16/2021 2/13/2022 5/15/2022

7,177

223,205

5,344

166,198

7,177

223,205

5,344

166,198

3,588

111,587

Other than grants made on May 14, 2010 that expire in 2020 and the grants made on February 21, 2013, options become exercisable in four equal installments each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date. Grants made on May 14, 2010 that expire in 2020 become exercisable in nine equal installments each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date. The February 21, 2013 grant to Mr. Robb becomes exercisable as follows: the options became exercisable with respect to 650 shares on the second anniversary of the date of grant; and become exercisable with respect to 7,738 shares on each of third, fourth and fifth anniversaries of the date of grant and 7,736 shares on the sixth anniversary of the date of grant. The February 21, 2013 grant to Mr. Gallo becomes exercisable as follows: the options became exercisable with respect to 850 shares on the second anniversary of the date of grant; and become exercisable with respect to 7,738 shares on each of third, fourth and fifth anniversaries of the date of grant and 7,736 shares on the sixth anniversary of the date of grant. (1)

Other than with respect to the February 21, 2013 grant to Mr. Robb and Mr. Gallo, restricted stock vests in four equal installments each year beginning on the first anniversary of the grant date. Mr. Robb’s February 21, 2013 restricted stock grant vests as follows: 650 shares vested on the second anniversary of the date of grant; 8,788 shares vest on each of the third, fourth and fifth anniversaries of the date of grant; and 8,786 shares vest on the sixth anniversary of the date of grant. Mr. Gallo’s February 21, 2013 restricted stock grant vests as follows: 1,050 shares vested on the second anniversary of the date of grant; 8,788 shares vest on each of the third, fourth and fifth anniversaries of the date of grant; and 8,786 shares vest on the sixth anniversary of the date of grant. (2)

In February 2013, Mr. Robb and Mr. Gallo rescinded a portion of these options in the following amounts: options with respect to 67,300 shares for Mr. Robb and options with respect to 67,946 shares for Mr. Gallo. The rescinded portions are not included in the amounts shown in the table.

(3)

- 30 -

Option Exercises and Stock Vested for Fiscal Year 2015 The following table includes certain information with respect to the options exercised by the named executive officers and restricted stock awards vesting during the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. Option Awards Number of Value Shares Realized on Acquired on Exercise Exercise (1)

Name John Mackey



$

Stock Awards Number of Value Shares Realized on Acquired on Vesting Vesting





$



Walter Robb

18,300

640,979

5,435

305,519

A.C. Gallo

21,150

754,632

5,835

328,205





2,393

134,355

Jim Sud

2,232

82,417

2,393

134,355

David Lannon

4,546

164,464

2,393

134,355

11,320

407,925

2,393

134,355





1,197

67,206

Glenda Flanagan

Ken Meyer Jason Buechel

Value Realized on Exercise is calculated as the difference between the total fair market value of the shares on the date of exercise (using the closing market price on the exercise date), less the total option price paid for the shares, regardless of whether or not the shares were sold on the date of exercise, sold subsequently, or held. (1)

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation for Fiscal Year 2015 The table below provides information concerning the benefit hours related to accrued paid vacation and other personal time for each of our named executive officers during the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. Upon termination of employment, all team members are entitled to receive a lump sum payment for unused benefit hours, and in such year of termination of employment, total cash compensation received may be in excess of the salary cap. If a termination of employment had occurred as of September 27, 2015, in addition to other benefits discussed herein, each executive would have been entitled to receive the amount specified in the Aggregate Balance at Last Fiscal Year End column of this table.

Name John Mackey Walter Robb

Registrant Executive Aggregate Contributions in Earnings in Last Contributions in Last Fiscal Year Last Fiscal Year Fiscal Year

Aggregate Withdrawals Distributions

Aggregate Balance at Last Fiscal Year End

(1)

(2)

(3)

$

— —

$



$



$

456,269

— ——

——

686,520





540,777 549,899



37,356 — —





——

——



51,398

Glenda Flanagan





Jim Sud

— —

52,618

— —



72,684

A.C. Gallo

David Lannon Ken Meyer Jason Buechel

$

76,339 41,637 75,048

- 31 -

—— —

372,135 375,643 330,501 113,208

(1) Reflects the net increase in amount from last fiscal year, including: (a) any paid time off hours earned this year in excess of hours used; and (b) any increase in executives’ rates of pay during the fiscal year applied to paid time off hours earned but not yet used from prior years. Amounts reported in this column are also reported in the “All Other Compensation” column of the Summary Compensation Table. (2)

Reflects the net decrease from last fiscal year in paid time off used in excess of hours earned.

(3)

Amounts are calculated using paid time off hours earned at the executives’ 2015 rate of pay of $233.90 per hour ($214.06 per hour for Mr. Mackey, who in fiscal year 2013 elected to accrue no additional paid time off, and $174.48 per hour for Mr. Buechel), as follows: Mr. Mackey 2,132 hours paid time off; Mr. Robb 2,935 hours; Mr. Gallo 2,312 hours; Ms. Flanagan 2,351 hours; Mr. Sud 1,591 hours; Mr. Lannon 1,606 hours; Mr. Meyer 1,413 hours; and Mr. Buechel 484 hours. Amounts in this column were also reported in the “All Other Compensation” column of the Summary Compensation Table in previous fiscal years. Potential Payments on Termination/Change of Control 2010 Executive Retention Plan and Non-Compete Arrangement During fiscal year 2010, the Company entered into agreements pursuant to our Executive Retention Plan (which we refer to as the “Plan”) with Mr. Robb, Mr. Gallo, Ms. Flanagan, Mr. Sud, Mr. Lannon and Mr. Meyer. During fiscal year 2015, the Company entered into an agreement pursuant to the Plan with Mr. Buechel. In keeping with his voluntary decision to reduce his annual salary to $1 and forgo earning any future cash compensation, stock awards and options awards, John Mackey, CoChief Executive Officer, opted not to execute such agreement. Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Portion of Arrangement

Pursuant to these agreements, if at any time one of the above-named executive’s employment is terminated other than for “cause” (as defined in the Plan) and if within 45 days of such termination, the named executive signs a release and continues compliance with the confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement and other restrictions of the Plan, then the named executive will receive the following from the Company: • • •

up to a designated amount, for a maximum of five years, paid in equal semiannual installments; all stock options will vest and become immediately exercisable and remain exercisable until the earlier of the fifth anniversary of termination or the original expiration date of the stock option and all restricted stock will vest; and reimbursement by the Company of COBRA premiums paid by the named executive.

The confidentiality and non-disparagement restrictions are of unlimited duration. The non-compete and non-solicitation restrictions apply for a period of five years following the termination of the named executive’s employment. If one of the above-named executive’s (other than Walter Robb) employment is voluntarily terminated by such person for a reason other than a “good reason” (as defined in the Plan), “disability” (as defined in the Plan) or death, the benefits described in the bullets above shall not be paid, but instead are subject to future negotiation between either one of the two Co-Chief Executive Officers of the Company and the named executive except as follows. In the event either of the two CoChief Executive Officers of the Company are involuntarily terminated or if both of the Co-Chief Executive Officers die and/or otherwise terminate employment with the Company within 45 days of each other and the named executive subsequently terminates employment with the Company, the benefits described in the bullets above will be payable. In the case of the negotiation of benefits due to a voluntary termination without good reason, the semiannual non-compete payment shall not exceed $800,000 for A.C. Gallo, nor $600,000 for Glenda Flanagan or Jim Sud, nor $400,000 for David Lannon, Ken Meyer or Jason Buechel, adjusted to reflect the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index. In the case of the negotiated benefits due to a voluntary termination without good reason, as of the following dates, the amount of the semiannual non-compete payment negotiated for each executive officer, other than Mr. Robb and Mr. Buechel, shall not be - 32 -

less than the specified percentage of the maximum amount set forth in the preceding sentence: as of October 1, 2012, 20%; as of October 1, 2013, 40%; as of October 1, 2014, 60%; as of October 1, 2015, 80%; and as of October 1, 2016, 100%. In the case of the negotiated benefits due to a voluntary termination without good reason, as of the following dates, the amount of the semiannual non-compete payment negotiated for Mr. Buechel shall not be less than the specified percentage of the $400,000 maximum amount set forth above: as of October 1, 2016, 20%; as of October 1, 2017, 40%; as of October 1, 2018, 60%; as of October 1, 2019, 80%; and as of October 1, 2020, 100%. If Walter Robb’s employment is voluntarily terminated by him for a reason other than a good reason, disability or death, the benefits described in the bullets above shall not be paid, but instead are subject to future negotiation between him and the other Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Company except as follows. In the event that John Mackey dies or terminates employment with the Company for any reason and Walter Robb subsequently terminates his employment with the Company, the benefits described in the bullets above will be payable. In the case of the negotiation of benefits due to a voluntary termination without good reason, the semiannual non-compete payment, if any, shall not exceed $800,000 for Walter Robb, adjusted to reflect the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index. In the case of the negotiated benefits due to a voluntary termination without good reason, as of the following dates, the amount of the semiannual non-compete payment negotiated shall not be less than the specified percentage of the maximum amount set forth in the preceding sentence: as of October 1, 2012, 20%; as of October 1, 2013, 40%; as of October 1, 2014, 60%; as of October 1, 2015, 80%; and as of October 1, 2016, 100%. If a termination of the executive’s employment, not by the executive and other than for cause, had occurred as of September 27, 2015, and if the executive elected to comply with non-compete and other material provisions, we estimate the value of the benefits described above would have been as follows: Monthly Semiannual Accelerated Accelerated Reimbursement Payment Vesting of Stock Vesting of of COBRA Named Executive Officer Amount Options Restricted Stock Premiums (1)

Walter Robb A.C. Gallo

$

(2)

800,000 800,000

$

(3)

— —

$ 1,871,940 1,871,940

(4)

$

270 971

Glenda Flanagan

600,000

234,960

389,403

231

Jim Sud

600,000

234,960

389,403

737

David Lannon

400,000

93,984

389,403

1,100

Ken Meyer

400,000

93,984

389,403

1,100

Jason Buechel

400,000



111,587

259

(1)

Paid in equal semiannual installments for a maximum of five years, subject to executive’s continued compliance with noncompete and other material provisions of the Plan. Assuming the executive complied with such restrictions for the entire fiveyear period, the total amount payable would be: $8,000,000 for Mr. Robb; $8,000,000 for Mr. Gallo; $6,000,000 for Ms. Flanagan; $6,000,000 for Mr. Sud; $4,000,000 for Mr. Lannon; $4,000,000 for Mr. Meyer; and $4,000,000 for Mr. Buechel. The executives would receive an additional semiannual payment reflecting the increase in the Consumer Price Index between the date of the executive’s agreement under the Plan and the month preceding his or her termination date. For a September 27, 2015 termination date, each additional semiannual payment would range in amount from $14,796 to $29,592 for executive officers other than Mr. Buechel. Mr. Buechel entered into an agreement which was effective on September 26, 2015. (2)

Reflects the value of options that would accelerate and vest based upon the Company’s stock price on the last trading day of the fiscal year of $31.10 minus the exercise price of such options. (3)

Reflects the value of restricted stock that would accelerate and vest based upon the Company’s stock price on the last trading day of the fiscal year of $31.10. - 33 -

(4)

Paid monthly for a maximum of 18 months, subject to the executive’s continued compliance with non-compete and other material provisions of the Plan. Assuming the executive complied with such restrictions for the entire 18-month period, the total amount payable would be: $4,860 for Mr. Robb; $17,478 for Mr. Gallo; $4,158 for Ms. Flanagan; $13,266 for Mr. Sud; $19,800 for Mr. Lannon; $19,800 for Mr. Meyer; and $4,662 for Mr. Buechel. Change of Control Portion of Arrangement These agreements also provide that for the two-year period following a change of control: •









the named executives’ annual base salary will be at least equal to 26 times the highest bi-weekly base salary rate applicable to the named executive in the one-year period immediately preceding the month in which the change of control occurs; the named executive’s annual bonus will be calculated according to the formula used to calculate the named executive’s last annual bonus paid prior to the change of control (unless any comparable bonus under the Company’s successor plan would result in a higher payment to the named executive); the named executive will be entitled to participate in all long-term cash incentive, equity incentive, savings and retirement plans, practices, policies and programs applicable generally to similarly titled persons of the Company or affiliated companies, in each case not less favorable, in the aggregate, than the most favorable of those provided by the Company and affiliated companies for such persons under such plans, practices, policies and programs as in effect prior to the change of control or, if more favorable, those provided generally at any time after the date of the change of control; the named executive will be eligible to participate in the Company’s medical, dental, disability, life and other insurance programs, in each case not less favorable, in the aggregate, than the most favorable of those provided by the Company and affiliated companies for such persons under such programs as in effect prior to the change of control or, if more favorable, those provided generally at any time after the date of the change of control; and the named executive will receive certain other benefits consistent with those provided prior to the change of control or, if more favorable, such benefits as provided generally at any time after the date of the change of control.

If a change of control had occurred as of September 27, 2015 and the executives continued in the employ of the Company for the two-year period, we estimate the value of the benefits described above would have been as follows:

Named Executive Officer Walter Robb

$

Salary

Bonus

(1)

(2)

973,020

$

583,980

Participation in Participation in Incentive and Insurance Retirement Plans Programs $



$

6,598

Other Benefits (3)

$

5,938

A.C. Gallo

973,020

583,980



27,402

5,938

Glenda Flanagan

973,020

583,980



5,548

5,938

Jim Sud

973,020

583,980



17,398

5,938

David Lannon

973,020

583,980



31,488

5,938

Ken Meyer

973,020

583,980



31,488

5,938

Jason Buechel

973,020

483,040



6,211

5,938

(1)

Calculated as two times the current base salary.

(2)

Calculated as approximately two times the bonus amount payable under the Bonus Plan for fiscal year 2015, starting with the salary cap and deducting the fiscal year 2015 base salary amount.

- 34 -

(3) Figure represents an estimate of certain other benefits that might be provided after the date of the change of control. In addition, during such two-year period, if a named executive officer is terminated other than for cause or if a named executive officer voluntarily terminates employment with good reason (collectively an “involuntary termination”) or dies, then the named executive officer or his or her estate or beneficiaries, as applicable, will be entitled to receive from the Company a lump sum amount equal to three times the sum of (a) the executive’s annual base salary and (b) the average of the last three bonuses paid to the executive. If a change of control and involuntary termination or death of the named executive officers had occurred as of September 27, 2015, we estimate the value of this lump sum amount would have been as follows:

Lump Sum Severance Payment

Named Executive Officer

(1)

Walter Robb

$

2,324,300

A.C. Gallo

2,324,300

Glenda Flanagan

2,324,300

Jim Sud

2,324,300

David Lannon

2,324,300

Ken Meyer

2,324,300

Jason Buechel

1,852,600

(1) Payment is based on three times the sum of (a) the named executive’s annual base salary and (b) the average of the last three bonuses paid to the executive calculated by starting with the applicable salary cap in each year and deducting the executive’s annual base salary for the year.

In addition to the payments above, each of the named executive officers is entitled to a payout of his or her balance found in the Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation table in the Aggregate Balance at Last Fiscal Year End column. 1991 Retention Agreement In 1991, the Company entered into a retention agreement with Mr. Mackey. This agreement provides for certain benefits upon an involuntary termination of employment, other than for cause, after a “Triggering Event.” A Triggering Event includes (1) a merger of the Company with and into an unaffiliated corporation if the Company is not the surviving corporation or (2) the sale of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets. The benefits to be received by Mr. Mackey if his employment is terminated after a Triggering Event occurs include: receipt of a lump sum severance payment equal to the executive’s thencurrent annual salary and prior year’s bonus; continuation of life, health and disability benefits for one year after the termination of employment; and the immediate vesting of any outstanding stock options granted to such executive officer with up to six months to exercise. If a Triggering Event and an involuntary termination of employment other than for cause had occurred as of September 27, 2015, we estimate the value of the benefits under the Retention Agreement would have been as follows: Lump Sum Severance Payment

Named Executive Officer

Continuation of Insurance Benefit

Accelerated Vesting of Stock Options

(1)

John Mackey (1)

$

1

$ 7,767

$



Payment based on Mr. Mackey’s fiscal year 2015 salary of $1 plus receipt of no bonus under the Bonus Plan.

In addition to the payments above, Mr. Mackey is entitled to a payout of his balance found in the Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation table in the Aggregate Balance at Last Fiscal Year End column.

- 35 -

PROPOSAL 3 – RATIFICATION OF INDEPENDENT AUDITOR General Information The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors has appointed Ernst & Young LLP as the Company’s independent auditor for fiscal year 2016. The submission of this matter for ratification by shareholders is not required by current law, rules or regulations; however, the Board of Directors believes that such submission is consistent with best practices in corporate governance and is an opportunity for shareholders to provide direct feedback to the Board of Directors on an important issue of corporate governance. If the selection is not ratified, the Audit Committee will consider whether it is appropriate to select another independent registered public accounting firm. Even if the selection is ratified, the Audit Committee in its discretion may select a different independent registered public accounting firm at any time during the year if it determines that such a change would be in the best interests of the Company and our shareholders. Representatives of Ernst & Young will be present at the 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, will have the opportunity to make a statement at the meeting if they so desire, and will be available to respond to appropriate questions. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” THE RATIFICATION OF ERNST & YOUNG LLP AS OUR INDEPENDENT AUDITOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 25, 2016. Vote Required Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on, and who vote for or against, the proposal. Independent Public Accountants Ernst & Young LLP has served as our independent auditor since April 2001. Ernst & Young has issued its reports, included in the Company’s Form 10-K, on the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company and internal control over financial reporting for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. Our Audit Committee has appointed Ernst & Young as our independent auditor for fiscal year 2016. The following table presents aggregate fees billed to the Company for services rendered by Ernst & Young for fiscal years ended September 27, 2015 and September 28, 2014 (in thousands): 2015 2014 Audit fees $ 2,004 $ 1,600 Audit-related fees — — Tax fees — — All other fees — 51 Total $ 2,004 $ 1,651 Services rendered by Ernst & Young in connection with fees presented above were as follows: Audit Fees In fiscal years 2015 and 2014, audit fees consist of fees paid for the annual audit of the Company’s consolidated financial statements included in the Annual Report on Form 10-K and of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting, review of the Company’s consolidated financial statements included in the quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and consents and review of other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. - 36 -

Audit-Related Fees We did not engage Ernst & Young for audit-related services in fiscal year 2015 or 2014. Tax Fees We did not engage Ernst & Young for tax compliance matters in fiscal year 2015 or 2014. All Other Fees We did not engage Ernst & Young for other services in fiscal year 2015. All other fees in fiscal year 2014 consist of fees for consultations on non-financial software. Audit Committee Pre-Approval Policies and Procedures Among its other duties, the Audit Committee is responsible for appointing, setting compensation for and overseeing the work of the independent auditor. The Audit Committee has established a policy regarding pre-approval of all audit and non-audit services provided by the independent auditor. On an ongoing basis, management communicates specific projects and categories of service for which the advance approval of the Audit Committee is requested. The Audit Committee reviews these requests and advises management if the committee approves the engagement of the independent auditor. On a periodic basis, management reports to the Audit Committee regarding the actual spending for such projects and services compared to the approved amounts. All services performed by Ernst & Young for fiscal years 2015 and 2014 were approved in accordance with the Audit Committee’s pre-approval guidelines. Audit Committee Report The following Report of the Audit Committee is not to be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities Exchange Commission or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent we specifically request that such information be treated as soliciting material or we specifically incorporate it by reference into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Management of the Company is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the Company’s financial statements, the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, and procedures that are reasonably designed to assure compliance with accounting standards and applicable laws and regulations. The independent auditor, Ernst & Young, is responsible for performing an independent audit of the consolidated financial statements and of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). The Audit Committee’s responsibility is to monitor and oversee these processes on behalf of the Board of Directors. In fulfilling our oversight responsibilities, we have reviewed and discussed with management and Ernst & Young the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. We also reviewed and discussed with management and Ernst & Young the quarterly financial statements for each quarter in such fiscal year, management’s assessment of the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of September 27, 2015, Ernst & Young’s evaluation of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of that date, and audit plans and results. We have also discussed with Ernst & Young the matters required to be discussed with the independent registered public accounting firm by Auditing Standard No. 16, Communications with Audit Committees, as adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. We have received and reviewed the written disclosures and the letter from the independent registered public accounting firm required by Rule 3526 of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Communications with Audit Committees Concerning Independence. We have also considered whether the provision of specific non-audit services by the independent auditor is compatible with maintaining its independence and believe that the services provided by Ernst & Young for fiscal year 2015 were compatible with, and did not impair, its independence.

- 37 -

In reliance on the reviews and discussions referred to above, we have recommended to the Board of Directors that the financial statements referred to above be included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015. Audit Committee Gabrielle Sulzberger (Chair) Dr. John Elstrott Hass Hassan Jonathan Seiffer Mo Siegel

PROPOSAL 4 – TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF SHARES AUTHORIZED FOR ISSUANCE UNDER THE COMPANY’S TEAM MEMBER STOCK PURCHASE PLAN

In 1993, we adopted a team member stock purchase plan. In 2007, our shareholders approved an amendment and restatement of this plan, which was then renamed as the Whole Foods Market 2007 Team Member Stock Purchase Plan (the “Stock Purchase Plan”). The purpose of the Stock Purchase Plan is to provide a broad-based incentive for Team Members to acquire a proprietary interest (or increase an existing proprietary interest) in the Company through the purchase of shares of the Company’s common stock. As of September 27, 2015, there were 75,033 Team Members who were eligible to participate in the Stock Purchase Plan and approximately 8,224 Team Members who were actually participating in the Stock Purchase Plan. At September 27, 2015, 1,344,050 shares of common stock have been issued to Team Members under the Stock Purchase Plan since its adoption in 1993 and as of said date, there were 241,407 shares of common stock remaining available for issuance under the Stock Purchase Plan. Our Board of Directors has approved an amendment, subject to ratification by the shareholders at the Annual Meeting, to increase this number by an additional 1,000,000 shares. Summary of the Plan The following is a brief summary of the material features of the Stock Purchase Plan. The Stock Purchase Plan is administered by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors. The Compensation Committee has complete and absolute authority to make any and all decisions regarding the administration of the Stock Purchase Plan, including the authority to construe and interpret the Stock Purchase Plan; prescribe, amend and rescind administrative rules and procedures relating to the Plan; and perform all acts that it may deem necessary or appropriate for the administration of the Plan and to carry out the purpose of the Plan. The Stock Purchase Plan is a payroll deduction plan that permits eligible Team Members to purchase shares of common stock of the Company at a discount from the market price. Each participant determines the amount of the payroll deduction that will be applied to the purchase of common stock, with a minimum payroll deduction of $10.00. The maximum number of shares of common stock that may be purchased by a participant in any year is the number of shares having a fair market value of $25,000.00, the annual limit prescribed under Section 423 of the Internal Revenue Code. Shares are purchased on the last business day of each calendar quarter through a brokerage account maintained on behalf of the participant. The shares of common stock are purchased directly from the Company and are allocated to participant brokerage accounts at the discounted purchase price. If a participant’s employment terminates for any reason, payroll deductions under the Stock Purchase Plan are discontinued.

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The Company makes no contributions to the Stock Purchase Plan, other than making common stock available for purchase at a discount and paying the costs of administering the Stock Purchase Plan. Eligible Team Members include all common-law employees of the Company or one of its affiliates who have completed at least 400 service hours, other than seasonal Team Members, non-U.S. Team Members, Section 162(m) Covered Employees and Section 16 Insiders. Seasonal Team Members are defined, in accordance with Section 423 of the Internal Revenue Code, as Team Members who complete 5 or fewer months of employment during a plan year. Income Tax Consequences The following is a summary of the U.S. federal income tax consequences of transactions under the Plan based on current federal income tax laws. This summary is not intended to be exhaustive and does not discuss the tax consequences of a participant’s death or the provision of any income tax laws of any municipality, state or foreign country in which a participant may reside. The Stock Purchase Plan is intended to qualify as an “employee stock purchase plan” under Section 423 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Participants do not recognize income for federal income tax purposes either upon enrollment or purchase of common stock. All tax consequences are deferred until a participant sells the shares, disposes of the shares by gift, or dies. If common stock is held for more than two years after the date on which the participant is granted the option to purchase the shares and one year after the date on which the shares are purchased on behalf of the participant (the “Holding Period”), any gain realized on the sale will be treated as ordinary income taxable as compensation to the participant to the extent of the lesser of (i) 5% of the fair market value of the common stock as of the purchase date; or (ii) the actual gain (the amount by which the sale price exceeds the purchase price). All additional gain recognized upon the sale of the common stock is treated as long-term capital gain. If the participant sells, gifts or otherwise disposes of the common stock before the expiration of the Holding Period, the entire gain, if any, will be treated as ordinary income taxable as compensation to the participant. This is referred to as a “disqualifying disposition.” The Company receives a deduction from its income for federal income tax purposes to the extent the participant realizes ordinary income on a disqualifying disposition of the shares of the common stock. The Company does not receive a deduction if the participant does not sell, gift or otherwise dispose of the shares of the common stock prior to the expiration of the Holding Period. Participation by Named Executive Officers Future benefits under the Stock Purchase Plan are not currently determinable, as they will depend on the actual purchase price of shares of common stock in future offering periods, the market value of the Company’s common stock on various future dates, the amount of contributions eligible employees elect to make under the Stock Purchase Plan, and similar factors. During 2015, none of the executive officers set forth in the Summary Compensation Table above, nor any of our other executive officers, were permitted under the terms of the Stock Purchase Plan to be participants in the Stock Purchase Plan. The number of shares purchased during fiscal year 2015 under the Stock Purchase Plan by all participants was 164,849. The average discounted purchase price of a share in fiscal year 2015 was $42.76 per share. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” RATIFICATION OF THE AMENDMENT TO THE STOCK PURCHASE PLAN. Vote Required In accordance with the NASDAQ Listing Rules, approval of the proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares cast on the proposal.

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PROPOSAL 5 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING REVISIONS TO THE COMPANY’S PROXY ACCESS BYLAW We received a formal shareholder proposal. The Company will promptly provide to any shareholder the name, address and number of the Company’s voting securities held of/by the person submitting this proposal (to whom we refer as the “Proponent”) upon receiving an oral or written request from such shareholder made to Company counsel, via phone at 512542-0676, or via email at [email protected] Proponent has furnished evidence of ownership of no less than $2,000 (market value) of shares of Whole Foods Market, Inc. common stock for at least one year prior to the date the proposal was submitted. The Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement are quoted verbatim below. For the reasons set forth by the Company in the section titled Our Statement in Opposition, following the Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement, the Company disagrees with Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “AGAINST” THE ADOPTION OF THIS PROPOSAL. Vote Required Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on, and who vote for or against, this proposal.

PROPONENT’S PROPOSAL AND SUPPORTING STATEMENT Proposal 5 – Shareholder Proxy Access Revisions RESOLVED: Shareholders of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (the “Company”) ask the board of directors (the “Board”) to adopt, and present for shareholder approval, revisions to its “Proxy Access for Director Nominations” bylaw, such as the following, to ensure they meet best practices according to investors: 1.

2.

3.

4.

The number of shareholder-nominated candidates eligible to appear in proxy materials should not exceed one quarter of the directors then serving or two, whichever is greater. Having at least two nominees helps ensure that, if elected, directors can serve on multiple committees and bring an independent perspective to Board decisions. Loaned securities should be counted toward the ownership threshold if the nominating shareholder or group represents that it has the legal right to recall those securities for voting purposes, will vote the securities at the annual meeting, and will hold those securities through the date of that meeting. There should be no limitations on the number of shareholders that can aggregate their shares to achieve the 3% Required Ownership Percentage. Even if the 20 largest public pension funds were able to aggregate their shares, they would not meet the 3% criteria at most of the companies examined by the Council of Institutional Investors. There should be no prohibition of otherwise legally allowed compensation arrangements between shareholder nominees and parties other than the corporation. However, any such compensation arrangements should be disclosed.

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5.

6.

There should be no limitation on the re-nomination of shareholder nominees based on the number or percentage of votes received in any election. Such limitations do not facilitate the shareholders’ traditional state law rights and add unnecessary complexity. To the extent possible, the Board should defer decisions about the suitability of shareholder nominees to the vote of shareholders.

Supporting Statement: The SEC’s universal proxy access Rule 14a-11 (https://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2010/33-9136.pdf) was vacated after a court decision regarding the SEC’s cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, proxy access rights must be established on a company-bycompany basis. Subsequently, Proxy Access in the United States: Revisiting the Proposed SEC Rule (http://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/ccb.v2014.n9.1) a cost-benefit analysis by CFA Institute, found proxy access would “benefit both the markets and corporate boardrooms, with little cost or disruption,” raising US market capitalization by up to $140.3 billion. Public Versus Private Provision of Governance: The Case of Proxy Access (http://ssrn.com/abstract=2635695) found a 0.5 percent average increase in shareholder value for proxy access targeted firms. Proxy Access: Best Practices (http://www.cii.org/files/publications/misc/08_05_15_Best%20Practices%20-%20Proxy%20Access.pdf) by the Council of Institutional Investors, “highlights the most troublesome provisions” in recently implemented access bylaw or charter amendments. Although the Company’s board adopted a proxy access bylaw, it contains troublesome provisions that significantly impair the ability of shareholders to use it, rendering it largely unworkable. Adoption of revisions, such as those suggested in this proposal, would largely remedy that situation. Enhance shareholder value. Vote for Shareholder Proxy Access Revisions - Proposal 5 OUR STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION Our Board of Directors has carefully considered this proposal and recommends a vote against it. As discussed below, the Company has already implemented proxy access for its shareholders. Our Board of Directors believes that no further action is needed, and that the form of proxy access sought by the proponent is not in the best interest of the Company or our shareholders. Our Board of Directors has Adopted Proxy Access for the Benefit of All Shareholders. Due to the interest of our shareholders in proxy access, our Board of Directors considered various potential formulations of proxy access, including the provisions advocated by the proponent. Company representatives also solicited feedback from a number of our largest shareholders to understand what proxy access parameters are important to them. Based upon our Board of Director’s assessment of the relative advantages and disadvantages to shareholders and the Company of the various proxy access formulations, and the feedback from our shareholders, our Board of Directors amended the bylaws of the Company in June 2015 to implement proxy access in the form it believes is most meaningful and appropriate for the Company and its shareholders. Under the amended bylaws adopted by our Board of Directors, any shareholder or group of up to 20 shareholders that beneficially owns at least 3 percent of our outstanding common stock continuously for three years is permitted to nominate candidates for election to the Board of Directors and to require the Company to list such nominees along with the board’s nominees in the Company’s proxy statement. The qualifying shareholder or group of shareholders may nominate up to 20 percent of the board, rounding down to the nearest whole number of board seats, under the proxy access provisions of the bylaws.

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The Proposal’s Allowance to Nominate Up to 25 Percent of the Board Each Year May Result in Excessive Disruption to the Board and Reduce the Board’s Effectiveness. Consistent with the best practices of many other public companies that have adopted proxy access, the Company limited the maximum number of directors who could be nominated through proxy access to 20 percent of the board (2 seats on a board of 11), to ensure there could be enough shareholder-selected nominees to have a meaningful effect on the Board of Directors, without excessive disruption of the board’s continuity and operations and the balance of the knowledge, experience, skills and diversity of the board. The Nominating & Governance Committee has an important role in considering the effectiveness of our Board of Directors and in identifying nominees who possess a combination of knowledge, experience, skills and diversity required for the board to fulfill its duties. The Nominating & Governance Committee also considers whether a candidate would contribute to an effective and well-rounded and diverse board that operates openly and collaboratively and represents the best interests of all shareholders, and not just those with a special interest, including interests unrelated to long-term shareholder value. With respect to nominations through proxy access, however, the Nominating & Governance Committee is unable to consider those factors. Accordingly, the Board of Directors believes that limiting proxy candidates to 20 percent of the board will help to ensure that director turnover does not disrupt the board’s effectiveness. Further, given the current size of the Board of Directors, the existing 20 percent limitation provides for the same number of proxy nominees as does the proposal. The Proposal Places No Limit on the Number of Shareholders Who Can Assemble as a Group to Establish the Ownership Threshold Required to Make a Proxy Access Nomination, Which May Result in Excessive Administrative Burden and Expense for the Company. We believe that a reasonable limitation should be established to reduce administrative costs for the Company and help reduce the risk of abuse of proxy access rights by shareholders with a special interest, including interests unrelated to long-term shareholder value. In the absence of a reasonable limitation on the number of shareholders in a group, the Company could be required to make burdensome and time-consuming inquiries into the nature and duration of the share ownership of a large number of individuals participating in a nomination in order to verify their required share ownership, which could impede the exercise of proxy access rights by other shareholders. Our proxy access right limits the number of shareholders who can assemble as a group to 20 holders of record. Allowing a limited number of holders to act as a group strengthens the principle that we believe is shared by most of our shareholders: that the right to nominate a director using the Company’s proxy statement should be available only for those who have a sufficient financial stake in the Company to cause their interests to be aligned with the interests of our shareholders as a whole. We Have an Established Record of Best Governance Practices and are Responsive to Shareholders. In addition to the proxy access provisions in the Company’s bylaws, there are a number of other key protections currently in place for shareholders of the Company, including: • • •

Any shareholder may nominate directors pursuant to the Company’s bylaws and solicit proxies for director nominees under federal proxy rules; Any shareholder may submit proposals for consideration at the Company’s annual meeting and for inclusion in the Company’s proxy statement, subject to certain conditions and SEC rules and regulations; Each shareholder may express their views on our executive compensation program through an annual “say-on-pay” vote;

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• • • •

We have majority voting and a director resignation policy, requiring directors to offer to resign if they fail to receive a majority of votes to be elected in an uncontested election; Nine of our eleven directors are independent under NASDAQ Listing Rules; Shareholders have the right to propose director nominees to the Nominating & Governance Committee; and Shareholders have the right to communicate directly with the Board or with the independent directors serving on the Board.

For the foregoing reasons, our Board of Directors believes that our current proxy access right serves the best interests of our shareholders and that the proponent’s approach is not necessary or appropriate for the Company and recommends that shareholders vote AGAINST this proposal.

PROPOSAL 6 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING ACCELERATED VESTING OF EQUITY AWARDS UPON A CHANGE IN CONTROL We received a formal shareholder proposal. The Company will promptly provide to any shareholder the name, address and number of the Company’s voting securities held of/by the person submitting this proposal (to whom we refer as the “Proponent”) upon receiving an oral or written request from such shareholder made to Company counsel, via phone at 512542-0676, or via email at [email protected] Proponent has furnished evidence of ownership of no less than $2,000 (market value) of shares of Whole Foods Market, Inc. common stock for at least one year prior to the date the proposal was submitted. The Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement are quoted verbatim below. For the reasons set forth by the Company in the section titled Our Statement in Opposition, following the Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement, the Company disagrees with Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “AGAINST” THE ADOPTION OF THIS PROPOSAL. Vote Required Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on, and who vote for or against, this proposal.

PROPONENT’S PROPOSAL AND SUPPORTING STATEMENT Proposal 6 – Limit Accelerated Executive Pay Resolved: Shareholders ask our board of directors to adopt a policy that in the event of a change in control (as defined under any applicable employment agreement, equity incentive plan or other plan), there shall be no acceleration of vesting of any equity award granted to any senior executive, provided, however, that our board’s executive pay committee may provide in an applicable grant or purchase agreement that any unvested award will vest on a partial, pro rata basis up to the time of the senior executive’s termination, with such qualifications for an award as the committee may determine. For purposes of this Policy, “equity award” means an award granted under an equity incentive plan as defined in Item 402 of the SEC’s Regulation S-K, which addresses executive pay. This resolution shall be implemented so as not affect any contractual rights in existence on the date this proposal is adopted. - 43 -

The vesting of equity pay over a period of time is intended to promote long-term improvements in performance. The link between executive pay and long-term performance can be broken if such pay is made on an accelerated schedule. An added incentive to vote for this proposal is our Company’s clearly improvable corporate governance and performance as summarized in 2015: GMI Ratings, an independent investment research firm, said the Whole Foods board of directors did not include a fully independent Audit Committee, a serious concern for shareholders. For example Audit Committee member Shahid Hassan served as President of Fresh & Wild until Whole Foods acquired it. Our chairman, John Elstrott, with a whooping 20-years of director tenure, was also on our Audit Committee. 20-years of director tenure is arguably a red flag for a lack of independence. GMI has also flagged our board as potentially entrenched due to a high number of long-serving directors. In addition to Mr. Elstrott’s 20-years, John Mackey had 37-years and Ralph Sorenson (age 81) had 21-years. To compound the situation Mr. Sorenson was also the Chairman of our Nomination Committee. Further in regard to our Nomination Committee, shareholders might want to investigate why Nomination Committee member William Tindell received 16-times as many negative votes as Director Stephanie Kugelman who served on the same committee. In the area of executive pay GMI said unvested equity bonuses would partially or fully accelerate upon CEO termination. GMI said multiple related party transactions and other potential conflicts of interest involving our company’s board or senior managers should be reviewed in greater depth. Please vote to protect shareholder value: Limit Accelerated Executive Pay – Proposal 6

OUR STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION Our Board of Directors has considered this proposal and believes that it is contrary to the best interests of the Company and our shareholders and recommends a vote against it. Currently, our named executive officers (other than Mr. Mackey, who owns no unvested equity awards and does not receive any grants) are parties to agreements under our Executive Retention Plan that do not provide for accelerated vesting of equity upon a change in control (rather, they provide for accelerated vesting of equity upon certain types of termination of employment). We believe that adopting the abstract policy set forth in the proposal, which has little current practical significance, may be harmful to our Company and our shareholders, as it may be appropriate in some future circumstances to provide for accelerated vesting in connection with a change in control. The Current Structure of Equity Awards Aligns the Interests of Our Executive Officers and Shareholders, Encourages Stability During a Potential Change in Control, and Rewards Executives for their Performance. As we describe in more detail in the section of this Proxy Statement entitled “Executive Compensation – Compensation Discussion and Analysis,” we provide our named executive officers with employee benefits, including severance and change in control benefits. We believe that our Compensation Committee, which is composed entirely of independent directors, is in the best position to design and implement executive compensation arrangements that are appropriate for our Company and our shareholders, including the treatment of equity awards in connection with a change in control. The Proponent seeks preemptively to tie the hands of the Compensation Committee with respect to a single element of our executive compensation program. Depending on the circumstances, accelerated vesting of outstanding equity awards could be an effective way for us to retain our leadership team up to and following a change in control transaction as it could help remove some of the resulting uncertainty that may arise for the executive, including potential job loss. This protection could provide our executives with the incentive to continue to maximize the Company’s value for the shareholders up to and following the change in control. The Compensation Committee should be able to exercise its business judgment to determine - 44 -

whether, and on what conditions, the acceleration of vesting of equity awards is in the best interests of the Company and our shareholders in a particular change in control transaction. Implementing the Proposal would Significantly Limit the Company’s Ability to Attract, Retain, and Incentivize Talented Executives. We believe that most public companies do not prohibit accelerated vesting of equity awards in connection with a change in control. Accordingly, restricting the judgment of the Compensation Committee and adopting the Proponent’s one-size-fits all policy required by the proposal could place us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining key executives, particularly if a change in control transaction is pending or contemplated. Retaining key executives while a change in control transaction is pending can be particularly important, since the loss of such executives could adversely affect the Company’s business or operations if the transaction is not completed. Shareholders Have Shown Their Support for our Executive Compensation Program Our executive compensation program is designed to link executive pay with the interests of our shareholders. The alignment of our accelerated vesting practices as set forth in the Executive Retention Plan with shareholder interests is evidenced by the overwhelming shareholder approval of the Company’s current executive compensation program. For example, our advisory vote to approve executive compensation received the support of 95% of the votes cast at our 2015 annual meeting, and each of the members of the Compensation Committee received at least 97% of votes cast at that meeting. The Company’s Demonstrated Commitment to High Standards of Corporate Governance Refutes the Allegations Made in the Proposal. Although we believe many of the assertions in the Proponent’s proposal are irrelevant to the proposal itself, we want to specifically correct or add context to several inaccurate and/or misleading statements related to our commitment to corporate governance: •







The Proponent suggests that Mr. Hassan, who is a member of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, is not an independent director. This is false. Mr. Hassan, like all of our Audit Committee members, meets the NASDAQ Listing Rules’ very stringent independence requirements for audit committee members. The Proponent insinuates that Mr. Elstrott, who is also a member of the Audit Committee, is not an independent director because of the length of his director tenure. This is also false. Mr. Elstrott likewise meets the NASDAQ Listing Rules’ very stringent independence requirements for audit committee members. The Proponent implies that the director tenures of Messrs. Elstrott, Mackey and Sorenson are evidence of our “improvable corporate governance and performance.” We strongly disagree with the insinuation. Our Company is fortunate to draw upon the meaningful expertise and experience of these three directors, and their long-term focus and history with the Company benefit our shareholders. We believe that our Board of Directors is well rounded and diverse and that Messrs. Elstrott, Mackey and Sorenson play an important role in how well the board works together. The Proponent states that concerns exist about related party transactions, but fails to voice any specific concerns. Any such transaction would be reviewed and subject to the approval of the Nominating & Governance Committee of our Board of Directors.

Accordingly, our Board of Directors believes that the current structure of the Company’s executive compensation program, including the provisions related to accelerated vesting of equity incentive awards, is appropriate and effective, aligning the interests of our executives with those of the Company’s shareholders. We believe that these compensation programs are consistent with market practice and provide us with the ability to compete for, attract, retain and motivate talented executives. For the foregoing reasons, our Board of Directors believes that this proposal is not in the best interests of the Company or our shareholders and recommends that shareholders vote AGAINST this proposal.

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PROPOSAL 7 – SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING FOOD WASTE REPORTING We received a formal shareholder proposal. The Company will promptly provide to any shareholder the name, address and number of the Company’s voting securities held of/by the person submitting this proposal (to whom we refer as the “Proponent”) upon receiving an oral or written request from such shareholder made to Company counsel, via phone at 512542-0676, or via email at [email protected] Proponent has furnished evidence of ownership of no less than $2,000 (market value) of shares of Whole Foods Market, Inc. common stock for at least one year prior to the date the proposal was submitted. The Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement are quoted verbatim below. For the reasons set forth by the Company in the section titled Our Statement in Opposition, following the Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement, the Company disagrees with Proponent’s proposal and supporting statement. Board of Directors Recommendation THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “AGAINST” THE ADOPTION OF THIS PROPOSAL. Vote Required Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on, and who vote for or against, this proposal.

PROPONENT’S PROPOSAL AND SUPPORTING STATEMENT Whereas: Approximately 40% of food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, contributing to myriad social and environmental problems, and often ending up in landfills. Food decomposing in landfills emits methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times as potent as CO2. In total, approximately 4.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 23% of U.S. methane emissions result from food waste. If global food waste were a country, its emissions would be 3rd, behind only China and the United States. 25% of water and 31% of land in the U.S. is used to produce food that is wasted throughout the supply chain. Nearly 50 million Americans, including 16 million children, are food insecure; reducing food waste by just 15% could feed 25 million people every year. Food waste and loss costs Americans an estimated $165 billion per year. In 2008, the USDA estimated the value of food lost by retailers was $47 billion. Some retailers are taking action. Stop & Shop saved an estimated $100 million annually by reducing losses of perishables while providing items that were 3 days fresher on average. Price Chopper reduced bakery item losses by $2 million in one year, while increasing sales by 3%. British grocery giant Tesco established a zero waste to landfill policy in 2009. The Consumer Goods Forum has committed to halve food waste from its 400 corporate members by 2025. Whole Foods Market’s (WFM) peers, Safeway, Target, and Kroger, joined the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a collaborative industry effort to reduce food waste. California, Massachusetts and Vermont have laws requiring companies to divert food waste from landfills. These laws often apply to grocery stores, creating regulatory risk for retailers who lack comprehensive food waste plans. - 46 -

Many environmental organizations are working to address food waste which may lead to negative media attention for retailers like WFM. While WFM provides anecdotal evidence of efforts to reduce food waste in select stores and provides generalized 2010 data on waste diversion, this limited and outdated information is insufficient to understand its current approach to this issue. The company has yet to disclose a company-wide strategy or current data. Resolved: Shareholders request Whole Foods Market issue a report by August 1, 2016, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on company-wide efforts (above and beyond its existing reporting) to assess, disclose, reduce and optimally manage food waste. Supporting Statement: Items to be covered in the report can include: • Results of audits to determine the causes, quantity and destination of food waste • Estimated costs from purchasing, handling, and disposing of excess food • Estimated savings from reducing food waste • Prioritization of strategies based on EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy: source reduction, feeding people in need, feeding animals, industrial uses, composting, and landfill • Identification of additional revenue streams (and possible tax benefits) from new uses of previously wasted food • Time bound targets to reduce waste and progress towards meeting these targets.

OUR STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION Our Board of Directors has carefully considered this proposal and, in light of our Company’s track record and demonstrated commitment to lessening the impact of our business operations on the environment, including the management of food waste, believes this proposal would result in additional labor and expense that would provide limited justifiable benefit. The Company has been and remains committed to practicing and advancing various Green Mission initiatives, including diverting materials from community landfills. Unless located in a community that does not support recycling and composting, all of our stores are involved in a recycling program, and most participate in a composting program where food waste and compostable paper items are regenerated into compost. In developing these programs, we completed comprehensive waste audits to determine the sources of food waste and ways in which it can be reduced. Between our food bank partnerships, composting programs, and recycling efforts, we have achieved a waste stream diversion rate of more than 80 percent in several regions, with 14 stores receiving Zero Waste Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. We are committed to annually increasing the number of stores achieving Zero Waste Certification. As part of that commitment, as of yearend we were in the final stages of selecting a national waste service and tracking company, with plans to implement a management, tracking and reporting solution in 2016. Sustainability is a core value of the Company and our environmental commitment extends beyond food waste. In 2007, we introduced fiber packaging in many of our prepared foods departments as a compostable alternative to traditional petroleum, wood or tree-based materials. In 2008, we discontinued the use of disposable plastic grocery bags at the checkouts in all stores, and were the first national retailer to utilize Forest Stewardship Council certified paper bags originating from 100 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. We continue to actively work with our vendor partners to ensure more responsible product packaging, such as eliminating the use of Styrofoam. Additional information about our sustainability efforts is available on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission- values/core-values/sustainability-and-our-future.

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Given our existing efforts, accomplishments and reporting on sustainability, the preparation of an additional report as requested by this proposal is unnecessary as it would result in the Company incurring costs and expenses that provide limited justifiable benefit. Accordingly, our Board of Directors believes this proposal is not in our shareholders’ best interests and recommends that shareholders vote AGAINST this proposal. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS 2015 Related Party Transactions During fiscal year 2015, the Company received lease payments totaling approximately $0.5 million from BookPeople, Inc. (“BookPeople”), a retailer of books and periodicals unaffiliated with the Company. Mr. Mackey and Ms. Flanagan, executive officers of the Company, own approximately 51% and 2%, respectively, of the capital stock of BookPeople. BookPeople leases retail space from the Company at one of the Company’s Austin, Texas locations. The lease, which was entered into on December 31, 1993, provides for an aggregate annual minimum rent of approximately $0.5 million. During fiscal year 2015, the Company made purchases totaling approximately $278,000 from Willow Wood Partners One, LLC d/b/a New Barn, a company in which Ted Robb and Chris Robb, Walter Robb’s sons, have a collective ownership interest of approximately 25%. By way of background, the Company’s relationship with New Barn began from the Company’s Southern Pacific Region’s desire to sell an almond milk product with simple, quality ingredients at a desirable price point. The region believed that they found such a product from New Barn. Once this vendor was established, some other regions began purchasing this product to fill a market need. Walter Robb has no influence on the regions’ purchasing decisions with respect to the product; rather, the purchases were made in arm’s length transactions and reflect market prices. We believe that the Company currently makes up a significant portion of New Barn’s total sales. In addition, during fiscal year 2015, the Company made purchases totaling approximately $150,000 from InHouse Creative, Inc., a media production company in which Ted Robb, Walter Robb’s son, has an ownership interest of approximately 55%. Related Party Transactions in General The Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board of Directors, pursuant to its written charter, generally is charged with the responsibility of reviewing certain issues involving potential conflicts of interest, and reviewing and approving all related party transactions, including those required to be disclosed as a “related party” transaction under applicable federal securities laws. The Company’s Code of Business Conduct requires officers and directors to contact the chairperson of the Nominating and Governance Committee regarding potential conflicts of interest which would include potential related party transactions. The Nominating and Governance Committee has not adopted any specific procedures for conducting such reviews and considers each transaction in light of the specific facts and circumstances presented. However, to the extent a potential related party transaction is presented to the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Company expects that the committee would become fully informed regarding the potential transaction and the interests of the related party, and would have the opportunity to deliberate outside of the presence of the related party. The Company expects that the committee would only approve a related party transaction that was in the best interests of the Company, and further would seek to ensure that any completed related party transaction was on terms no less favorable to the Company than could be obtained in a transaction with an unaffiliated third party. Other than as described above, no transaction requiring disclosure under applicable federal securities laws occurred during fiscal year 2015 that was submitted to the Nominating and Governance Committee for approval as a “related party” transaction.

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OTHER INFORMATION Beneficial Ownership The following table presents the beneficial ownership of our voting securities for (i) each person beneficially owning more than 5% of the outstanding shares of any class of our voting securities, (ii) each director of the Company, (iii) our named executive officers, and (iv) all of our current directors and executive officers as a group. Except pursuant to applicable community property laws and except as otherwise indicated, each shareholder possesses sole voting and investment power with respect to its, his or her shares. In the case of our directors and executive officers, the ownership levels are as of December 4, 2015. In the case of shareholders owning more than 5% of our shares, the ownership levels are as of the latest Form 13G or 13G/A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as of December 4, 2015. Common Stock

BlackRock, Inc.(1) The Vanguard Group(2) Jason Buechel(3) Dr. John Elstrott(4) Glenda Flanagan(5) A.C. Gallo(6) Hass Hassan(7) Stephanie Kugelman(8) David Lannon(9) John Mackey(10) Ken Meyer(11) Walter Robb(12) Jonathan Seiffer(13) Mo Siegel(14) Jonathan Sokoloff(15) Dr. Ralph Sorenson(16) Jim Sud(17) Gabrielle Sulzberger(18) Kip Tindell(19) Including indirect beneficial ownership, all 17 directors and officers as a group(20)

Number of Shares Beneficially Owned 21,429,126 19,180,313 37,959 82,032 329,216 186,763 57,179 47,393 88,155 979,952 94,409 296,087 184,316 70,102 657,812 76,433 261,974 65,866 89,284

Percent of Class 6.53% 5.85% * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

3,586,902

1.09%

* Indicates ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Company’s common stock. Each of our executive officers and directors may be contacted at 550 Bowie Street, Austin, Texas 78703. (1)

Based upon the report on Form 13G/A, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 9, 2015. The address of BlackRock, Inc. is 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10022. The Form 13G/A reported sole voting power over 17,953,231 shares, shared voting power over none of the shares, sole dispositive power over 21,429,126 shares and shared dispositive power over none of the shares. (2)

Based upon the report on Form 13G, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 10, 2015. The address of The Vanguard Group is 100 Vanguard Blvd., Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355. The Form 13G reported sole voting power over 621,880 shares, shared voting power over none of the shares, sole dispositive power over 18,593,280 shares and shared dispositive power over 587,033 shares.

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(3)

Includes 33,375 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (4)

Includes 26,189 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (5)

Includes 90,607 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (6)

Includes 101,489 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (7)

Includes 19,065 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (8)

Includes 31,565 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (9)

Includes 73,763 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (10)

Includes 0 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. Does not include 100,000 shares beneficially owned by Mr. Mackey’s spouse for which Mr. Mackey disclaims beneficial ownership.

(11)

Includes 78,237 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. (12)

Includes 130,854 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. Includes an aggregate of 40,000 shares of common stock subject to pledge, all of which Mr. Robb pledged prior to the adoption of our current policy on hedging and pledging Company stock in accordance with the terms and conditions of a brokerage firm’s customary margin account requirements.

(13)

Includes 11,189 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days, which amount includes 2,250 exercisable stock options held by Mr. Seiffer for the benefit of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (“LGP LP”). LGP LP separately holds a total of 2,280 shares of stock and 15,750 exercisable stock options in respect of Mr. Seiffer’s and Mr. Sokoloff’s service on our Board of Directors. These shares of stock and stock options held by LGP LP might be considered beneficially owned by Mr. Seiffer and are included in the table.

(14)

Includes 31,565 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days.

(15)

Includes 11,189 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days, which amount includes 2,250 exercisable stock options held by Mr. Sokoloff for the benefit of LGP LP. Also includes 620,810 shares held by a limited liability company of which Mr. Sokoloff is the sole manager. Mr. Sokoloff owns 1% of the interests in the limited liability company, and a trust for certain of his family members owns the other 99%. These shares of stock held by the limited liability company might be considered beneficially owned by Mr. Sokoloff and are included in the table. LGP LP separately holds a total of 2,280 shares - 50 -

of stock and 15,750 exercisable stock options in respect of Mr. Sokoloff’s and Mr. Seiffer’s service on our Board of Directors. These shares of stock and stock options held by LGP LP might be considered beneficially owned by Mr. Sokoloff and are included in the table. (16)

Includes 30,565 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. Also includes 1,867 shares held by a charitable trust over which Mr. Sorenson possesses voting and investment power.

(17)

Includes 74,541 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. Includes an aggregate of 108,312 shares of common stock subject to pledge, all of which Mr. Sud pledged prior to the adoption of our current policy on hedging and pledging Company stock in accordance with the terms and conditions of a brokerage firm’s customary margin account requirements.

(18)

Includes 31,565 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days. Includes an aggregate of 12,448 shares of common stock subject to pledge, all of which Ms. Sulzberger pledged prior to the adoption of our current policy on hedging and pledging Company stock in accordance with the terms and conditions of a brokerage firm’s customary margin account requirements.

(19)

Includes 19,065 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which this individual has the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days.

(20)

The 2,280 shares of stock and 15,750 exercisable stock options held by LGP LP in respect of Mr. Sokoloff’s and Mr. Seiffer’s service on our Board of Directors have only been counted once in this row and for purposes of this footnote. Amount shown includes 0 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options and any shares of which the individuals have the right to acquire beneficial ownership within 60 days.

Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance Based solely upon a review of Forms 3, 4 and 5 furnished to the Company, the Company believes that all of its directors, officers and applicable shareholders timely filed these reports except as follows: •

Director Mo Siegel had the following late filings: (1) a sale of 10,280 shares on February 13, 2012 not reported and (2) a correction to the number of shares beneficially held to report the ownership of 958 shares not previously reported. Both (1) and (2) were disclosed on a Form 5 filed on November 12, 2015 with the SEC.



Director Stephanie Kugelman had the following late filings: (1) a gift of 400 shares on February 27, 2010 not reported and (2) nine acquisitions as a result of dividend reinvestments between July 2011 and July 2013, not previously reported, with acquisitions ranging from 8 shares to 78 shares. Both (1) and (2) were disclosed on a Form 5 filed on November 12, 2015 with the SEC.

Deadlines for Submitting Shareholder Proposals Pursuant to SEC Rule 14a-8, any proposal that a shareholder of the Company wishes to have considered in connection with the 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders must be submitted to the Corporate Secretary at our principal executive offices no later than September 23, 2016, and in accordance with related provisions of the Company’s current Bylaws. Shareholder proposals submitted for consideration at the 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders but not submitted for inclusion in our Proxy Statement for our 2017 Annual Meeting pursuant to SEC Rule 14a-8, including shareholder nominations for candidates for election as directors, generally must be delivered to the Corporate Secretary at our principal - 51 -

executive offices not later than 120 days prior to the anniversary of the date on which we mailed our proxy materials for our 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. As a result, any notice given by a shareholder pursuant to the provisions of our bylaws (other than notice pursuant to SEC Rule 14a-8 or proxy access nominations, which are discussed below) must be received no later than September 23, 2016. However, if the date of the 2017 Annual Meeting is not within 30 days of March 9, 2017, notice by the shareholder of a proposal must be received not later than the close of business on the 10th day following the day on which public announcement of the date of the 2017 Annual Meeting is made. Our Bylaws provide a proxy access right to permit a shareholder, or a group of up to 20 shareholders, owning continuously for at least three years shares of our stock representing an aggregate of at least 3% of the voting power entitled to vote in the election of directors, to nominate and include in our proxy materials director nominees constituting up to 20% of the Board of Directors, provided that the shareholder(s) and the nominee(s) satisfy the requirements in our Bylaws. Under our Bylaws, compliant notice of proxy access director nominations for the 2017 Annual Meeting must be submitted to the Corporate Secretary at our principal executive offices no earlier than August 24, 2016 and no later than September 23, 2016 in order to be timely. However, if the date of the 2017 Annual Meeting is not within 30 days of March 9, 2017, compliant notice of proxy access director nominations for the 2017 Annual Meeting must be received not later than the close of business on the 10th day following the day on which public announcement of the date of the 2017 Annual Meeting is made. Our Bylaws (and, with respect to Rule 14a-8 proposals, SEC Rule 14a-8) set forth the calculation of applicable deadlines (and certain other requirements) by which compliant notice of shareholder proposals and director nominations must be submitted in order to be timely. The summaries set forth above are qualified by our Bylaws and Rule 14a-8. Multiple Shareholders Sharing the Same Address As permitted by Securities and Exchange Commission rules, the Company will deliver only one Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials and, if applicable, a single set of annual report and other proxy materials, to multiple shareholders sharing the same address, unless the Company has received contrary instructions from one or more of the shareholders. The Company will, upon written or oral request, deliver a separate copy of the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials and, if applicable, a separate set of annual report and other proxy materials, to a shareholder at a shared address to which a single copy was delivered and will include instructions as to how the shareholder can notify the Company that the shareholder wishes to receive a separate copy in the future. Registered shareholders wishing to receive a separate Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials and, if applicable, a separate set of annual report and other proxy materials, in the future or registered shareholders sharing an address wishing to receive a single copy in the future may contact Whole Foods Market, Inc., 550 Bowie Street, Austin, TX 78703, Attention: Investor Relations Dept., Telephone: (512) 542-0204.

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