Whole Foods
Applegate earlier this year launched a Whole30 compliant sugar-free bacon.
KANSAS CITY — Chances are, you know someone who has done a Whole30, the wildly popular 30-day elimination diet that excludes grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and sweeteners. Since 2009, millions of people have completed the program, which was developed not as a weight loss plan but as a “short-term nutrition reset” to help individuals identify problematic foods and end unhealthy cravings.

“It’s hard for me to track how many people have done the program,” said Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 and author of four New York Times best-selling books. “We’ve sold over a million copies of the Whole30 book, we have on average 2 million unique visitors to the Whole30 web site each month, and we have a combined social media fan and following of more than 2.5 million people.”

Several food manufacturers have reformulated products to meet Whole30 standards, Hartwig told Food Business News (sister publication to MEAT+POULTRY). One is Applegate, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., which earlier this year launched a Whole30 compliant sugar-free bacon.

“They have other changes in the works that I’m not at liberty to discuss, but they’ll be reformulating products in the new year … and we’ll be rolling them out as a partner in the next couple weeks,” Hartwig said.

Whole 30
Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 and author of four New York Times best-selling books.
About 70 companies have become Whole30 Approved partners, a designation indicating some or all of a brand’s products meet the rigorous standards of the Whole30 program and may feature a Whole30 Approved label on the packaging.

 In an interview, Hartwig discussed the Whole30 Approved label — and why it matters to millions of consumers. 

Why did you launch the Whole30 Approved program?

Melissa Hartwig: Whole30 has a very specific set of rules centered around our 30-day elimination program… It kind of looks like paleo, it kind of looks like primal, it’s definitely gluten-free, it’s definitely dairy-free … but there wasn’t any sort of overarching label that we could direct our Whole30ers to, to say, “If it looks like this, it’s Whole30 compliant.”

Telling them to read every single label is a big part of the program. We want to make sure they’re educated about what’s in their food.