Whole Foods Market Scrubbed Its Instagram Feed to Raise Awareness for Honeybees

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Whole Foods Market used its Instagram account to raise awareness for the state of the world’s honeybees this week.

On Tuesday, the retailer deleted its archive of Instagram images, featuring only a few blank posts. After a few hours of fans working hard to guess what Whole Foods was up to (and some concluding the account had been hacked), the retailer announced Wednesday that the stunt was part of a campaign to raise awareness for the state of honeybee health.

"Better BEE-lieve it wasn’t a hack. But some of you were on to something," Whole Foods wrote in its first post since the social media wipeout.

The retailer had left some clues behind, notably a bee emoji in place of a bio. The retailer also culled a specific list of celebrities to follow, including a few punny choices like Beyonce, Cardi B, and Sting, but also Jerry Seinfeld, who voiced the main character in 2007’s “Bee Movie,” and Jon Bon Jovi, who is a beekeeper in his spare time.

In addition to the social media move, Whole Foods Market also partnered with Whole Kids Foundation for National Pollinator’s Week, which runs from June 18 to June 24, with a goal of raising $100,000 to help 50 schools install new honey beehives.

“We launched the Give Bees A Chance campaign because kids are often taught to be afraid of bees, but the role they play in our ecosystem is imperative and deserving of our respect and protection,” explains Nona Evans, president and executive director of Whole Kids Foundation. “One of the best ways we can teach kids about bees is through educational beehives at their schools, where they get an up-close look into the world of pollination.”

Whole Foods Market is now using its Instagram account to feature factoids about bees and pollinators.

Food Dive notes that this move was likely quite effective, given that Whole Foods has about 10 million followers and that Millennial shoppers "want to buy from companies that tout sustainability and support social causes."

"The campaign wisely does not try to sell consumers a product, but instead asks them to get involved in an effort the company — and likely its customers — feels strongly about," writes the outlet.

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