The story goes that after borrowing $45,000 from friends and opening their very first health food store in Austin in 1978, the Whole Foods Market® founders lived in that store for a little while, because they got evicted from their apartment for storing food in it. Today, Whole Foods Market® has one of the best brand images out there, a loyal fan base, is ranked #218 on the Fortune 500 list, and has revenues of $12.9 billion in 2013. What can I say? I wouldn’t mind living at a Whole Foods Market store for a while. 🙂
I am one of many loyal Whole Foods Market customers who want minimally processed products free of certain artificial ingredients, and don’t want foods that contain nitrates, harmful pesticides, artificial colors, antibiotics, and hormones. In this blog post, I am going to dig a little bit deeper why exactly I choose to shop at Whole Foods Market. I admire Whole Foods Market not only because of the high quality standard they set for their products, but also because I respect their values and philosophy about life.
10 Reasons why I choose to shop at Whole Foods Market:
1. Whole Foods Market sells the highest quality organic products. It's very important to me what I put in my body as food and fuel. I also care about what I feed people I love. None of us have a spare body, so we better take really good care of what we have; high quality, natural, organic food is a huge part of it. Also, Whole Foods Market will never sell you products with bleached or bromated flour. In fact, they publish a whole list of ingredients prohibited in their food.
2. Whole Foods Market educates people about healthy eating. We have to be conscious shoppers. It's worth our time to educate ourselves about all the harmful additives and chemicals we could potentially be putting in our bodies by making wrong food choices. And, that ties in with the next thing I like about Whole Foods Market: their initiatives for promoting health through healthy eating education. Their high quality organic produce speaks for itself. Whole Foods Market constantly updates their website and provides helpful links about the basics of organic foods, healthy eating, a comprehensive food guide on lots of ingredients, to name just a few. Many educational resources (recipes, cooking tips, local initiatives, etc.) are regularly posted to the Whole Foods Market Facebook page and their Twitter account.
3. Whole Foods Market cares about my needs as a customer. What initially attracted me to Whole Foods Market years ago was 1) their bulk foods section, 2) their amazing selection of cheeses, and 3) the pasta of all shapes and sizes. By offering a LARGE VARIETY OF healthy and organic products, introducing new brands that we were unaware of before, Whole Foods Market does the homework for me, the shopper, by having all types of natural and organic products in one place, and I don’t have to make a lot of stops driving from one natural store to another, one farmers market to another, or spend hours on the Internet looking for these kinds of products. Whole Foods Market also makes this whole "organic foods" shopping experience very attractive and sexy via welcoming store designs and friendly, educated staff. And, I just love their ever-expanding 365 Everyday Value brand, which offers more and more organic, natural products at amazingly affordable prices! Another Whole Foods Market resource not to overlook is their extensive recipe collection, including recipes via Pinterest and Facebook. They even publish video recipes on the Whole Foods Market YouTube channel!
4. Whole Foods Market commits to GMO labeling of all its food products by 2018. I care about whether or not my food has GMOs, and Whole Foods Market is the first national grocery chain that committed to label all food products in its US and Canadian stores to indicate whether they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by 2018 - while it's not even required by law! That will make Whole Foods Market a pioneer in GMO labeling among the national grocery chains.
5. Whole Foods Market has the highest quality standards for both farmed and wild-caught seafood. I love seafood and have quite a few fish and shellfish recipes on my blog and on a dedicated Seafood Recipes Pinterest Board. Fish is such an important part of our diets, as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the "good" fats, which are important for our cardiovascular health, for tissue inflammation, and many other health benefits. Whole Foods Market sells 2 types of seafood: wild-caught and farmed. Their wild-caught fish is rated for sustainability (taking into account overfishing or harming other marine life). Their farmed seafood standards are the highest in the industry: antibiotics, growth hormones, preservatives like sulfites and phosphates, genetically-modified seafood, and land animal by-products in feed are all prohibited.
6. All meat sold at Whole Foods Market meat counter is from animals raised without hormones and antibiotics. I like the peace of mind of knowing that the beef, poultry, or pork that I buy are from animals raised without hormones, antibiotics, and that Whole Foods Market standards prohibit animals' byproducts in the animals' feed.
7. Gluten-Free foods selection. I am gluten-free, and not only does Whole Foods Market have some of the largest gluten-free offerings, the whole idea behind Whole Foods Market (wholesome ingredients, without artificial additives), and its transparent labeling system makes it very easy for a gluten-free person to shop there not being afraid of getting “glutened.” The only other comparable stores that I shop for gluten-free products are online marketplaces. Whole Foods Market even publishes a constantly updated list online of all gluten-free products for each particular store which makes shopping even easier.
8. Whole Foods Market loves local, like I do. Whole Foods Market supports local farmers by expanding and creating new markets for organic products. It also supports local producers via loan programs.
9. Whole Foods Market supports hard-working people both in local communities and globally. Local impact. Several times a year, each Whole Foods Market store holds 5% days, where 5% of that day’s net sales goes to support local education, local hospitals, or local non-profits. Just a few quick searches, and I found that these 5% days supported children hospitals, cancer centers, parks and conservation, botanical gardens, the list goes on and on. Global Impact. I happened to have lived in and traveled to several countries with emerging economies, and I have a great deal of respect and compassion for those amazingly hard-working people. Whole Foods Market has a whole program of providing micro-credits to the people in emerging economies via their Whole Planet Foundation. In fact, the global director for this foundation, Steve Wanta, is a former Peace Corps volunteer, and he spends his time travelling extensively all over the world covering as many as 18 countries a year to help regular people develop their businesses via micro-credits. What a cool and impactful job that guy has! The foundation really makes the difference, helps real people, and many of their stories are really touching.
10. Whole Foods Market cares about environment. I believe that people, animals, nature - we are all intrinsically connected; we do not exist in a vacuum. To Whole Foods Market, it's important where the food comes from and what happens to it along the way. Whole Foods Market sets an example in its use of wind power, solar power, company-wide recycling programs, green buildings for their stores, etc. Whole Foods Market currently ranks fifth on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 50 List, as well as third on its Top 20 Retail List. For more information visit Whole Foods Market: Values Matter.