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Whole Foods

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am an avid Whole Foods shopper. I love their 365 brand of anything. It is cost effective for me to buy their brand and I think they make a good product. Any words or feedback on how others feel about them?

post #2 of 21

There's a Whole Foods 1 block from Huddler HQ, so we're in there almost every day (it has been nick-named Whole Paycheck heh)


For some reason I always feel the need to buy brands other than 365 as I'm sort of voting with my dollar. I've always been happy with the quality of the 365 stuff, but Whole Foods still makes its money even if I buy other stuff, so I'm always tempted to try to support the smallest company I can (so long as it's good after 1 try.) I guess if you're already on the shelves at Whole Foods, you're not exactly TINY anymore, but still...

post #3 of 21

The closest one to my house is about 3 hours away.  Needless to say, I don't get there very often.  When I do shop there I tend to buy the 365 brand.  I'm still having to convince my tightwad hubbie that they are worth the extra money to buy natural products.  I've always been very happy with their stuff.  The only thing that I wouldn't buy again from them is the toilet paper.  The 7th Gen brand one is a lot better in our opinion.


post #4 of 21

As Deej mentioned, we've got a Whole Foods quite close to the office.  While it's great on one hand, it's awfully easy to get carried away in there.  :-)


I like 365 for the most part (although I agree with herodrx1 that I'm really less keen on their toilet paper).  I haven't investigated very many of their cleaning products or personal care products, but I do wonder a little bit how good they are given that some of the other products on their shelves aren't the best (i.e. Nature's Gate hand soap has parabens).

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.


I think they do a great job at 365 food products, but they lack in personal/home products. I use Seventh Generation home cleaning products. And I still have a mix of personal care. I havent found a natural deoderant that I like yet. Maybe I will find some good ideas on this site about that.


I dont mind their toilet paper in the 4 packs, Ive bought the big bulk packs before and thought the quality was poor.


I also have an issue with dishwasher detergant. I loved the 365 powder, they discontinued it, since then I have used Seventh Generation and Ecoever but didnt like either of them.

post #6 of 21

 I like the 365 brand as well, they arent as pricey as just about everything else in Whole Foods. There is one down the road, but I shop there once in a blue moon. It's not in my budget to spend my paycheck on groceries.


I prefer farmers markets during the summer/fall. 

post #7 of 21

We have a Whole Foods store very close to our new apartment and we shop there at least every other week. We don't get all our groceries there though. Most things are too expensive but we do try to take advantage of sales and stock up on stuff. I prefer their 365 organic brand and the bulk section is not bad either. I checked their personal care products labels and they did have ingredients that should be avoided, so they are not that natural imo...

post #8 of 21

i like their no plastic bag policy

i don't like that they call themselves an Organic Market when their 365 brand body care items contain all kinds of crapy junk ingredients in them. That's confusing to me.

i like that they make a lot of organic food options with in the 365 brand.

i don't like how HUGE their stores are. it's a bit overwhelming to walk in and think you can make it out in 15 min or less. haha.

i wish they'd walk the walk more rather than just talk the talk.

post #9 of 21

Whole Foods has its major ups and major downs.  As a shopper and one of their vendors I'm well aware of this.

I do happen to like the fact that they carry a wide variety of options ie, some organic and gourmet and some things that are not.  After all, frequently my budget requires some compromise.  In order to afford the herbal meds I need for my migraines (which are incidentally cheaper than my prescriptions even with insurance)  I sometimes have to get the cheaper can of soup or the chips that are on sale.

1 - As with most stores it is BUYER BEWARE.  Just because it is glitzy and pretty doesn't mean you need to stop reading labels and really shopping intelligently.  Their bodycare section has the worst offending/nonnatural products, so be on the lookout and don't just fall for the cutest packaging.

2 - Be aware that they have been known to make copycat products in their 365 and other private label brands that basically steal the idea of a smaller vendor.  They also tend to prioritize shelf space for their own brands over others.  Your purchase of an independent brand item there is important to the smaller companies.

3 - there ARE plenty of very small companies that sell to Whole Foods and they all need your support if you really care about local and small business!  Whole Foods will prioritize selling what shoppers are buying, plain and simple.  They will go where the money is just like any other corporation.  If a landslide of customers comes in asking for local local local they will communicate that up the ladder to the big guys and start heading more that direction.

4 - Customers should also be aware of the way that they press their vendors - HARD - for deals.  Many people not in the wholesale naturals business may not even know but it is pretty common practice for them to ask for "Free Fill".  What is Free Fill?  It is when they want 6 of each product provided totally free of charge just to be placed on their shelves.  This is the kind of incentive they want and sometimes you can't even get carried at their store without doing this.  My business is NOT able to do this as I believe it is unfair and unjustified for them to ask me for a shelf full of product for no cost.  And that is only the tip of the iceberg. 

We are able to work with buyers at the store locations that like us and understand that we are not a $10 million per year business.  We just can't offer the same deals they can.  Some of that is just business, and I understand that.  But none of my food co-op customers EVER ask me for free fill.  That is strictly a corporate move.  Why do they ask?  Because some companies are actually willing to do this!!  How does that make you feel about paying $15 or $20 for a bodycare item knowing they may not have even paid for it?  Some of the major brands like Alba, Jason, Avalon, Zia etc are multi million dollar per year companies.  They can afford a few free fills here and there as WFM has a pretty big flow of $ coming to them, and they want to keep it that way.  I'd swear they have some kind of pact behind closed doors...


You really do vote with your dollar, especially in an economy like this one.  Those smaller companies may not exist someday without your patronage.  I'm all for supporting the best products - obviously if it sucks don't buy it, even if it is from a smaller or local company.  The key is to be Conscious about how you spend, which I think is what this movement is really all about. 


A lot of the times the smaller companies are considerably more ethical and caring about the way in which they conduct business.  My business is about more than the financial bottom line.  I spend most of my life and effort trying to live my values and bring some happiness to my customers.  Is that something Alba is going to be able to truthfully tell you?  Do they really buy the best ingredients available or are they cutting corners to make themselves more profitable?  The answer I think is pretty clear - big corporation priority = profits first, everything else second.  Me and my 3 employees are all more thankful for the support we get than any of those corporations are ever going to be.  Its about supporting real people.



Now off my soapbox.....  love!


post #10 of 21

What most people don't seem to understand is that 365 is nothing more than a brand: A label placed on a product made at the same exact facility, with the same ingredients and the same process as TONS of other "no-name" brands.


Whole Foods simply demands a premium for it because they have conditioned you to believe that their stuff is somehow better for you and the Planet. You're being taken for ride my friends ... "whole payckeck" indeed  ... LOL

Edited by petera650 - Tue, 10 Feb 2009 20:43:58 GMT
post #11 of 21

 We have a Whole Foods opening in March in Santa Cruz, but it seems almost like a food overload here!  Existing markets, Safeway, Staff of Life, Shoppers Corner, Trader Joes, Farmers Market, Costco...... to name a few!


Easier to get my imported "organic" food at Longs Drug/CVS or whatever they are called! 


Perhaps I am annoyed with the location of Whole Foods- clear across town with no charging stations for an EV.  It sounds great but with the economy doing cartwheels and a brand new Staff of Life competing with a brand new Safeway; it sure will be interesting around here!

post #12 of 21

I get my products tru my wholesale suppler.It is same products that Whole Food has only for much less.

post #13 of 21

I try to shop (when I can) by some pretty basic guidelines.  In order of importance (disregarding price, which plays a role at some times):

1. Local organically grown foods, preferably straight from the gorwer.

2. Local conventionally grown food, again preferably directly from the vendor.

3. Organic products from the US.

4. Organic products from outside the US.

5. Conventional US.

6. Conventional outside US.


I highly recommend reading "The Ominover's Dilemma" for some insight into different types of foods (organic/conventional/etc)

post #14 of 21

Whole Foods is having sort of a town-hall meeting in the Santa Cruz store Wed. :

post #15 of 21

I'm a big fan of the 365 brand, though I have seen it in other places other than Whole Foods.  If you are into Mexican food and want a treat . . . try the 365 salsas.  One word for you . . . yummy! 

post #16 of 21

 Though I like the 365 Salsa, I'm generally not impressed by the company.  Here are some articles concerning the company and some of their products.


Do the research, decide for yourself, and do what makes the most sense to you.  Unfortunately for me . . . the Evil Empire took out Wild Oats.  



Edited by Patrick Dub - 3/3/2009 at 02:13 pm
post #17 of 21

As noted above, Whole Foods opened a couple of months ago here. An unusual fruit juice was mentioned on line being available at Whole Foods, so I went for the first time to get it there.  Overwhelming!


I could just imagine dollar signs in what used to be 2 or 3 stores.  More stuff.  More packaging. More shelves.  More cashiers.  More.  More. MORE! Skinnier aisles- each shelf carefully packed to the roof.  What an eye-opener!


Safeways here are expanding in size.  New Leaf expanded and opened last month.  Sure; I found my unusual juice, and a few other edibles I enjoy but rarely found.  Great store, but WOW!


It is so hard to think of any recession- that is;  until I get home and check my receipts...

post #18 of 21


Originally Posted by counterstrike View Post

Safeways here are expanding in size.  New Leaf expanded and opened last month.  Sure; I found my unusual juice, and a few other edibles I enjoy but rarely found.  Great store, but WOW!


It is so hard to think of any recession- that is;  until I get home and check my receipts...

Haha, it's true. I think I mentioned earlier that we've got a Whole Foods near our office. It's pretty amazing to see the amount of product they have and how packed it gets around lunch time.

post #19 of 21

Whole Foods is just another large supermarket chain, albeit with a healthier bent.  It could still stand some improvement.  Their personal care section is jammed full of "greenwashing" companies that look and sound natural but really aren't.  You always have to read labels!  Even the 365 brand carries some products with harmful additives or ingredients.  Unfortunately, they also make their organic produce hard to find (it is interspersed with conventionally grown produce and you sometimes have to search for the labels).  Trader Joe's and even Vons and other big chain supermarkets have designated "Organic Produce" areas, making it easier to find the organic options.  Whole Foods is also incredibly overpriced.  Too bad they are usually the only option when it comes to finding organic, gluten free or other alternative choices.

post #20 of 21

I'm disappointed to hear that so many of their personal care stuff is not as natural as it could be. This is very interesting. Why not go to Whole Foods' online site and complain about this? Say what you just said here. I like their 365 brand a lot for many items and the price is good for these. Their Potrero Hill (San Francisco) store, in my experience, labels their produce better and is more fun to shop in than their Pacific Heights location. I agree their produce IS too expensive -- but I feel I have no choice but to at least get their tomatoes there, even though they cost so much, because I find that other stores' tomatoes don't taste as good. I'd also prefer to get my greens and other produce withOUT packaging (i.e., not in containers and not already cut and prepackaged). Meanwhile I try to grow my own but don't have much room; or I sometimes get them at farmers' markets.

post #21 of 21

I have a prefered list as well:


1. no crowds - hate to be in a store when the whole world is out - usually a place with a bit of a price premium has less crowding

2. tastes good - generally go with a brand I have good luck with

3. vine ripened tomatoes

4. veggies from the open (farmers) market

5. skip the organic & natural sections totally - expensive for the same thing

6. local - from far away - imported - who cares - good is good and that is more important!

7. detour around the fish section - hate the smell of dead fish! 


Sorry about that but I expect I in with the great majority.

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