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wow, Whole Foods has really gone down the crapper.

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  • wow, Whole Foods has really gone down the crapper.

    I rarely shop at Whole Foods because I no longer live near one and it's too expensive.

    However, when I travel, sometimes I will stop into a WF to pick up some supplies because I know I can find healthy options there, which are usually in short supply when traveling.

    I recently stopped into a WF and thought I'd get some food from the hot buffet/prepared food area, and was shocked when I read the ingredient listing. I'm not talking about the weird vegan dishes, but the meat-based dishes. For example, they had pulled pork with an ingredient list just as long as any fast food menu, and included all sorts of 'healthy items' such as hydrolyzed wheat gluten (in pulled pork!!!), soybean oil, high-fructose corn syrup, and lots of other nasties.

    Deciding to nix the hot food, I thought I'd get some organic grass-fed roast beef from the deli area. Not only was their roast beef selection not organic or grass-fed, but the ingredient list contained CANOLA OIL. And of course, being Whole Foods, the price tage was three times more than any supermarket roast beef.

    I don't buy baked goods, but once I started looking at the ingredient listings for their cookies and desserts, I realized I could have been reading an ingredient listing on the side of an Entenmann's package.

    There were plenty of people in the store, happy to fork over a small fortune for the same quality they could have found in their local gas station convenience store. I don't get it.

  • #2
    I don't get it either. Aside from specialty items, most things there are just like anything in a regular supermarket except with different labels. Lots of keywords ("natural!") make it sound healthy and make people feel like they're spending their money wisely. My parents fall into this trap constantly. My mom, even with a vegan daughter, and now me with multiple food intolerances, will just go by the front of the packages and does not read ingredients lists.

    It's just packaging. Another way to make money. I try to buy the local brands that WF offers as much as possible.
    Depression Lies


    • #3
      The first time I ever set foot in one, I thought I was going to see a lot of selection of the sorts of whole natural ingredients I buy. But instead, I saw a store that was mostly geared toward selling pricey takeout food at a premium prices. The real food was in a ghetto in the middle with the "healthy" junk food people who have lots of money but don't want to give up SAD foods like to buy.

      The nearest one is half an hour away. I haven't been there in a year.


      • #4
        There are things to like about WFoods, but in general, I agree with BestBetter. I wonder though if having a primal/paleo mindset isn't what makes WFoods seem so unhealthy.

        I used to go twice a month for meat, organic veggies, frozen organic berries, squid, curry powder, and my treat of some decadent cheese. I've found meat online that is more varietal for about the same price. That brings my WFoods treks down quite a bit. I'd have to look at my check book, but I think it's been over two months since I went last. I kinda miss the cheese.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


        • #5
          I'm going to guess it's the primal mindset. Having gone into a WF once (in Annapolis), I was at the time not really aware of what a "WholeFoods" was really supposed to be about and didn't have time to really explore. The only thing I remember was a large display of very fragrant cheeses. I'd been, as of late, interested in having one down here (a rapidly growing zone), but now that I think about it, it wouldn't be an improvement over the Good Earth store we already have.



          • #6
            I have to agree with the sentiments on this thread. I lived in the northeast for 20 years and didn't have a WF near me. I now live in the south and have been less than impressed on most visits there. I would much rather take more frequent trips to my Trader Joe's. I think they have a much better selection of paleo foods and more competitive prices.
            My Leangains Journey

            Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.


            • #7
              I like my local WF. It's smaller than a lot of them and I feel like I know the people who work there; I almost always see the same faces. And they seem happy and actually concerned about the products that the store sells. That's really what makes the biggest difference for me. The Trader Joe's around the corner is depressing. I don't know if it's just their somewhat inaccessible location, but it always seems empty and everything seems packaged. I often buy fresh flowers and i've noticed that TJ;s die right away, the WF ones last longer.

              the only thing TJ's has that i like is a good cheap red wine but even that is not such a draw b/c WF has now started putting out more cheap good stuff. Still can't beat Spec's but i'm not going to drive all over the place going to different stores just for food and drink.

              anyway -- i'm well aware that WF sells a bunch of processed-ish packaged stuff but i don't buy that stuff, i buy the whole foods, which in my local store, are prominently featured.


              • #8
                Our whole foods has a lot of gourmet cheese and gourmet other things that go with cheese. They also have A2 milk, not that I've ever had it, but it's the only place I have ever seen it. Their fish costs too much, their meat is expensive--more than grass-fed prices for not grass-fed so why not just go to the ethnic grocery where you can pay reasonable prices for not grass-fed and actually get some organ meats and cuts besides NY strip and rib-eye? Supposedly whole foods supports local growers but I have never seen any of the local grower's produce or meats listed there.

                Trader Joe's sorta bugs me with the way everything seems to be flown in from the far reaches of the planet. A lot of overpackaging there, too.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                • #9
                  They talk of banks being Too Big To Fail. Whole Foods, and any chain, is Too Big to Shop At. Our entire food infrastructure -- from farm to market -- needs a large reboot.


                  • #10
                    My opinion might be skewed 'cause I live in NYC and things are different here...

                    Whole Foods here isn't considerably more expensive than other supermarkets (especially neighborhood deli/bodega type places), and they carry grass-fed meat from local farms - the only other place I can get that in the city is a Farmer's Market, and then it's frozen, which I dislike.
                    WF has one of the lowest incidences of "this shouldn't be on the shelf"-itis of any grocery store I've encountered in this city.... i.e. I don't get rotten fruit/veg, expired salami, etc.
                    Also, things like cut fruit (sometimes I'm too lazy to cut up a pineapple, whaddaya want from me?) are always properly ripe, and do not contain the parts they're not supposed to (I get chunks cut too close to the core ALL THE TIME from other stores).

                    I just ignore products I don't need, rolling my eyes at some of them... the stacked pyramid display of large bottles of canola oil "heart healthy!" lol... about the only thing I eat from their prepared foods section is the Indian food - at least they list ingredients so I know what's in it - most of the stuff I can make better tasting, cheaper, and better FOR me at home, but I'd totally grab some veggies and fish/chicken (again, thankfully, I can read all the ingredients) if I needed a BAS in a pinch.


                    • #11
                      I don't know what you expected from "convenience" foods - they are just as bad there as anywhere, especially because Whole Foods fully embraces the corn soy vegan YAY mentality.

                      You can still eat Paleo with help from Whole Foods, they have tons of locally sourced produce and meats, pastured eggs, local dairy products, and other paleo friendly stuff.

                      I shop at a place called Lazy Acres now, which is sort of like WF, but better. Their meat counter is about 3x the size of my local WF and the prices are much better.

                      I associate Trader Joe's with processed foods, I don't really get the appeal of that stuff. I have tried to shop there a couple times since starting my health journey and honestly it seems to be nothing but packaged crap and the produce and meats sections are about the size of a postage stamp. :P And none of it is particularly well raised to justify the price.

                      Rather shop at Costco than TJ's (and now I do! :P)


                      • #12
                        I tried Whole Foods a few times when I first started on primal. I knew it would be pricey, but it was a good place initially to find some of the stuff you don't always find at conventional markets- coconut oil/cream, nut butters, etc. Think I paid upward of $8 for a spaghetti squash (first time shopping for a squash of any kind). Never bought any meats from there, I couldn't get past the prices.
                        Thankfully I soon discovered Sprouts. Large selection of produce, grass-fed meats that I don't need a second mortgage to purchase, full-fat greek yogurt, and double-discount Wednesdays! Even though I have both a Trader Joes and Whole Foods within a mile of my place, I still make the 7 mile trek to Sprouts every week.


                        • #13
                          I've found some produce items, such as beets, fennel, leeks and fresh herbs, to be of better quality, and often a cheaper price, at Whole Foods compared to my local grocery store. They also carry items that my grovery doesn't like Bragg's ACV and tamarii. And their cheese section rocks! So, I probably go to WFs twice a month or so, but I'm by no means buying the bulk of my food there. Our local farmer's market is starting back up this weekend, and I anticipate it meeting most of my food needs (meat, eggs and produce) for the next several months.


                          • #14
                            Yep, everything in the Whole Paycheck deli is soaked in canola oil. Yuk.

                            I mostly shop at Sprouts, which I think is owned by the same company but targets a less pricey demographic.


                            • #15
                              I don't know about where you guys live, but I've been to at least 10 different Whole Foods stores on the East Coast and I've found plenty of prepared foods made with decent ingredients and no canola, soy, or corn oil. Mashed sweet potatoes, pot roast, buffalo wings, roasted broccoli & cauliflower, roasted yuca, etc.

                              So long as you get fresh produce elsewhere and avoid the expensive packaged foods, you can actually get good quality food for decent prices at WF.

                              Also, if you're ever in the mood for a cheat, their desserts are awesome. Got a praline pumpkin cheesecake pretty recently -- pumpkin cheesecake in a pie shell with caramel sauce on top. Easily in my top 5 desserts.