Rushing through the Cheltenham suburbs, had to buy wine so lurched into the huge carpark of an out of town shopping experience. By which I mean a cluster of huge supermarkets snarling at each other across an enormous expanse of tarmac dotted with a huddle of tiny trees at least one of which was sporting a plastic bag. Village Boy leapt out of the van and bounded off shouting, white hare like, about time. I was following rather more sedately when Whole Foods Market caught my eye. I had never seen one before and I admit I snorted at the messages plastered on the windows…. but I went to have a look anyway.

I have numerous issues with supermarkets which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say I use them when I have to but they deeply irritate, even anger me. The packaging, the waste, the plastic are just a few of the niggles.

And yet, I was about to have a supermarket epiphany. Yes Whole Foods Market are my idea of supermarket heaven. If there have to be supermarkets,  then let them be like this.

They have 

  • Unwrapped lettuce and unpackaged olives… beans featured shop Whole Food
  • Loose grains, rice beans and pulses
  • Loose tea & coffee beans.
  • Loose spices, herbs, dried fruits and nuts
  • A peanut butter making machine
  • oil on tap so you can refill your bottle

All of the above you can buy by weight in your own containers. This is  common in the U.S. and Australia. They have  bulk stores or  bulk foods aisle in a grocery store. In this case it doesn’t necessarily mean buying huge amounts but buying loose and unpackaged.

BYO Bags

While the carrier bags at the check-out are paper, the rest of the packaging, the produce bags and bottles they provide, are all plastic so you would have to take your own compostable pots and reusable bags. Easily done – find out how here.


The weight of the bag will make a difference at checkout in the price per weight.  The tare weight is the weight of the empty container. Whole Food Markets have weighing machines that allow you to do this yourself. It is very easy.


Whole Foods Market as it name suggests also has a organic eco criteria. This isn’t some giant Weigh & Save shop but a plush, lush shopping experience


Since then I have taken the opportunity to visits as many Whole Food Markets as I can.

Find A Store

They have stores in London, Cheltenham and Glasgow

I have taken photo journals which I have posted up on Facebook. Follow the links for

Please check that stock is available before you visit – the photos are quite old now and NOT ALL STORES ARE THE SAME. For instance Glasgow does Ecover refills Cheltenham doesn’t.


This American company have recently opened some flagship stores in the UK It is funky, good looking and challenging. It boasts impressive eco credentials. I wanted to know more so I emailed ahead asking if it would be OK for me to take photos next time I visited. Not only did they say yes, but Renata Rees, Marketing Team Leader, offered to meet me. An offer I eagerly accepted. You can read about it here


Find more loose food shops here





(Visited 57 times since January 1st 2018. 1 visits today)

8 thoughts on “Whole Food Market U.K. Chain

  1. They have got a funky cafe and staff with big earings and beards. Your teenagers might like it! They are also setting up a bar in store! Not sure if that is a really good or really bad idea. Maybe you can trial it! Please do let me know what you think!

  2. Fabulous! I have just unpacked my shopping from a discount store and there is more film wrap and plastic netting than I am comfortable with. I try to be mindful of excess packaging but a medium-sized, one stop shop is essential for me most days owing to a chronic health condition. This store sounds like a viable alternative. I feel a day trip to Cheltenham, with my teenagers in tow, over the summer hols!

  3. and because they are not in Oxford but Cheltenham. Got confused. It was a long day and we got confused as to where we had been. Lettuce deprivation does strange things to you.

  4. wow hand picked sponges – that is very cool. Yes we have very backwards and aggressive supermarkets in the Uk. Sorry you got told off though. That has happened to me too!

  5. I am really sorry but I don’t know Oxford. We went in and out and then were off again. I think you will have to contact them. Blimey I do hope it wasn’t some kind of strange lettuce deprived fantasy! Like a mirage!

  6. Hi, Thanks for this post as I have just moved to Oxford. A quick google didnt tell me where it is though, can you enlighten me?! There is also a veg van that parks up various places in the city and sells local produce which is pretty cool. Rose

  7. Hi Kate
    That’s fantastic. What a change. I hope they take off. When I was in the UK last year I was shocked to see things like lettuce wrapped in plastic – and got another shock when I went to take a photo and was told off by one of the store workers. The Whole Foods market looks like it would be really enjoyable shopping there.
    Marea (No to Plastic)
    Since your previous post about coconut fibre I have found an Australian website where I can purchase these, so thanks for that info. I also use sponges I find at the beach, but they require quite a lot of cleaning – full of little shells and sticks etc.

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