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.
- Unwrapped lettuce and unpackaged olives…
- 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.
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
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