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Despite what you’ve heard this year in the media about the nation’s #1 health food grocer Whole Foods Market, it’s still the best store with the highest quality, and possessing the largest selection in natural and organic foods. The epic shopping experience at Whole Foods Market is unlike any other grocery chain known to man. If you are a health conscious consumer, Whole Foods Market is definitely the place to indulge. Below are 12 reasons the savvy health food grocer still rocks:
- Store Design– No matter where I travel, I have to visit the nearest Whole Foods Market. I love how each store’s design is dramatically different and unique. Most of the WFM’S I’ve seen are designed with an industrial, earthy, farm stand style, but modern and contemporary. Earlier this year, I traveled to the Savannah, GA, and had the opportunity to visit WFM. I have to say, it’s such a beautiful store with a lot of gorgeous wood and other oaky organic elements.
- Music– I can’t speak for all Whole Food Market locations, but I know for sure my local location, the Bay Hill store in Orlando, FL, rocks! I really enjoy the selection of songs I hear while shopping. Songs that are currently listed on America’s Top 40 chart are playing, and I am just jamming all the way through the store in a good mood. I like to hear what’s current, not music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, or even the 80s, no offense. I enjoy listening to music that is up beat and doesn’t put me to sleep while shopping. Grocery shopping is supposed to be fun and exciting. Whole Foods Market takes the carrot – no, I mean the cake – for the best music playing skills in a grocer.
- Local Produce– In most supermarkets/grocery stores, I rarely spot any local produce or local items on store shelves. I normally just run into the popular national brands, which I really don’t care to purchase. I like that WFM partners with locally sourced brands that have good values. I am not saying everything is 100% locally-sourced, but it’s great to see products with my city or at least a city/town within my state listed. I’m lucky that my local store possesses a good amount of Florida produce when ever possible. I have shopped at other local supermarkets in the area, and there is little to none of Florida’s produce to be found.
- Vegan Options– Whole Foods Market is the only national grocer in my area that carries numerous vegan products. Why Vegan? Well, first I’d like to explain that, no, I’m not a vegan, but I am lactose intolerant. So selecting a vegan product is always safe, because of the obvious reason that NO animal elements are allowed in vegan foods, period. There are even vegan bakery items I can just gobble up with no problems to worry about later on. Just make sure you look for the term VEGAN, or ask for VEGAN at the bakery counter. My favorite vegan delight is the vegan oatmeal raisin cookie.
- Customer Service-One thing I have noticed shopping at Whole Foods Market for years is that the grocery clerks seem to be pretty cheerful, and happy to help if I can’t find a particular product. In the end, if the product is not available, they are willing to attempt to special order it in. Recently, I special ordered two, 5 pound bags of Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour, and in about two days a Whole Foods Clerk contacted me to let me know that my order had been approved. A few days later my bags of flour arrived at the store. I am so happy that I didn’t have to choose another grocer to meet my needs. In this moment Whole Foods proved to me that I am a highly valued customer. Everyone just seems to be in a such a good mood, other national supermarkets should emulate the Whole Foods culture. I have encountered some pretty mean grocery clerks in the past at other grocers, and that makes for a bad shopping experience. I’m not saying Whole Foods is perfect, but seem pretty close to perfect for having the happiest grocery clerks in the business.
- Café– Luckily, my local Whole Foods Market has a café right inside that is a comfortable size for a good amount of customers to eat, chat, and surf the web. The café has a clean, and sophisticated appearance, and I get to enjoy free Wi-Fi while I am eating a delectable lunch or dinner from their famous Hot Bar. Restrooms are located within feet away, so I have everything I need right where I want. Sorry, Bookstores! You just don’t have it all anymore. I like to have good food near when I am reading. Again, my Whole Foods ROCKS!
- Hot Bar– As previously mentioned Whole Foods is known nationally for their hot bar. At my WFM location, the hot bar is like going to a Food festival, with food selections from all over the world. I’m guessing it’s because my store location is in a tourist area. The national health food grocer is transparent when it comes down to the ingredients in the numerous food selections on the hot bar. Ingredients are listed right in front of each selection, so you don’t have to play the guessing game. This is really important, especially for consumers that might have food allergies. For example, I’m lactose-intolerant, so if any form of dairy exists in a food selection milk, cream, butter, or cheese. I can make an informed decision not to consume that food. Whole Foods also labels food items on the hot bar that are vegetarian or vegan, so consumers can make quick food selections without having to read the ingredients.
- Organic Salad Bar-There are days that I just want a healthy luscious salad, a quality salad. Whole Foods Market has the absolute best salad bar I have seen in a grocery store. All of the items on the salad bar are 100% certified ORGANIC, including the salad dressings and vinaigrettes. I have spotted spring mix, kale, and romaine greens. Fruits, nuts, and other veggies are available to top off a good salad. Don’t forget the main reason why this salad bar is the best, sustainability. NO GMO’s! I’ve dined in several salad bars, and while the greens may be organic, the toppings may not be. What’s the point of having organic greens if the salad toppings are genetically-modified?
- Juice Bar- Craving something healthy and refreshing? I enjoy fresh juices and smoothies made the moment I purchase. Juices made fresh are the very best, because all of their nutrients are at peak power to nourish your body. This is the beauty of having a juice bar available to get the highest quality, so our bodies will benefit from all the goodness. Looking for an immune boost? The foul tasting, but healthy wheatgrass shots are available to take like a pro.
- Meat Department- Hands down WFM has the most striking meat department. A burst of excitement floods my soul when I am gazing at the very presentable meat case. The butchers are like artists, meats are cut perfectly, and displayed like fine art, as if a food stylist is on site to approve all details how pieces of meat should lie in place. At my local store, I’ve recently noticed a lot of meat selections in the case are labeled ORGANIC. Some beef items are not only organic, but grass-fed as well. There is even chicken in the meat case that has been air-chilled. These are very high quality meats that other grocer’s meat departments can’t touch. Whole Food Market is definitely on top of their game when it comes down to sustainability in meats sold in a fresh meat case.
- Seafood-Yes, the grocer houses a pretty fancy seafood department, and seems to be larger than most grocers. I have seen fish selections like NEVER-frozen swordfish or salmon. Wild-caught selections seem to be more readily available at WFM, than at other markets. I’m not a big fan of farmed-raised fish at all. I like that there are available grab-and-go seafood items like salmon burgers, already seasoned. If I wish to have my salmon burger baked to eat for lunch/dinner, they are willing to bake it for me. Talk about elite service from a grocer’s seafood department.
- Product Selection-If you are a fan of Organic & NON GMO products, Whole Foods has one of the largest product lines to my knowledge. There are hundreds of items to choose from, even personal care products. Today, consumers are concerned on what we are using internally and externally. Ingredients are key, and the knowledge of where and how our food products are produced is vital. Whole Foods Market is just heaven-sent for those that truly want to live and experience an authentic green lifestyle. Have fun shopping!