Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Whole Foods Tour

Yesterday I went to my local Whole Foods Market to participate in their Value Tour. I was the only customer who showed up for it, which was unfortunate, as it was filled with great info on how to shop the store on a budget. Now I don't usually shop at Whole Foods. I go every now and then to pick up some special ingredient or product that I need, such as saffron, or those delicious Annie Chun's potstickers, or an organic hair care product. Walking through those aisles I am always in foodie heaven! Love love the quality of their fresh produce, seafood, meat and the variety of their products. (I saw fresh tamarind there yesterday...sweet!)

Being on one income as a SAHM means we follow a strict budget (or try to anyway), so for me searching for the lowest prices and couponing and shopping sales is routine. So I have to admit when I saw the flier advertising the Value Tour I was skeptical. Whole Foods on a budget? Hmmm.... But I decided to give it a go, and boy was I happy I did.

The super nice Whole Foods guy - Jonny - took me on a half hour or so walk through our Coral Springs, FL store. What I learnt is that Whole Foods is the coolest grocery just because of the "extras". 99 cent sausage on Wednesdays featuring a new sausage flavor, made in store. At the seafood counter, they can season and bake your seafood for you, so you can enjoy it at the cafe if you wish. Build your own 6 pack of beer (great gift for Father's Day!) using recycled beer packs. The staff in the fresh produce section walk around with small knives so you can ask for a taste or check fruit for ripeness.

They have so many discounts and savings promos it was shocking. Weekly specials, coupon booklets, online coupons, BOGO products, 10% case discounts, 10% discount on 6 bottles of vino, "Happy Hour" at the prepared food deli, 10 cents off your bill per reusable tote, and so much more. Needless to say I was impressed. I would never have thought Whole Foods offered so many ways to save.

Whole Foods is known for its commitment to the environment and communities, and offering organic and natural products as much as possible. Jonny explained the ANDI rating system score - Aggregate Nutrition Density Index, which analyzes the nutrients in a food product on a scale up to 1000. They have hanging posters that show the ANDI score of particular items, for example, kale has a score of 1000, while potato chips are around 11. There is the Health Starts Here program, Animal Welfare Standards, donating to environmental organizations, offering sustainable seafood, and so much more. I also liked that in the produce section, the signs below each fruit show the state and farm that they come from. Jonny said they try to source as locally as possible, showing me fruit from a farm in Homestead (near Miami). And don't forget they are the place to go for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and for other special dietary needs.

I am definitely going to try to work Whole Foods into my Saturday shopping, using their sales and coupons to look for deals on such high quality fresh food. Happy shopping everyone!

For more info on Whole Foods and where its food comes from, visit their blog at Whole Story blog.

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