Whole Foods founder John Mackey: ‘We’re getting fat, and we’re getting sicker’

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I don’t f–k with Whole Foods. There’s not a brick-and-mortar Whole Foods close to me, and I balk at the prices of Whole Foods items on Amazon. When I need fruit and vegetables, I go to the Kroger around the corner from me, even though I know I could probably save a little bit of money if I went to the Wal-Mart that is also sort of close to me (I hate Wal-Mart for weekly grocery shopping and most things, honestly). So that’s where I am: too cheap for Whole Foods and yet not frugal enough to care about Wal-Mart. I’m sure there are many people who swear by Whole Foods and their overpriced items, but I’m not one of them. And Whole Foods founder John Mackey isn’t making it easy for WF enthusiasts either – he just gave an utterly tone-deaf interview to the NY Times this week. You can read the full piece here. These are the parts people took issue with:

On Trump’s leadership for the business world: “I’m not going to go there. It’s not my job to evaluate the consciousness of people and pass judgment on them. One thing I’ve learned over the years is, we are so divided in politics, whatever I say is going to upset 50 percent of the population. So my own personal politics, I keep to myself. I’m certainly not going to talk about President Trump. I’m merely saying that business is good at innovation. It’s good at trying new things. It’s good at disrupting. But you can only disrupt things when they’re not highly regulated.

He’s been trying to get Americans to eat better for decades: “Some people have been moving in the right direction, and the majority of people in the wrong direction. We can see that through the way people eat today versus the way they ate 50 or 60 years ago. Statistically, we definitely moved in the wrong direction. The whole world is getting fat, it’s just that Americans are at the leading edge of that. We’re getting fat, and we’re getting sicker, by the way. I mean, there’s a very high correlation between obesity and Covid deaths. And one of the reasons the United States has had more of a problem with Covid is simply that the comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, they’re just higher in the U.S.

Where companies & governments might do better to bring healthier options: “In some sense, we’re all food addicts. We love things that are rich, that are sweet. We love ice cream. We love popcorn. We love French fried potatoes. And the market is providing people what they want. I don’t think there’s an access problem. I think there’s a market demand problem. People have got to become wiser about their food choices. And if people want different foods, the market will provide it. Whole Foods has opened up stores in inner cities. We’ve opened up stores in poor areas. And we see the choices. It’s less about access and more about people making poor choices, mostly due to ignorance. It’s like a being an alcoholic. People are just not conscious of the fact that they have food addictions and need to do anything about it. And Big Food, the fast food industry, the processed food industry — they all have a lot of skin in the game. They want people to continue to consume more calorie-rich foods.

[From The NY Times]

Throughout the interview, he acknowledges the idea of access, and while he doesn’t use the words “food desert,” that’s what he’s talking about – the idea that in many lower-income communities, there simply isn’t access to fresh food. But he completely blanks on the reality that for many low-income Americans, the choice is really simple: the higher-fat foods are less expensive. Sure, a lot of people would love to snack on pre-peeled organic oranges at $12 a pop. But people will balk at the prices of the food which is “better for them.” So he’s basically saying that he could put a Whole Foods in every low-income food desert but he couldn’t force people to buy his overpriced organic food – not because it’s overpriced and they can’t afford it, but because THEY make bad choices, because they’re fat, because they are “like alcoholics.” Which is gross. And the whole “fat people are getting Covid” thing is equally appalling. There are plenty of thin people dying of Covid too.

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114 Responses to “Whole Foods founder John Mackey: ‘We’re getting fat, and we’re getting sicker’”

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  1. Mika enola says:

    I have to say, as a someone from Eastern Europe, where fresh food is easily accessible and affordable, it is downright surreal that the USA is in such state where there are “food deserts”, where people do not have access to fresh food. There is no such thing as a Whole Food here since all of our markets are essentially whole, fresh natural food markets. I am truly sorry the USA has such a situation.

    • Doodle says:

      I have been to Europe many times and have family there. My husband is European. I agree that it’s ridiculous drag food is more expensive than garbage food but as for food deserts I have to rebut and say that the States IS much larger than any European country. It always floors my Dutch cousins that we can’t just bike across our city in a day, or drive across a couple of States in a few days. They are really smart (they are doctors) and have looked at maps but even then can’t seem to understand.

      • Mika enola says:

        I understand that it is a huge country, but almost every state has huge swats of farmland I imagine. The fact that this huge resource has been wasted or missused, and has lead to the creation of food deserts is sad.

      • styla says:

        Mika Enola… you are absolutely correct. There are massive amounts of farmland in North America that are not being put to proper use. A lot of it just grows soy and corn to feed the meat demands. Size has nothing to do with communities in America being able to provide fresh and natural food at smaller markets. Unfortunately food is big business here and just like this Whole Foods guy is saying, the demand is not for fresh and natural. It’s for garbage. All that said, Whole Foods is NOT the solution for this problem… it’s just one of the only ones available for most people. But for what its worth, people need to rethink how they obtain their food. There are local options and farmers that do sell direct, you have to look for them and be in those circles… but why when its easier to grab a pizza on the way home from work? Sad.

      • Arpeggi says:

        There are whole sections of NOLA that are food deserts though. Of course, it’s understandable that you’ll have to drive to the grocery store if you live somewhere in the middle of North Dakota, but it makes no sense that you have to bus 90 minutes to access fresh produces when you live in a city, even if you’re in a poor neighbourhood.

        Canada is bigger and emptier than the US and yet, with the HUGE exception of reservations and northern villages ($50 for a lettuce anyone?!?), food deserts are less of an issue than south of the border. A lot has to do with the way towns are built, densification of neighbourhoods, access to public transport and having a social safety net to help those who have less

      • ChrisSimm says:

        I find this one to also be a common misconception. America is a vast and open country yes, but also our cities are also just bigger. A small-to-medium metropolitan area (city + suburbs) in America will be 25-40 km across, and a large one will be 60km to 100 km. (for comparison, Greater London is 50-60 km across and somewhere like a Prague is.. 25? 30?) Most Americans live in the suburbs – places designed and developed around the car as your main transport so you can have a bit of land and not have to share walls with anyone. Even if the kind of smaller shops that thrive in Europe could stay profitable in America’s lower population density, they were all undercut to the point of bankruptcy by the bigger chains 20 years ago. America produces more than enough food, we’re a net exporter of most if not all food categories. Our culture and our economy style just allow for these neighborhoods and these communities to founder.

      • clomo says:

        @ChrisSimm Can’t stand the lack of variety in most of the country, except huge cities. I like to shop local as much as possible. With all the regulations huge corporations will own everything after the virus , no more mom and pop, everyone working for the man feeling like a number. In Europe and pretty much anywhere else except a literal desert there are fresher food and small shops, mom and pop shows pharmacies are almost entirely non existent, in Europe or even somewhere like India there are little shops everywhere owners working for there own business have more pride to them. I don’t mind shopping at Target etc that much . but I will always try to find the item I need from locally owned stores.

      • Eleonora says:

        My mom lives in a flat in Europe.
        She has started growing food inside the house, but yes, there is fresh food that can essily be bought everywhere.

    • Tom says:

      To put the size of the US into perspective: San Francisco to New York is the same distance as London to Istanbul. The state of Texas is the size of France. The smallest states are on the Atlantic coast. Most European countries are roughly the size of one Atlantic state.

      Climates and soil in different states vary enormously. Whether or not farms exist nearby has little importance. Food deserts are another way of saying nutritional and medical inequality.

      • sassafras says:

        There is a lot of farmland and “empty” land in the US but a lot of it can’t be used for growing produce. You can’t grow oranges in South Dakota, for instance. The US has, predictably, used its broad swaths of plains to produce cash crops of corn, soybeans, wheat, etc. and then when that was cheap, we used that to produce cheap food to feed a big hungry nation. It makes sense for a capitalist society to do this, to maximize resources. Unfortunately, capitalist societies aren’t the best at equal distribution of these resources.

    • Busybody says:

      @Mika Enola—it’s true that there are huge swathes of the country covered in farm land, but the only thing the farms are growing is corn & soy. I don’t know if we can feed ourselves with our own (current) crops.

      • Dee says:

        Corn and soybeans are in 90% of the groceries in the store, including your toothpaste and the fuel in your car to get there.

      • sassafras says:

        Most countries can’t, though. The UK imports tonnes of produce from the Mediterranean, as does other Northern European countries. China imports wheat and soy from the US. We get fruit from New Zealand and Chile and Mexico. It’s okay to have these trade partners, but we have to ensure that the food is accessible to more people in our country.

    • eezer says:

      good deserts aren’t from lack of food. they are from businesses choosing not to put fresh produce in stores in low income areas because of profitability. i lived in a food desert where a majority of shoppers were using food stamps. because you get the bulk of your money at the beginning of the month, lots of people do a big grocery store haul when they get their monthly deposit for food which means they buy less fresh produce, simply b/c it only lasts a few days. because of this – stores stock food in those areas that are shelf stable or frozen. even if people WANT to buy fresh food, it literally isn’t available and forces people to turn to less healthy, prepackaged food. my store for instance only had carrots, apples, bananas and iceburg lettuce in the fresh produce aisle. sometimes seasonal fruit but in low quantities. the frozen vegetable aisle was always completely bare b/c people do want to eat healthy – so they would buy frozen vegetables in bulk.

      also – whole foods is just a place where you can buy organic prepacked food. chips aren’t healthy b/c they are organic. their produce isn’t any different than any other grocery store.

  2. ItReallyIsYou,NotMe k8 says:

    I went organic for a while and I quickly realized that eating organic doesn’t necessarily meaning eating low fat foods or foods that give you all your nutrients. It really just means you’re eating something that’s not made with specific chemicals and other things, so if you’re looking for a diet that works organics are not necessarily the way to go. But if you’re looking for cleaner vegetables and fruits then going organic can be a good option but it is very expensive lifestyle to maintain.

    And yes, his comments are completely tone deaf. People in food deserts can’t afford to pay $15/lb for organic chicken. And even if they did, buying organic is not going to “fix” obesity.

    • Christine says:

      I also side-eye a lot of the foods that claim to be organic which, from my research, are not.

      • Dutch says:

        From a chemistry point of view all food is organic, i.e. carbon based.

      • derps says:

        I side eye a lot of the *food* in Whole Foods stores – most of their square footage is processed and/or pre-packaged food that is just as bad for you as the equivalent product at Kroger. The “pantry” aisles’ products are not healthy. And they make the food in their pizza/hot+cold buffet/refrigerated-to-go areas the same way as Sysco and most restaurants: with more salt, fat, and sugar than you would find in a homemade recipe from even a basic cookbook. He is such a hypocrite.

    • Honora says:

      It really surprises me how common this misconception is. I even saw an article saying this (as an argument to just keep buying conventional!) on somewhere reputable maybe huffpost.
      Organic is not to lose weight. Organic is supposed to be pesticide free. There are many studies linking pesticides to cancers so even if you don’t need to lose weight organic is a great idea. But personally if it’s an “organic” product of China I don’t take that seriously. No one local is checking for pesticides it’s up to the country of origin to certify so I prefer organic from countries I trust

      • Dee says:

        Organics use pesticides, just different ones. Sometimes the organic pesticides are more dangerous than conventional ones. If you’re looking at produce that is perfect, it was sprayed with something to prevent insect damage.

      • Pinkstripes says:

        I agree with Honora; I don’t buy organic if it’s from the PRC. But there’s no doubt organic in the certification sense, in the sense of the controlled use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilisers, etc, organic tends to be lighter on your body than conventional produce if the produce is from a country with transparent regulations. Your body has to work harder to push those heavy metals and other contaminants out. And organic is definitely better for soil longevity so you’re thinking about preserving topsoil for future generations here.

        On the other hand, you can soak conventional produce in bicarb soda to remove a lot of the residue (not all) and avoid the dirty dozen. Conventional avocadoes, for example, tend to have fewer residues than conventional apples. At farmers markets you can talk to the farmer directly and find out if they’re a low pesticide operations, so that’s another way to minimise contaminants. It’s not possible to eat 100% organic all the time but aiming for it without stressing about it and blowing your budget is a good thing. Would you like your daily dose of isoxaflutole and glyphosate with those potatoes, m’am?

  3. Doodle says:

    Honestly I have never been a fan of Whole Foods. There is one near me and the vibe I get going in there has always been one of “we are sooo much better than the other stores. We kiss our chickens awake every morning and massage their assholes to encourage the egg to release naturally, thus ensuring they are 100% vegan and free range. Will we see you at yoga later?” Maybe they aren’t all like that mine is. My attitude is if you don’t got fruit loops, my kid don’t got breakfast.

    • Randy says:

      Thank you for giving me a good chuckle this morning! “We mist our chicken’s feathers with organic flaxseed oil that we source from caves in Antartica in order to maintain their famous Whole Foods shine. We then give the chickens pedicures using bespoke, non-GMO nail polish made in New Guinea.”

    • Noodle says:

      @doodle (Good day, name neighbor – I feel like we could be hosts/hostesses on a child’s program!). They opened a Whole Foods less than two blocks away from me. The only thing I like there better than my local Target or Trader Joe’s is their fruit — stone fruit in particular. Everything else they offer is either comparable to my Trader Joe’s, or so expensive that I don’t care about it. My husband kids me that I am so passionate about stone fruit that I will go to an entirely different store just to get the best ones. I tell him there are so few joys in life, and those joys happen to coincide with the precious few months where I can get fresh peaches that aren’t from Chile.

    • Jess says:

      That was pretty depressing to read. ( And, by the way, it’s “Froot” loops. i.e. not fruit. )

    • Grant says:

      Oh my goodness Doodle, I am HOWLING. Thank you for the hearty chuckle this morning.

    • grabbyhands says:

      I feel this so much. In my old neighborhood, a Whole Foods was the only grocery store within walking distance and going on there made me irrationally annoyed because it seemed like every person I encountered was a smug, self righteous jackass. Also, the prices made me crazy – like, I just want a simple can of tomato soup. I don’t care if the tomatoes were grown in a scared grove and harvested by monks – a can of soup still should cost three bucks.

    • josephine says:

      I’m not a fan, either. I don’t like the vibe at mine and the staff is very inconsistent, with some downright rude. I think the problam is that WF was once unique and is now being passed by lots of smaller, more nimble, more responsive competitors. Being led by this guy, it’s no wonder. His attitudes are disgusting and are thinly-veiled racism.

      A true food revolution involves smaller, local production.

      It also involves a new attitude toward eating and LIVING. As a nation we eat at our desks, standing, in front of the tv. US students get 20 minutes to eat lunch.

      But until healthcare and food are seen as universal rights in this country, I don’t know how we’re going to change. I do know that I never, ever need to frequent a WF again.

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        @ Josephine, I live in Texas and was a frequent shopper at WF before he sold it to Bezos. I liked that they had organic fruits and vegetables from the US, plus they sold beans, etc., in large bins. I found the staff always kind and respectful and always willing to help. When I stay in Austin, there was a WF down the street that we would walk to and do our shopping. In Austin, there a great number of neighborhoods that rely on being a neighborhood that encourages walking to support your lifestyle. Pharmacies, bakeries, grocery store, doctors, etc., you get my point. But in larger cities, they are built up and out and you do not have the option to walk to stores and many lower income cities are food deserts which is sad since a number of co-ops could venture into the area and also farmers markets, but for some reason they don’t. We need to educate our children into eating healthier options without using an entire paycheck to feed a family. The reason that many people buy processed food that have food assistance in that they can purchase more food that is processed than food in its raw state. And I agree wholeheartedly that his comments where tone deaf and that if he truly wanted to fill the food deserts, then he should build stations of pop ups in food deserts and sell fresh food at a fair price. It’s doesn’t have to be organic, it can be fresh food and they can hold cooking classes for free to those in the lower income areas to show them how to cook with fresh vegetables. There are many farmers that will sell their ugly produce and a deeply discounted rate as the grocery store chains only want the pleasant looking food, which to me is an absolute waste of good food that they through into the dumpsters and which they should be heavily FINED for throwing away good food to rot in the landfills. We are the richest nation yet our children are mostly dependent on free or reduced meals, which evaporate once school is out. And our food insecurity is growing by the day with the corona virus. People are starving!

  4. Snuffles says:

    I could really go on a tear about food deserts/food insecurity and fast food/junk food!! Because you are 100% correct! Poor communities don’t have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Most supermarket chains refuse to open stores in those areas because they don’t find it profitable. But those fast food joints and their dirt cheap prices are EVERYWHERE!!

    It’s not always fair to put it down to people making poor choices. They are forced to eat that crap because that is all they can afford!! And junk food, alcohol and cigarettes are marketed directly at them too! Just watch the documentary “Supersize Me!” for an eye opener on THAT subject.

    I personally order from Whole Food because I can afford it and they are the only ones delivering in my neighborhood during this pandemic. But I am acutely aware many don’t have this luxury.

    You would think making sure poor communities access to healthy food choices could be a bi-partisan issue but keeping people sick, and unhealthy seems to be a goal of the Republican Party.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Also, access to health care matters. If you have injuries but can’t afford medical help to lessen the pain/get your muscles and joints to recover properly; you’ll become less active and you’ll end up with more health issues that are going to pile up. That increases your chances of becoming overweight and have high BP, cholesterol and self-medicating. It’ll get worst if you need a 25min drive (80 min bus rides) to access a a bag of carrots at a reasonable price

    • Pinkstripes says:

      Slightly off topic but I always think of that guy who planted (plants?) produce on the sidewalk of his suburbs and everyone gets the free food. I think he lives in LA. I don’t know whether community gardens/farms, where everyone pitches in and grows food together, can work in these food deserts – climate wise etc.

  5. Veronica S. says:

    Buying “organic” is nonsense, anyway. The restrictions for what can be classed that way are surprisingly low and really meaningless down the line. Like, yeah, they didn’t use pesticides on your crop, but it didn’t stop them from growing it right next to something that did.

    Americans are obese and unhealthy because of poverty and lack of healthcare accessibility, simple as that. Simple as that. Food deserts are also definitely an issue, though not one always easy to get around due to the size of the United States and the inevitable that there will always be more remote, rural regions, but it would certainly be easier to address with more government backed social programs. You’ve got a contingency hell bent on ever letting us more forward progressively though, so here we are. 🤷‍♀️

    • Elizabeth says:

      I would disagree. I would much rather have food that was grown locally and without chemicals or pesticides. I’ve supported several local co-cops and direct-to-table programs. The food is much better.

      There’s no way it’s good for us to eat food sprayed with pesticides. I realize it may not be a huge change that affects the whole world if I support local and organic farmers when I can, but it’s the best thing I can do right now.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Am I going to listen to the man who sold his company to a conglomerate because his plans for the company were not beneficial to the country as a whole and therefore was tanking.

    Am I? Going to listen?

    • FHMom says:

      We just got a WF in my town. The first thing that caught my eye was the myriad of desserts and bread. Like I seriously could have binged on their sweets and bread. Not healthy at all. The second thing was the amount of plastic waste. Everything is in containers or wrapped. I could nicely stack my groceries into the bags. They are going to kill the environment with the amount of plastic they put out. So, yeah. This dude isnt worth my time.

    • Godwina says:

      No, not for that, and not for all the very audible MAGA dogwhistling in that first paragraph about business. We see you, asshat.

    • Lady2Lazy says:

      @ Tiffany, excellent point!!
      BTW, Kroger has an excellent selection of organic fruits and vegetables!!
      I would also like to point out that Kroger in the past had triple coupon days, but I don’t know if they still do! When we were extremely poor, we would shop on triple coupon days and we lived eating out of a crock pot every night. You get yummy meals and most times, have plenty for several days. We were a family of 4 living on very tight income. We would cut every coupon and ask neighbors for their coupons as well, we weren’t prideful, we took what we could get. We could only spend $65 a week for everything, and counting house supplies was tough. Plus, store brands of PB, jelly, bread, etc. is the same.

    • Dilettante says:

      Hypocrite. Slagged Wild Oats online before he bought it. And more, see:


    • Pinkstripes says:

      And he’s talking about a lack of regulation..? Antitrust regs are coming for Amazon hopefully.

  7. Angel says:

    From a foreigner point of view, I don’t understand why the american government is not implemeting policies to make sure people have acces to Healthier food. How are people going to eat better if they don’t have been acces to better food in the first place ?

    • lucy2 says:

      Take a look at our federal government at the moment!
      Michelle Obama did a LOT to help school lunches get healthier, and Dump rescinded all the good requirements she helped set.

    • Chaine says:

      Because half the American people are angry toddlers who resist the notion of the Guvmint telling them to do anything. Michelle Obama tried for institute more well-rounded nutrition for school lunches and from the response of the right-wingers, you’d think she personally crucified Jesus.

      • shadesofwhite says:


      • grabbyhands says:

        That still pisses me off, and it tells you how unhinged some people can be that they will literally be like “How DARE you tell my kid to eat healthy!!!! It’s my right as an AMERICAN to be as unhealthy as I want”.

      • Pinkstripes says:

        +1 Chaine. Distrust of government to a degree that makes sensible, necessary-for-functioning-collectives regulations impossible to implement. Too libertarian. Came across this article about how the author (US citizen & resident) was talking about how things are so much better in Sweden, Japan, and other slightly more collectivist or slightly more regulated countries. But of course, to libertarian-leaning people, it’s “communism” or “socialism.”

      • Joanna says:

        It pisses me off when people act that way. And those same people are the ones who let Fox News tell them how to think.

  8. Millenial says:

    I definitely think the issue is systemic, but eating healthy does not have to be expensive. My nearest grocery store (which serves a racially and socio-economically diverse neighborhood in the south) sells chicken breast for $1.99 a pound. Bananas and apples are inexpensive, and so are store brand frozen vegetables. Steel cut oats and brown rice are cheap, too.

    The issue is really that eating healthy is *time consuming.* Meal planning and cooking healthy meals takes a lot of time, and I suspect that a lot of tired, working folks are choosing quicker, but unhealthier options.

    • TeaForTwo says:

      This. Eating healthy is very time consuming. We eat primarily vegetarian, and there are nights I’d give anything just to throw a piece of meat in a pan, pop a fzn veg bag in the microwave, and call it a day. But I don’t, because we enjoy eating great tasting, healthy meals. But man, it takes time to get that flavor in there.

      How did we get here? I’ve been to a lot of countries, and nowhere have I experienced the level of obesity we have here in the US. Poor countries, rich countries, it doesn’t matter. Nowhere else I’ve been is as fat as we are. Something is different here, and I don’t know what it is.

      • gem_cat says:

        I wonder if you didn’t just hit the nail on the head there though. As has been discussed a lot here on Celebitchy, in relation to Meghan waking early to work etc..there seems to be a different culture when it comes to work in the US, which is quite possibly goes hand in hand with a lack of a fair minimum wage, social benefits, affordable childcare, sick leave and so forth. This work-culture, whether something to take pride in or not, might have as a consequence that it doesn’t leave any time (unless you are upper-middle-class and don’t need that full-time pay check per se) to cook meals for yourself or others. I dunno. It feels like it definitely plays a part, and so does living from pay-check to pay-check with nothing to fall back on..where poverty doesn’t mean you’re not spending all your time working. Its a vicious cycle..

      • Amy Too says:

        And your comment, combined with the one above about how spread out US cities are, also means we’re spending a ton of time commuting. We work long hours and we spend a lot of our time in the car. So many Americans spend breakfast and dinner time in their car, and lunch time at their desk, so no wonder it’s easier to grab some fast food that’s literally on the way home or on your way to work and eat it in your car. You’re driving during breakfast time, you’re driving during dinner time. There are kids who get dropped off at daycare or school before breakfast time and picked up after dinner time, so they’re eating crappy school breakfasts, lunches, and snack, and then they and their parents are spending dinner time in the car.

        So many of us, if we want to actually eat healthy food that we cook ourselves, have to spend our entire weekend at the grocery store and then cooking and freezing leftovers and pre-packing healthy lunches for the week. There is just not enough time. My son is in high school now so it doesn’t matter if we have to wait until 7:30 for dinner some days if I want to try to cook something after I get home from work and my commute, but when he was little and had to be in bed by 8PM, he ate a lot of peanut butter toast and microwaveable chicken nuggets for dinner just because that’s all I had time to make before bath and bedtime.

    • MF1 says:

      Yes, this is something that’s not talked about a lot. Money buys you time and convenience–you can hire a sitter, a house cleaner, pay for your groceries to be delivered.

    • Amy Too says:

      I’m also thinking about how cooking your own meals means you have to have things like pots and pans, skillets, baking dishes, vegetable peelers, the right knives, etc. There are still some recipes I can’t make or have to figure out a different way to do them because they call for things like a Dutch oven, or a double boiler, a crock pot, or an air fryer, a food processor, or immersion blender, or electric stand mixer. Or a size of baking dish or pie tin that I don’t have. Cooking takes a lot of stuff. And all of that stuff costs money. And if you have to be inventive or do something the hard way, it takes even more time.

    • Pinkstripes says:

      So true on the time-consuming people. Fresh produce isn’t just heat up in the microwave. But if you fast like I do (I do 18/6; I have a slow metabolism), it’s much, much easier. You’re thinking about food and doing food prep just once or twice a day.

  9. sa says:

    I used to live in Manhattan and Manhattan grocery stores are all so expensive that Whole Foods never felt disproportionately expensive. There was one a few blocks from my house that I passed every day, so I’d frequently stop in pick up some groceries and a Jamba Juice (which was right in the store). Since moving to the suburbs, I still occasionally stop in for a fresh bread, but not much else, because now their prices shock me compared to what I’m used to in other stores.

  10. jessamine says:

    I mean, as a person who is currently technically obese, I did hear from my doctor that that was a comorbidity (my chronic asthma and post-chemo immune system are scarier ones) and medically that’s not fat-shaming, it does put greater strain on your heart, lung capacity, etc.

    HOWEVER. If you want Americans to have access to better food (and American and *everybody* should have access to better food), the Whole Foods price point is a wayyy bigger barrier than “choices.” If I had a million gazillion dollars I would trek up to the Whole Foods in Portland a couple times a month and load up the back of my car with ridiculously cute, wholesome-seeming, organic, humane, antioxidant-rich whatevers. But, what I have is a groceries/paper/cleaning products budget of <$100 a week and a partner with the metabolism of a hummingbird+a physically demanding job+borderline diabetes/lowcarb diet requirements. Shopping at Whole Foods is absolutely not an option.

    So shoutout to our local Market Basket which is super unsexy/borderline decrepit but gets us the protein, fruits, and veggies we need within our budget.

  11. lucy2 says:

    “I don’t think there’s an access problem.” Seriously? I looked it up, and from what I can see, they opened 4 stores in low income areas. Out of over 400 stores total. In a huge country with tons of food deserts. And I don’t think he has any idea that a lot of those people have a very tight budget, so while they’d probably love the opportunity to buy his very expensive healthy food, if they want to actually have enough to last the week or month, they can’t do that.

    “We love French fried potatoes.” OK, robot. Who says it that way? They’re called FRIES, man!

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      “French fried potatoes” jumped out at me, too. What a tool. He probably eats pizza with a fork & knife.

  12. KellyRyan says:

    We’ve been influenced by John Robbins, Diet for a New America for decades. Forks Over Knives, the video, is recommended by a number of docs. Dependent on where you are, Boney’s, Sprouts and TJ’s are superior to Whole Foods. The new rising star in shopping is Winco. I can find almost everything I need. Prices are lower, no CC’s accepted, debit or cash only. Organic, non-organic produce easy for us to obtain. Our closest Winco is in the San Joaquin Valley which grows produce shipped nationwide. I’m not currently following a vegan diet. I enjoy seafood. I am part of an online group which shares health food recipes.

    • JanetDR says:

      That’s the book that pushed me to vegetarian also. I have been eating farm eggs (free range) and some dairy and toying with going straight vegan. So far , there’s a point where cheese wins out.
      I have let my honey do most of the shopping during the shutdown, but I will run to Trader Joe’s when I am in our closest city (60 miles away) or the local (30 miles away) Aldi’s.
      Farming is the second or third biggest “industry” in New York state, a fact that often surprises people. For most of my life that has meant small, family-run dairy farms; apple orchards; potato farms; vineyards as well as lots of seasonal roadside fruit and vegetable stands. I am seeing (and smelling) a few more large dairy farms though. Amish are everywhere in the rural areas of the state and it is nice to see some abandoned farms being worked again.

  13. SamC says:

    Whole Foods is pricey for sure, but I have to laugh at him saying he has been trying to get American’s to eat better for decades. The Austin WF mothership has (or did when I lived there) a walk through beer cooler, WF bakery offerings are hardly light fare, they’ve long carried Ben and Jerry’s and while they may not offer branded Oreos and Fruit Loops, etc. they have carried versions of it for years. I will say a positive of WF moving into areas is the local markets up their produce, etc. game.

  14. Daphne says:

    The reason people ate differently 50-60 years ago is because they lived through or were raised by parents who endured the Great Depression and then WWII. Those food habits of conserving and small portions were passed down. Also, industrial agriculture has not dominated our country yet. Perhaps he should shop at his store and see it’s mostly the non sustainable 365 brand and Amazon gimmicks, rather than products direct from farmers as his vision intended. I know not everyone can afford or has access to CSA or farmers markets. But if I splurge I try to do that. I believe that Amazon is rewriting our relationship with what we buy and has a big carbon footprint.

    • Amy Too says:

      50-60 years ago was the 60s and 70s, when my parents were kids. My grandparents still make a lot of the same recipes and it’s not exactly healthy food. Everything has canned produce either in salt for the veggies or in high fructose corn syrup for the fruits, canned cream of mushroom soup, boxed “potatoes,” etc. The recipes are basically just a mixture of various different processed and packaged foods thrown in a casserole dish and baked. My parents as kids also drank a lot of soda, ate a lot of candy, and potato chips, and cookies, and treats. And they were middle class, mid west white people. Maybe the portions were smaller. I’m sure they were, but I don’t honestly think everyone was eating super healthy whole foods back then. The 60s and 70s were the time of the frozen dinner and all sorts of new preservatives to keep food shelf stable for longer. Breakfast cereals full of sugar, crackers, cookies, boxed macaroni and cheese, etc. And fast food was huge.

      The depression and WW2 were 80 and 90 years ago. Maybe that’s the time he’s talking about and he’s just bad at estimating how many years ago that was, but crappy food and industrial farming has been going on since the 50s.

      • tcbc says:

        Some of this is cultural, too. My parents were also kids when yours were, but they never ate canned or processed food. But that’s also because they were the children of immigrants (India and Kenya, respectively), and learned an entirely different way of eating from their immigrant parents.

    • sa says:

      Also housewives. There were a lot more households back then that had someone whose job it was to cook meals for the family. I sometimes joke about how all working people need a “wife” (in the 1950s sense), so that all our home stuff will be magically taken care of for us, including having hot, well-balanced meals waiting for us when we get home from work. As it is, on any given night, I’m equally likely to have a bowl of cereal for dinner or go to a drive-thru on my way home.

  15. Minal says:

    You know, I question this narrative a bit. People say poor (ie immigrant) communities lack access, but many of us come from extremely rich and healthful food cultures, and we have found a way to continue to purchase traditional fruits and vegetables in N America at a far lower price than the rest of the population. Seriously, I used to shop at the big chain groceries; then, I realised I could get twice the variety at half the price if I went to a Chinese grocer. So my question is, how are Asian grocers in N America able to achieve this, and what can the rest of the food industry learn from them?

  16. SusieQ says:

    His comments are so insulting, but they’re not surprising. Everything in this country has been taken to this extreme idea of individual responsibility so no one looks behind the curtain to see how corporations are making us sick and poor.

    I live in rural Virginia, right on the state line with NC. There’s a Whole Foods in NC an hour away from me, and the last time I went, I was floored by the prices. And the produce was nothing to write home about.

    But my town is a little bit of a food desert. When Walmart came in 14 years ago, the Food Lion closed. We still have a Lowe’s Foods which is a nice store, but so many can only afford Walmart. And the groceries there are abysmal. I don’t grocery shop there, but that’s my privilege. We do have some amazing local orchards where you can get a huge haul of produce for under $10.

  17. Ellie says:

    I mean, I think his comments about Trump are garbage. Remaining neutral about politics stopped making sense the minute he became president, and makes even less sense now. But I disagree that it has to be that much more expensive to eat healthy IF you have access to it. Carrots, bananas, broccoli, beans, chicken – there are tons of cheap healthy options and I’ve never bought into the organic craze, for reasons other commenters have already mentioned. The flagship Whole Foods that semi recently opened in my city is in a rich neighborhood with several poor neighborhoods closeby, because that’s just how Atlanta is. Not sure if he’s counting that as inner city (I wouldn’t), but they do donate to a local nonprofit who works with urban farms and gardens to eliminate food deserts. That’s something, at least. I can’t afford to do all my shopping there, but it’s nice to have if I need raw cashews for a recipe, etc.

    • Yonati says:

      He’s not commenting on Trump because he will alienate all the cool people that shop at Whole Foods. John Mackey owns Whole Foods to make a profit; not to spread peace and love. My friend’s husband is some high level executive at WF and she says that JM is a conservative and that the only reason she shops there is because she gets a huge discount.


      • Pinkstripes says:

        Yes, he’s a right-winger. To add, he was caught posting on some forum and complimenting himself on his “cute” hair or something years back.

        “this extreme idea of individual responsibility so no one looks behind the curtain to see how corporations are making us sick and poor.” — You said it all, SusieQ!

  18. Lunasf17 says:

    I usually shop at sprouts, sometimes Sams Club too if I have to go there, they have a surprisingly good produce selection now. We are really unhealthy as a country and there are lot of reasons but it’s also not a priority for most of us. I’m mostly vegan and can eat super cheap with beans, rice, tofu and whatever vegetables are on sale. Food deserts are real and I don’t know what the solution is. I have a car and a kitchen and can buy healthy things and make them but I know many don’t have those options. But overall most suburban people who could afford to eat better just don’t and choose crappy junk over cooking fresh stuff too. Americans don’t really take responsibility for our own health a lot of times and that along with our crap for profit health care system makes our healthcare costs insane. I know bringing up size and health comes a cross as “shaming” to many but people are dying from Covid at a much higher rate who are obese, diabetic and have other lifestyle health issues. Instead of frankly addressing that we dance around the issue to not offend but people are losing their lives because their PCPs didn’t address it or even ask what they we’re eating years ago. It’s a health issue and should be treated as such.

  19. spiceupyourlife says:

    The only time I go to Whole Foods is to get a specific milk and also to get gluten free treats. Everything else is accessible at other grocery stores (and I know that is a total privilege around accessibility and availability). So Whole Foods was actually contributing to my access to junk food :) . But due to the pandemic, I’ve started ordering from Thrive Market, which has better options for my food sensitivity-laden body and doesn’t support Bezos (*brb, checking to make sure Thrive isn’t owned by Bezos lol)

    • Truthiness says:

      I go to Whole Foods for only the items that are cheaper than my other grocers. No special loyalty, just dealing with sensitivities. I don’t encounter smug people, I see a lot of people with health conditions. These days I race through and never look at anyone until I check out. One of the broths that my body loves is half the price of my regular grocery stores. I eat small amounts of gluten free items and my other stores have terrible GF offerings. The Whole Food wild caught sockeye is much less expensive than buying in bulk straight from Alaska and my body thrives on wild sockeye.

  20. Phyllis says:

    I’ve seen a few people mention the mismanagement of farmland or so many farmers only growing corn/soy, but it should be considered that the infrastructure and climate to grow fresh produce simply doesn’t exist in most agricultural regions in the US. Lettuce greens (most produce, really) need to go directly into a cooler after harvest in order to extend their life so they can be packaged and distributed before it starts to degrade. It would never be practical if a farmer wanted to grow a field of lettuce in Iowa because the cooling/packing facilities just aren’t there and no businesses will invest that type of infrastructure because not only is the growing season to short, but the weather is to erratic. This is one reason much of America’s produce is grown in California…the climate is much more consistent, so all the infrastructure was built there. Additionally, people in food desert regions used to grow much of their own produce and preserve it, but that doesn’t happen as much either. I hope no one takes this the wrong way…I’m not here trying to defend why food deserts have become a thing. Healthy affordable food should not cost more than trash food.

    Also…now that Whole Foods is owned by amazon, they could put a Whole Foods in the middle of Kansas and stock it with fresh produce every single day AND keep their pricing competitive with Walmart if they wanted. It’s just that this CEO/Bezos/‘the man’ have prioritized profit over truly providing fresh/healthy food for all people. They really could affect positive change, but the dollar is too important.

  21. BL says:

    I live on the west coast of Canada where we are fortunate to have plenty of farmers markets- but of course they are seasonal. Our WF is so expensive… 2 organic chicken breasts are about 15$ and a whole roasting chicken goes for 30$. Accessible? I don’t think so!

    • Jaded says:

      I’m lucky to live on Vancouver Island and have never set foot inside the WF just up the street, I go to the smaller markets that feature locally grown fruit/veg/poultry and fresh seafood. I gave up eating beef/pork/lamb a decade ago. As others have posted, there are vast areas in the US that grow nothing but soy and corn to feed the insatiable beef industry and the concept of the local farmer has gone out the window due to the Monsantoization of the farming industry. Just getting to stores that sell decent and healthy produce is getting more and more difficult. Many lower income, inner city folks can only shop at a corner 7-11 or similar type store, especially if they don’t have a car.

      All this to say John Mackey is a giant dick-head and clearly buys into Trump’s total lack of ethics when it comes to ensuring all Americans have access to healthy, affordable food.

  22. Angela says:

    The us pays farmers not to grow crops and also to ship to other countries fresh food.sybe change pricing and more people would be able to afford it

  23. L. Heath says:

    I don’t know why it is evil to state what many research studies have shown: one of the highest contributing factor to morbidity with COVID is obesity. In the UK (where national healthcare provides an excellent data for research) figures show that overweight and obese people make up 6 in 10 COVID deaths and 8 in 10 diagnoses. You don’t have to eat organic to eat healthy. I remember back in the 60s when President Kennedy started a nation-wide trend of fitness. It worked! There should have been a top down directive as soon as figures started showing that metabolic health was a key factor to surviving the virus — instead of a “hunker down and wait for a vaccine” (or” wait for the virus to go away”) approach. We DO have a sugar addiction. It is added to everything. Beans and rice and veggies are not expensive. Oatmeal is not expensive. It’s just not as much “fun” as sugar-ladened cereal. It is a matter of education, of a collective goal to make America more healthy. Why are we afraid to take responsibility for our own health?

    • Darla says:

      And who was gonna lead this effort? The fat f in the white house? He won’t even wear a mask, imagine him on an inspirational morning jog.

      This was said above, but IMO it cannot be said enough. Remember when W told a woman who said she worked 3 jobs that was “uniquely American”? And he said that like it was something to be proud of. Well, it’s not. And too many working poor have to work ridiculously long hours, and then come home and cook? Come on! Wake up everybody. I wont’ put on airs- other than my 5 mile morning walk I force myself to do, I sit on my ass all day long working. And I’M too tired to cook dinner.

      There is no help for the working poor which will soon be most working people btw. If it’s not already. This country is a disaster and i really hope that anyone who thinks they’re better than other people because they’ve figured out oatmeal is cheap and healthy (no!! Really!! what a discovery, let me eat it 3 meals a day that’ll solve everything!), give some thought. Maybe you’re not better than anybody. Maybe you’re just luckier.

      • Phyllis says:

        Yep, this! 👏👏👏 a living wage could/would provide so much more than just money in people’s hands! Subtract the incestuous relationship the sugar (&many others) industry has with our government along with a national campaign for healthy living…this is the kind of shit the government should be doing 😢😤

      • tcbc says:

        Excellent comment!

    • Snuffles says:

      You are completely ignoring the fact that a lot of people truly don’t know the ins and outs of eating healthy. Do they even teach this in school these days?

      I was watching a show by Jamie Oliver a while back. I think it was called Food Revolution. He had done a U.K. version of the show that encouraged the school system to have healthier food options for children. It was a great success. Then he came to the US to try and do the same. He went into a West Virginia school system to try and was completely shocked at how everyone from the local government to the school principals to the lunch ladies gave him a living hell about it and tried to block his every move.

      There was one scene where he went into a classroom to teach kids about fresh fruits and vegetables and these kids couldn’t identify ANY of them! They didn’t know a potato was what French fries were made of or that a Tomato was the main ingredient of ketchup. NO ONE EVER TAUGHT THEM FOOD BASICS!!

      • Darla says:

        Oh yeah, they hang you as a witch you start trying to bring healthy food into schools in Merica. We’re number 1!

      • Amy Too says:

        My lunch choices in high school from 2000-2005 were either 5 plain breadsticks, 2 cheese filled Bosco breadsticks, one large slice of pepperoni pizza, or 5 deep fried chicken tenders that were mostly breading. The side dish served with everything was french fries. We got a 20oz paper cup that we could fill with soda, sweet tea, or Hy-Cee fruit punch (red flavor). It was a big deal when fruit juice was added as a healthy drink. If you wanted water you had to pay extra and buy it from the vending machine. You could also pay more to go through the “salad bar” which was some very sad looking perfectly rectangularly shredded iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, tiny chopped up bits of ham, croutons, and salad dressing. There was also a snack bar that served chips, cookies, icecream sandwiches, slushees, and big pickles. Every school I’ve been to since 6th grade had a cappuccino machine for the students.

        We were not taught anything about food or where it comes from other than the food pyramid. Which I now think has been thrown out in favor of a diagram that shows a plate divided into various sections. You could take “Home Ec” or “life skills” as electives where you learned how to bake a cake.

    • Mette says:

      Yes to all this!

    • Julia says:

      I am always frustrated by comments like these, because he’s not exactly wrong: we ARE getting fatter, and people DO make bad choices. Even eating organic, fresh, seasonal food isn’t that expensive or difficult to acquire. HOWEVER, he totally fails to acknowledge that people aren’t making food choices in a vacuum. Making healthy, cheap food is usually requires more effort and time than the junkier alternative, and that matters, particularly when you’re already a tired or overworked person. My husband and I eat a mostly organic, vegetarian diet, and planning menus, shopping, and preparing food takes about 15 hours per week. That’s not a small investment!

      Plus, food is one of the few (nearly) universal pleasures we have. While Gwyneth Paltrow sneers at someone for eating processed cheese, she is living a lifestyle that is full of other joys. When a poor single mom gives up the daily doughnut that she eats on the ride to work because she wants to lose weight, she might be losing out on a significant source of pleasure in her life. Again, that’s not nothing! People are reluctant to give up something that makes them happy, particularly when so much else about their lives is difficult.

      • Doodle says:

        I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder, I’ve read the scientific journals referencing maternal trauma affecting genetic code and how that often results in obesity and depression further along the family tree (see ACES studies), I eat very healthy for the most part and yet I am still on the heavier side. But please, tell me more about oatmeal. Obviously I’m a fool. God, if only things were that simple.

      • Pinkstripes says:

        Doodle, intermittent fasting will change your life if it’s right for you (I suspect it’s right for at least 70% of the population). Getting used to the feeling of ketosis is the key. I fast most days, and it’s flexible enough you can still socialise and have eat out with friends sometimes.

      • Joanna says:

        @Julia, exactly! I was so poor that sometimes I would have to eat only at the fast food restaurant I worked at cause I didn’t have money for groceries. But I made too much for assistance since I had no children. Now that I have money, I treat myself to food I couldn’t afford before! Eating good food was not a given for me when I was broke. And by “good” food, I mean name brand cookies etc, healthy foods. Also When you’re poor, a lot of stuff that comes in bulk, you can’t afford to buy. So it’s ramen noodles or buy the things to make homemade food which is a lot more for example spices. Spices are outrageously expensive.

    • Deering24 says:

      “There should have been a top down directive …”

      Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…oh. Do go on…😈

      “…as soon as figures started showing that metabolic health was a key factor to surviving the virus — instead of a “hunker down and wait for a vaccine” (or” wait for the virus to go away”) approach…”

      Um, so people of widely different metabolisms/physiques/health situations were supposed to instantly magically “get healthy” by doing a hundred pushups, and that would have stalemated this thing? Sources, please.

  24. Enis says:

    I side eye Whole Paycheck a lot, but as someone who was diagnosed with celiac 20 years ago, they were a life saver before gluten free was cool.

  25. bml says:

    john mackey is a climate change denier and has basically said before that he doesn’t subscribe to much of the politics implicated by his customer base and just wanted/s their money so he plays up the liberal ideas while donating to more conservative campaigns. his alleged “concerns” are always outweighed by the almighty dollar.

    • Candikat says:

      @BML: This. My understanding is that JM recognized a demographic of affluent liberals in Austin whose preferences weren’t being met locally, so he cynically created a food and “wellness” mecca to separate them from their disposable wealth. He believes nothing his store preaches.

  26. Stelly says:

    I think the work life balance issue in the US is also a huge problem. It takes more time and energy to cook a healthy meal from scratch that to pop a frozen meal in the oven or microwave. A lot of people are overworked and tired and that contributes to unhealthy eating too. So some of it is convenience too. Chips and cookies and all that aren’t super cheap and can actually add a lot to your grocery bill. There are so many factors that contribute to unhealthy diets and obesity beyond access to overpriced Whole Foods stores. And 12$ (!!) oranges is not a solution for most people. Not to mention Whole Foods also still sells plenty of high sugar and high sodium junk foods themselves.

    • Arwen says:

      I also want to mention for people who live near or under the poverty line there are other factors that come into play that make healthy eating more difficult.

      1. Many healthier foods may expire quicker/may not stretch into enough meals. Even with freezing meats/produce etc if you are on food stamps and have less money in general, you are more likely to pick the box of pasta that lasts longer/goes further mealwise than the lettuce. Even if you’d rather have the lettuce.

      2. Time which was already mentioned but also transportation. If a grocery store, cheap or not, is far away, and you don’t have a car or friends and family to help drive you (many whom you might even have to pay for gas) or public transportation (not easy to find in many American areas) you are going to usually only do one big shopping trip a month and supplement what you can with whatever processed food you can find at any small stores/gas stations near you. If you are disabled that can also affect your ability to access these resources. And delivery and ubers arent cheap and many social services are also underfunded and don’t have enough resources to meet the demands.

      I work in one of those social service agencies that assist people who have mental health struggles and live near or under the poverty line. These are just some extra barriers to healthy eating that I have been educated on. In my privilege I had never been aware of these things before I started this job and its definitely worth adding to the conversation.

  27. Caridad says:

    Food availability and consumption are just symptoms. Our real problem is real education.

    Schools had to stop serving the healthful lunches advocated by Michelle Obama because some kids are taught to hate anything that (black) lady proposed. Still, other kids are taught to fear the unknown or anything different. Many kids are taught super size is normal size. They were throwing away the nutritional lunches by the ton. Access nor cost nor prep was an issue here.

    Many adults believe going meatless for just one meal is un-American and ungodly.

    Farmers have been compensated heavily to grow only corn or soy or nothing instead of fruits and vegetables. Poor education has too many believing corn is a vegetable.

    Many have forgotten or were never taught how to prepare entire meals or make ahead of time parts from scratch ingredients that can span a whole work week. Others have one, two or three jobs that consume the time needed for healthful cooking at home.

    All of this can be resolved with education to change mistaken, misguided, ill-formed, uninformed and damaged ways of living. But real education has so many obstacles right now. I’m not sure this will be fixed in five or six generations from now.

  28. Snuffles says:

    @Amy Too

    Thanks for sharing and perfectly illustrating exactly what I was talking about. Horrifying, isn’t it?

    The US does not take this stuff seriously. Other countries do. Like others here mentioning their experiences in Europe. I was watching a documentary on Japanese schools and their lunch programs. The difference was night and day! They had nutritionists in school planning the school lunches every week to make sure they were healthy, well rounded meals. Produce, meat and dairy came from the local farms. The older kids participated in meal prep. Meals were made from scratch. They were sent to the local farm to learn about farming. It was amazing!

    And the US gets nothing but junk food!

  29. Snowbunny says:

    I read a great tweet on this that was something to the effect of: it’s only possible to make good choices when the choices ACTUALLY available to you are good.

    Kaiser, thanks for addressing this which such sensitivity.

    Locally, a new sort of community food pantry which is gives out all vegan and halal food has opened up. Not surprising from the comments here, which speak about the accessibility to good fresh good outside the US, this food pantry was started by refugees. It has a green juice bar, and gives out bags of kale and gallons of olive oil. It doesn’t means test. I make monthly cash donations to it, and they source the food. No more dropping off canned green beans thinking I’m doing my part…!

  30. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Whole Foods air-conditions its places with their own farts. There’s a poor neighborhood where I live and a local chef decided to close his fancy soul food restaurant (excuse me…neo soul) and opened a food mart in the middle of this area. You wouldn’t believe the prices. His bottled sauces are premium priced. Yam skin molasses, okra seed oil, Carolina gold rice ice cream, chicken rosemary breakfast sausage and yellow barbecue sauce. It’s ludicrous.

    Every family I’ve ever worked with, visited, helped or been involved in any capacity is looking for affordable. And by affordable, I’m talking cheap. People in need don’t shell out non-existent bucks for specialty items. If people are truly concerned about the country’s food situation, then like the health care issue, the most important aspect is cost. Mother f@ckers know this. Yeah sure locally-sourced food is awesome, fresh and super healthy. But it’s expensive as well.

    I remember growing up in the Rio Grande and there were produce stands every couple of miles. Everything fabulous. Everything cheap. And I’m currently super lucky. I can have groceries delivered, asking for whatever I want. I utilize HEB, Thrive, Trader Joes, Aldi’s, Michoacana, and we’re on a local farmer’s market list who sells products from area farms… anything from eggs to seafood arriving fresh daily. I just put in an order and we drive through for pickup. This wasn’t always the case.

    I know what it’s like to not know when you’ll be able to buy groceries again. There were times when my list (if I was lucky enough to have one) included a bag of rice, a bag of beans, ramens, a loaf of whatever they had under a dollar and dogs or bologna under a dollar. Buying fresh was a splurge. And if you think powdered milk costs less than fresh milk, you’d be surprised. We were constantly adjusting and taking from one bill to add to another. If a place we needed to be wasn’t on route, we waited until it would be, consolidating drive times and gas usages. Mr. Whole Foods doesn’t know shit about shit. Not about areas without food. Not about areas with food but no available options. These people, I swear.

    • Amy Too says:

      I remember meticulously writing down and adding up the cost of every single thing I put in my cart when grocery shopping. Sometimes I’d still get to the register and have to have them take things off because I didn’t calculate the tax properly for things like the toilet paper and tin foil. It took FOREVER to grocery shop that way and I never got to buy everything on my list. And this is when my family probably needed the most nutritious food we could get. My partner and I were both working tough jobs with long hours that required us to be on our feet and moving around a lot, he was doing huge amounts of physical labor, first I was pregnant, and then we had a baby who turned into a young child to feed. We rarely slept, we had no time ever, we could have used the boost of some healthy, vitamin-packed, nutritious food, and instead I’m buying the worst, cheapest version of everything, and skipping out on the produce most of the time because fruits and vegetables were a “luxury” since they cost so much and didn’t last as long. And we were vegetarians! So we were basically eating cheese sandwiches and peanut butter toast for most of our meals. I wish I could have afforded to feed my son a greater variety of foods when he was little, especially things like fruit and vegetables and home cooked meals with multiple ingredients and spices, because it has taken a very long time to finally get him to accept new foods and different fruits and vegetables now. His palate was formed during the time we were super poor and now we have more money, but it’s hard to get someone to try a bell pepper when they’ve never ever had one in the 12 years of their life. I think that unfortunately happens to a lot of American kids. They’re raised on bread and cereal, mashed potatoes, milk, and chicken nuggets, maybe applesauce or bananas because those food are cheap and easy to make and serve. But then we end up with a bunch of school aged children who have never even seen a tomato, or plum, or a vegetable stir fry and they’re freaked out when/if those things are offered to them, so they end up continuing on with the chicken nuggets and sandwiches into adulthood. That’s probably why schools mostly offer things like pizza and breadsticks and chicken nuggets and hotdogs for lunch. Because that’s what kids will eat. We have to start earlier with feeding our babies and toddlers a variety of different foods, produce, and recipes that include more than one ingredient. But the food is expensive and time consuming to make. So we’re stuck in this cycle.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I hear everything you’re saying. First thing first, you’ll be surprised when your kids get older, they’ll be your garbage disposal lol. My kids responded to helping put away groceries, organizing a meal and helping me cook it. Watching my spawn put away red peppers and a container of hummus is a bit exciting lol! Making Greek yogurt gets it eaten 5x faster. Little tricks here and there, and you’ll start complaining about an empty fridge and pantry.

        And kudos to you for making it through some tough times. I’m not exactly sure anyone can truly understand unless they’ve been there. It’s all-encompassing and touches every part of existence

  31. McMom says:


    Pretentious, overpriced and overrated. Their prepared food is mediocre. In TX, we have Central Market and that’s a much happier place.

  32. Hildog says:

    Eating well in America is truly a luxury (as are all aspects of being healthy). It’s not just about being able to buy fresh, healthy foods, but also about having the time and knowledge to prepare them.

  33. Ishqthecat says:

    A healthy diet (i.e. as whole food plant-based as possible) doesn’t have to be more expensive and complicated than an unhealthy (standard American one). As suggested earlier in this thread, watch Forks Over Knives. I would like to add the following: read How Not to Die by Michael Greger. Of course, fresh and organic and locally sourced would be great but tonnes of plant-based staples are often not even bought fresh and are very cheap- e.g. beans, lentils, porridge oats, root vegetables. We can only grow fresh produce for a short part of year where I live and I do get jealous of fresh tropical fruits when I have to make do with boring, un-crunchy apples stored in my attic over the winter, but I am sure a bag of dried lentils makes just as good a lentil stew here in Sweden as it does in the US :-D

  34. SpankFD says:

    My friend — a female POC — met 5he Whole Foods executive committee/Board after her company was acquired. Despite WF’s grassroots earth-first marketing its executives share NONE of WHs espoused value. They are just a bunch of entitled white Christian hetero cis men content to burn down the world to make a profit. Much like the Self- dealer in Chief.

  35. Boo says:

    I have been lurking here for years and finally posting.

    I am lactose intolerant, vegetarian and a longtime eater of food labeled organic. I was raised by new age parents so I do the occasional yoga session.

    I know that for many WF seems like a joke. But for years they were the best option for getting foods I could eat. Their success became the model for Krogers snd Wal-Marts to see the potential in carrying organic, dairy free and vegan goods.