alexandra martineau/for metro toronto


All of Whole Foods Market’s products are either natural or organic, marketing manager Jim Empey says.

While average grocery stores are losing their health-conscious clientele over growing concerns about what goes into foods, Whole Foods Market is booming.

These concerns are what make Whole Foods popular, according to Jim Empey, marketing manager for the Toronto store.

“More people are concerned with additives in their food, artificial things that they are not sure of, as well as growth hormones and antibiotics that average grocery stores could have in their meat.”

There are no average products in this store, as everything goes through a screening process.

“Anyone who wants to sell their product in our store has to go through an audit process to make sure that they meet our standards for quality,” he says.

For instance, producers of meat have to abide by Whole Foods’ animal compassion standards.

All of Whole Foods’ products are either natural or organic. “There’s nothing artificial, no artificial chemicals, preservatives, no hydrogenated fats,” he says.

Empey says customers can ask Whole Foods’ employees to open up and test any product. “A customer can ask us to try any product in the store.”

But Empey says certain products and services are not to be missed:

  • All fish products available in the store are from Whole Foods’ own wharf in the United States.

  • The profits made from the Blessing Baskets go back to the African women who make them. “(They) have been able to turn their lives around from poverty and prostitution,” Empey says.

  • With more than 400 types of cheeses, Whole Foods has the largest selection in the city, he says.

  • Whole Foods has its own line of 365 organic products.

  • Wholes Foods carries nine types of store-made sausages.

  • The store carries a large variety of fruits.

  • Beauty products found in the store have not been tested on animals, Empey says.

  • The bread at Whole Foods is right out of the oven. “A lot of stores get partially baked breads but we start from scratch everyday.”

  • Whole Heart is the street-level café that is unique to the Toronto store. “It's a restaurant where everything is natural,” he says.

And if you're still not satisfied after buying some of these products, you can always get your money back, as Whole Foods has a good return policy.