Health food stores first started entering the marketplace in the 1920s and 30s. However, they didn’t become popular until the 1960s and 70s, which is sometimes attributed to the ecology and counterculture movements. Health food stores are grocery stores that provide to their customers organic foods, local produce, health foods, and, frequently, nutritional supplements. The appeal of health food stores is that they offer a more specialized selection of these foods to their customers.
As a result, health foods stores are popular among vegetarians, vegans, athletes, bodybuilders, people with restricted diets due to food allergies, and other specialized diets. Of course, the health food store customers are not limited to these groups of people, anyone who is interested in buying a specialty product or improving their diet might also be a customer.
These are many different reasons why someone might want to shop at a whole food store. Listed below are some of the most common reasons.
1. A focus on health
As mentioned above, health food stores specialize in health foods. As a result, for a health conscious customer, shopping at a health food store can mean a significantly healthier diet. Not only does shopping at a health food store allow one to swap their regular grocery variety items for healthier alternatives, but it can also introduce its customers to new health foods that the customer might enjoy. Shopping in a health food store can also be an educational experience as it can teach you more about nutrition an how it can affect your health.
While there is no official definition for the term “health food,” there are terms that are frequently associated with it: organic, whole, macrobiotic, natural, and others.
- Organic – Organic foods are foods that comply with the standards for organic farming in your country or area. This frequently means that the food was grown with a limited amount of pesticides and fertilizer. Organic farming also strives to promote biodiversity, cycle resources, and promote ecological balance.
- Whole – Whole foods are usually plant foods that have been minimally processed and are either unrefined or are minimally refined. Whole grains are perhaps the best examples of a food that is frequently labeled as “whole” but it can also be used in regard to legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
- Macrobiotic – A macrobiotic food is a food that adheres to the principals of a macrobiotic diet, a diet that is associated with traditional Chinese teachings or Zen Buddhism. The diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, seaweed products, fermented soy products, and different seeds.
- Natural – Like the term “health food,” there is no exact definition that is associated with the term “natural” but it usually means a food that has been minimally processed and/or contains a minimal amount of food additives such as sweeteners, coloring, flavoring, hormones, and antibiotics.
2. Environmentally conscious
Health food stores tend to be more environmentally conscious and, as a result, their businesses frequently leave a smaller carbon footprint on the local and the world’s environments. Health food store items frequently strive to implement eco-friendly alternatives in their business models, e.g., recycling.
3. Helping out your local community
Health food stores are also frequently involved in their local farming community and help support it. Many health food stores choose to support their local farmers by purchasing and selling their produce.
4. A sense of community
Due to the fact that health food stores are environmentally conscious and frequently choose to support their local farmers, these stores frequently create a sense of community for their customers. If you are passionate about your community and want to support it, shopping at a health food store is a great way to go about accomplishing such a goal.