Is Whole Foods hypocritical ? or merely inconsistent ?
In common with much of what I read on this Board, I like a lot of things about Whole Foods -except the prices !
HOWEVER, what really bugs me - and I wonder what others feel about this - is their refusal to sell Diet Coke (or for that matter, I suppose regular Coke !)
Diet soft drinks have provided for me, as for many who struggle with their weight, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a liquid refreshment whose slight astringency pairs well with most foods, while adding no calories to our consumption.
Whole Foods contains counter after counter of - fat-filled cheeses, sugar-laden pulled pork, fat-laced beef, cream soups, caloric pastries, pizzas with lots of cheese and meat, etc.... All delicious to be sure - maybe indeed made with "natural" products or raised by whatever organic dictates are in vogue, but by no stretch of the imagination are they "healthy."
Liquid-wise, they offer sucrose-heavy "all natural" beverages, chocolate milk made with 4% milk as opposed to the usual 2% and so forth. All good too !
So in the big scheme of things, one wonders why Diet Coke and its cousins can't be allowed into the mix. I find it intensely annoying to have to stop at a second store to buy what for me, as for many others, is our liquid of choice.
Their line of thinking is "natural foods" only. Natural fats and natural sugars, high or low, are accepted in the organic/natural way of food consumption.
Whole foods is not a diet store, they promote natural eating - thats why the diet coke is not permitted on their shelves.
Heh, they are most likely both of those things (hypocritical and inconsistent). But I'm not sure it relates to this issue. On this one I think it's more that they are too strictly adhering to what they see as their mission. I'm sure you're not the only one who would find more convenience if they carried some diet soft drinks, either existing brands (there are many available without being Coke and Pepsi) or developing their own house brand. (BTW their house all-sugar cola really sucks, wayyyy too sweet!) But somewhere along the line they decided that diet soft drinks were not "natural" and didn't fit. You could write to them and see how they respond, could be interesting. I used to care about this but don't actually shop much at Whole Foods anymore and have cut down a bit on Diet Pepsi.
They do carry some no-cal sweeteners I believe, but I'm not sure if any of those have ever been put into a soft drink successfully.
Whole Foods has a list of ingredients they don't allow:
Diet sodas of any kind are bound to have at least one of those ingredients and so won't be at Whole Foods any time soon. In this case, I don't think there's any hypocrisy: it's arguable that the things on this list are not defensible as a part of one's diet in any amount where cheeses, pastries, pizzas and such can be enjoyed in reasonable amounts as a part of a reasonable diet.
I look at it like this...eat and drink what ever you want. Learn portion control and do some form of exercise every day. Instead of getting on the elevator to go up or down 1-2 floors use the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot and walk and anything else you can think of. The little things add up fast.
It is strange that they would have everthing but diet drinks though...means one more place to stop at on the way home, just to get drinks. Time to go work off all those hot wings I eat for lunch.
I don't think the Coke issue is so bad, although I don't drink the stuff at all. I refuse to ingest chemical sweeteners, I'm trying to cut out most - if not all - HFCS, and I'd like to lose a few pounds. ;)
A gigantic new Whole Foods just opened up a few miles from my house a few months ago. It seems as though it's the size of a Wal-Mart. Half of it is hot food cases. I often wonder how much of that food goes to utter waste since it doesn't really seem to be selling all that well. A lot of it always looks like it's been sitting there awhile. Not to mention it's expensive!! It also bums me out that as soon as the second gigando Whole Foods opens a few miles from my house in the opposite direction, they will be closing my favorite teeny Whole Foods store. The big ones are just too daunting for me. Takes way too long for me to get in and out of there. I guess that's why I try to do most of my shopping at Trader Joe's. It's closer anyways.
I don't think WF can win everyone's approval. It's gotten slammed on these boards for carrying any conventional products at all by some posters who claim WF is trying to have it both ways. I don't think it's hypocritical or inconsistent in that they are a natural food store and Coke and its derivatives can't claim that.
I don't think it's hypocritical or inconsistent at all. WF is a natural food retailer, and there are few things less natural than commercial diet soda! Are they inconsistent in other areas? Maybe, but when it comes to Diet Coke, their decision not to carry it seems perfectly aligned with their mission.
And no, "natural" doesn't always equal "healthy," and I don't think WF tries to pretend that it does. "Healthy" (in the traditional low-cal, low-fat sense) isn't really their mission.
As many have mentioned below, they dont carry foods with aspartame or any unnatural sweeteners. Even the coffee bar only offers raw sugar. The fats they have in the food there are non trans and dont contain processed oils- it doesnt equate to being low fat but still food that you at least know is natural.
As for diet coke and such, I love the fact that they dont offer aspartame because after giving it up a few months back after feeling horrible and weak (drinking about 6 diet cokes a day and tons of sweeteners) I felt like a new man. In other grocery stores I have to read all the packaging and find out whether the aspartame warning is on the can or bottle. I dont have to worry about this at whole foods and its great!
To me, its worth paying extra and worth the calories. There is a reason their drinks have more calories, they dont have the fake chemicals and I for one thank them for that.
At least at the Whole Foods by me they do have at least one type of diet soda - diet versions of Steaz Green Tea Soda. It's sweetened with cane juice and is 60 calories per bottle. I had the black cherry-flavored one yesterday; it wasn't bad.
I have three comments
1. Diet Coke is 'a liquid refreshment whose slight astringency pairs well with most foods'? Really? All those sommeliers out there must be feeling pretty foolish.
2. Stopping at a second store is 'intensely annoying'? Really? It's that bad?
3. As others have noted. Whole Foods markets itself as selling natural and organic foods' not 'diet' foods.
I don't think it's hypocritical at all. It's not about the fat, it's about the food being natural! Diet soda is laced with all sorts of chemicals that have been doing g-d knows what to our bodies. Cheeses and meats are what we are supposed to eat.
One thing I found funny was they made a big deal awhile back that they were no longer going to sell live lobsters and crabs. When I asked the guy behind the counter why they still sell clams and mussels he just stared back.
I'd (and this is slightly off topic, I suppose) consider making/buying either iced tea (c. sinesis) iced hibiscus tea, or iced yerba mate--there's some evidence that, while zero calories, diet coke isn't an ideal 'diet' food.