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Mar 26, 2013 11:04 AM

Whole Foods: quality of their preapared foods.

As I travel a lot since many years, and out of habit, enter a Whole Foods now and then to buy a meal - although I should know better by now. Today, after such a visit, had to throw over half of what I bought. This has happened before.

- rice was undercooked, almost raw. It was called Basmati, but was not fragrant.
- soups and mashed potatoes contain a large quantity of a disgusting-tasting cooking oil.
- Roast beef from deli: at up to $ 22 a pound - tough and tasteless.
- Risotto balls that are not made with risotto rice, but a low quality rice.
- Carots with unwashed green herbs that contain sand.
- Lentils that are not cooked properly.
- Chicken that's pink inside.

The thing is, one cannot contact Whole Foods about their low quality, one has to contact the specific store. Corporate seems responsible for the recipes, yet the customer cannot give them feedback.

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  1. The prepared foods recipes are regional, not national, and the offerings vary by store. That's why you're supposed to direct your complaints to the specific location. Plus, it sounds as though the problems you've encountered have more to do with preparation/cook error than recipes. I'd approach the store manager & the supervisor of the prepared foods team first, and if that doesn't help you can always contact your regional office or the world headquarters in Austin.

    Or send an e-mail to the customer service department at headquarters:

    1. I don't buy much of the prepared food at the deli or at the hot or cold food bar, but I often buy the prepared holiday meals and the packaged prepared foods. I think that the difference between the two is that the former is made in-house and at least in my store the latter is made off-site. I love the prepackaged soups particularly the chili and will occasionally get a bowl of soup from the hot food bar which is always quite good. I also quite enjoy the prepared foods. Other than the salad bar, the food bars never seemed very enticing to me. Even the salad bar I avoid as I had one to many experiences with really dry chicken and the food on the hot bar and even on the mixed salad portion of the cold bar and the deli section always seemed dry and unappealing so I don't think it's just you. However, I will vouch for the pre-packaged prepared foods and holiday dinners though they might be in a separate category.

      1. Thanks for both answers. Glad to know it's not just me who finds the prepared foods at WF unappealing, and also think it is due to the cooks, I wonder about whether they get any training. I can have just a serving of mashed potatoes, but not when they are loaded with oil such as a couple of months ago.
        Although my screen name may imply otherwise, "simple" and fresh is what I am looking for. When traveling (which is often), I used to go into a WF when I saw one, to get a little rice and veggies or beans or pasta for later in the evening. Being somewhere only for a day, cannot go back to the store to give feedback the next day. Had the impression that it was WF culture as such that has declined.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kaiseki

          I didn't state my personal opinion of their prepared foods earlier, but for the record, I'm not a fan. It's all either swimming in oil, over-salted, or bland. I think a lot of the dishes have potential, but the recipes need tweaking and the execution leaves much to be desired.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yes, the execution leaves much to be desired. That's it exactly.

            I wonder if the local food prepareres/cooks need proper training?

        2. I'm so glad I'm not alone in hating the prepared foods at WF!

          They look oh so enticing and yummy in the case or on the hot bar. But I've learned that unless I can sample it to make sure its ok, I better not buy it.

          I do like many of their prepared soups... those seem to generally come out ok (and at least its easy to sample those beforehand)