Your Guide to Local Health-Based Grocers
We all get stuck in grocery ruts from time to time — driving to the same ol’ national store chain, complacently tossing questionable food products in the cart, tediously pushing past the brightly colored displays of bagged sugar and pre-processed meals. While shopping familiar may be comfortable, why not do your body a favor and zest up your grocery trip with these local stores! These Austin favorites make your wellness their business.
Nestled in 3 locations (Guadalupe St., Arbor Walk in North Austin, and Cedar Park), Natural Grocers is the ideal place to find organic, nutritious, and eco-friendly products. Founded in 1955 by Margaret and Philip Isley, Natural Grocers’ customer service revolves arrow their 5 Founding Principles:
- Nutrition Education
- Highest Quality Products
- Affordable Pricing
- Commitment to Community
- Commitment to Employees
They stock their shelves with superior quality organic produce (no conventionally grown veggies here!); cage-free eggs and free range dairy; a large variety of vegan and gluten-free products; naturally derived vitamins, supplements, and essential oils; sustainable cleaning, pet care, and paper products; and responsibly-made beauty and body care products!
Natural Grocers is so committed to the well-being of their customers, they even have an extensive list of ingredients that they refuse to sell…as well as free weekly seminars focusing on personal fitness, diet, and wellness. If you’re in a pinch and can’t find the correct bin for your waste, simply walk in and toss it in their trash/paper/plastic reciprocals (perfect for unwanted plastic bags!)
Located both in central Austin (off of Guadalupe St) and south Austin (S. Lamar and Hwy. 71), Wheatsville Co-op was founded in 1976 with a mission to:
“…create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and non-exploitation.”
On top of providing affordable organic, vegan, gluten-free, and responsibly sourced products, Wheatsville also has a health-minded deli, taco bar, and salad bar for any hungry customer on-the-go! Their produce section is divided between organic and conventionally grown fruit and veggies, with each item clearly marked and affordable.
Wanna own a chunk of Wheatsville? Simply donate a one-time payment of $70 and you’re in the club!
Sprouts Farmers Market
Straddling Austin with 2 south locations and one up north along Hwy. 183, Sprouts’ open and inviting atmosphere ushers you into a land where nuts and grains are sold in barrels, vegetables sit in colorful rows along each wall, and fruits await you in the middle of the aisle!
Founded in 2002, Sprouts quickly expanded cross the U.S. in hopes of providing customers with health-conscious food. The grocer sells conventionally grown produce, but has embraced organic, vegan, and gluten-free foods with gusto.
Adhering to a self-made mission called “Responsible Retailing“, Sprouts only buys from suppliers who recognize the environment, animal welfare, and laborer welfare; donates food to local hunger relief agencies; hosts an online community for nutritious recipes and health-minded articles; a series of free monthly events; and diverts waste to both composting and recycling programs.
Special Note: Whole Foods Market
We end our guide with this organic retail behemoth, located conveniently in both north (at the Domain) and south (on S. Lamar) Austin. Whole Foods is notoriously the most expensive health-conscious grocer in the city, and despite the controversy revolving around some of their less “wholesome” products, pricing, and practices, it is still a hub for consumers seeking organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and responsibly sourced foods.
Nearly 40 years after its founding in Austin, Whole Foods is now a national contender in eco- and health-minded products, acting as a forum for in-store events (centered on fitness and healthy eating); adhering to a strict 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating; maintaining awareness in seafood sustainability; and donating to global poverty and children’s nutrition through charity.
Your new favorite health-foods store awaits!