Whole Foods Bans 54% of Food from Wal-Mart


It is amazing to me that the whole world seems to be waking up and realizing the problem with our food industry.  It seems that conversations we couldn’t have just 10 years ago for fear our friends would think we were total “granola hippies” are happening more frequently.  The awareness and connection between the rise in chronic illnesses and obesity is finally sinking in.  In a recent and very interesting study, Ben Blatt of Slate Magazine revealed some interesting statistics about offerings at Wal-Mart vs. Whole Foods.

According to Blatt’s research, Whole Foods bans roughly 54% of Wal-Mart’s fare due to the presence, in its words, of “unacceptable ingredients for foods.” These 78 banned ingredients include everything from recognizable sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup to the tongue-tying dimethylpolysiloxane.

The choices being made by Whole Food and other natural grocers are now becoming much more mainstream and as a result, places like Wal-Mart may begin losing ground.

For example, it’s no surprise that shoppers would be hard-pressed to find a liter of Coke or bag of Doritos at Whole Foods, but Blatt discovers that even household brands ranging from Minute Maid lemonade to Cracker Barrel cheese are deemed unworthy for Whole Foods’ choosy clientele. Whole Foods claims these foods fall short of “safety, necessity, manufacturing methods and compatibility with our overall core values.”

97% of the soft drinks sold at Wal-Mart contain ingredients that Whole Foods considers “unacceptable.” If you ever wondered why a Whole Foods drink aisle makes you feel like you’re in a foreign country, well, there’s your explanation.

Wal-Mart’s “Great Value 100% Whole Wheat Bread” contains seven ingredients that Whole Foods scoffs at, including everything from high-fructose corn syrup to calcium propionate. Not one or two “unacceptable” items, but seven. All in a staple product that you have to imagine just flies off the shelves. We’re not talking about an obscure frozen dinner here; we’re talking about sandwich bread.

If consumers continue to become more educated through channels such as Natural News and other great sources of healthy living information, we can continue to demand real food from our stores and not ever have to settle for less.  Let’s celebrate the wins and keep fighting the good fight for our health and the health of our friends and families.

Resource: Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell

Healthy Living Blog

Samantha Clove
Samantha Clove is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. She enjoys learning and teaching anything that helps people live natural and healthy lives.
  • AJ Bishop

    For people like me that don't have a lot of money and can't afford health insurance, medical bills OR healthy foods it is hard to buy the food that I KNOW is good for me. Society has kept us clinging for so long that we don't know any other way but to slowly kill ourselves. It isnt that we dont WANT to make the choice to purchase higher quality, its that we can't PAY for it financially so we end up paying with our lives and health…. It is a game some of us cant win. 🙁

    • Mordecai

      So you work at Walmart then?

    • Guest

      Well said. I agree. I mean when you can't find a healthy loaf of bread that is downright sad. So many people are having stomach aches (myself included) after ingesting food or even vitamins (I took some new vitamins that I THINK was what made me sick). Poisons are in just about EVERYTHING! It's a darn shame that these poisons are in our food thanks to the FDA and other CORPORATIONS. USA Corp doesn't care about our health. Unless we are dying or dead….then they probably High-5 each other. Great comment filled with TRUTH AJ. Thank you.

    • kathylewis

      Very true AJ Bishop! We do the best we can but have to frequent food banks to get by and they don't always have the healthiest choices. All we can do is make the changes we can afford and avoid as much as possible.

    • Michael

      Yes, our food choices for healthy-affordable food are less and less, but they're there. The more we educate ourselves, we can educate others. Grocery stores stop stocking items, and restaurants stop offering food that doesn't sell. Keep doing what you're doing and advising others to do the same. Just be sure to stay away COMPLETELY from Walmart's seafood. The majority of it is loaded with sodiumtripolyphosphate (SP?) that is used to hold more moisture (so you'll pay much more because the seafood if full of water)-even though meat is already 65% water, but it's very toxic to some people! The USDA has become worthless as far as protecting us from diseased or toxic food.

    • karen

      I used to agree with you, however, after I decided to stop buying all processed foods and almost all meat (after realizing its not a staple for a healthy heart), I have plenty of money to spend on vegetables and fruits. We eat very minute amounts of meat/eggs/dairy and mostly vegetables and fruit and beans. I have no problem affording these things now that I don't buy processed anything. I understand where you are coming from, but I think some of it is a choice. I try to go to a farmers market and started growing my own as well. Looking for a persimmon tree now, already have a pear and lemon tree in the yard. Good luck to you in a healthy food quest.

      • Amen! You have totally gotten it right. If you choose healthy eating costs even out. just cutting out fast food and processed mixes you will save money. Its a choice and you can be proactive if you make it a priority! Thanks, Sammy

    • markv

      And yet you can afford a computer to post this with. Something smells fishy here…

      • Regina

        I use computers at libraries. Not everyone who uses computers has their own.

    • Nana

      Start by planting a garden this summer? Seeds are rather inexpensive…and I already know you are going to say you don't have space….many things can be grown in flower pots…or anything you have laying around like a bucket.

    • Sherri

      So true. Whole Foods is high and organic at other chains is also expensive. Those who cannot afford to eat well do pay in the long run. Perhaps Whole Foods has a foundation that will step in and fill the gap for those families wanting to shop there? I do know that we need to consume less food when consuming whole and healthy, nutrient-dense foods, however the cost is still so high it is prohibitive to so very many.

    • sarveshii

      you can educate yourself on how to live simple and go "back to the basics" grow your own food, collect rainwater, and study herbal medicine. give up your attachments and depend on nobody but yourself. your a natural human being living on this God given land. its time to wake up from this corporate driven delusion. NO excuses!

    • Amber

      Hi AJ
      I had to write you as I felt that you needed to hear that there are other ways that you can "win the game". I know this from experience- 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus/sjogrens and then about 2.5 years ago I had a stroke and have been dealing with since. I am pretty young and had all of this happen when I was in my early 30's. I thought I was taking care of myself eating what "they' tell you to eat etc. But I found out that what I was eating has been a BIG part of the problem. I have learned so much about food and health and have made DRAMATIC changes in my/family food choices. We cut out ALL food with any GMO ingrediants, we eat as much organic fruits and veg as possible and eat as little processed food as possible.
      At first I thought this would be impossible as I am not able to work because of my illness yet. Then I found out that by eating real food we actually SAVE money each month. We bought 50lb bag of organic steel cut outs for under $70 then put it in those food sealer bags (we owned the machine already). This amount of oatmeal lasts us at least 6 months. We also buy bulk quantities of real organic food like Quinoa and flours. This saves us so much and we really only have to spend our money on fruits and veggies and raw milk and eggs.

      If you spend 30 minutes or so a day you can also grow your own veggies in summer (or year round in other places). We bake bread in 5 minutes a day by keeping a dough going in our fridge – buy book "Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day"- think that was the name.

      In the summer if you eat a lot of what you grow you really are only spending money on dairy and eggs. What I found out is that eating right foods is all about choices. I really had no idea of far out of "healthy" almost all normal food at the store is. Now if we go to a normal grocery store we literally do not go through any aisles- it is only the outsides of the stores.

      Try it and you will find out that it can be MUCH cheaper and MUCH healthier to eat the way we are actually supposed to be eating. There are a lot of great blogs – search homesteading, these talk about how to eat real food. You don't have to become a homesteader but they definitely know how to buy food least expensive ways and to cook with real food.

      Good luck to you. I hope you try this route as it will save you from everything that I went through and have had to give up as a result.

      • Nicely put! Very sound advice. Thanks for sharing your story.


      • Bonnie Kaake

        @Amber: Excellent reply. Now, cut out the meat, dairy and eggs and you will be even healthier and pay less for groceries. The most nutritious bread at Whole Foods will cost you $6 a loaf, making your own will cost less than $1. Eating beans, rice and grains instead of meat will make you healthier as well.

    • Denise

      AJ I understand where your coming from but, you could start with making food from scratch and more whole type foods and when you see sales on organic or natural foods that may help. First keep this in mind if a fruit or vegetable has a skin you peel off than eat you do not need to spend the extra money to buy it organic as the chemicals would not reach the inside of the fruit or veggies. Eliminate eating foods with high fructose corn syrup and the less ingredients in something the better it will be for you. Hope this helps! As you eat healthier whole foods you won't need medical as much as you will stay healthy.

    • Jennifer

      I don't know what part of the country you reside in but Safeway grocery stores are selling high quality products under the Open Nature brand at a not Whole Foods price, also they own the O organic brand which can be found at many stores and is a great viable organic option.

    • anon

      grocery list of inexpensive, healthful foods:

      raw sunflower and flax seeds
      frozen mixed veg
      dried lentils and other beans
      carrots–big bag
      potatos–big bag
      big bag apples
      big bag oranges
      yogurt–tub of plain
      chicken–boneless skinless

    • Kev

      At the very least one could cut out the soda products mentioned and other drinks that contain aspartame. We did this by purchasing Trader Joe's flavored seltzer water and used stevia natural sweetener.

      Also by avoiding high fructose corn syrup would help.

  • nobody

    I'm always wondering why its Walmart that gets attacked or mentioned in all the OMG stories….how about Presidents choice, safeway, save on and iga's etc………..they buy their goods from the exact same places Walmart does………..

    So keep it fair when you are throwing things under the buses wheels.

    • larry

      Walmart sells crap food and treats it's workers like crap too.

    • kathylewis

      True nobody…And there are still GMO products in many of our health food stores. Buy what you can that's good and what you can afford no matter what store you're in.

    • Jennifer Sutherland

      because Walmart has most of the Market.

  • nobody

    of course you want to censore comments why am I not surprised at this……..you only want the good to be said….well guess I will start my own page 🙂

  • Sam Bynum

    I have become more careful as to what is in the food In my days, 40's and so on. We did not need to get "green" we already were. I make my own bread because of the additives. I am purchasing Chickens from a Farm in South County. WALMART vs Whole Foods…..well, if a person is living on a limited fixed income…the prices at Whole Foods do not fit into the budget.

    • Pete

      The nearest Whole Foods is 2 1/2 hours from me, adds to cost of shopping there

    • Bruce

      Fortunately, you don't have to shop at "Whole Paycheck" to find healthy food. You just have to read labels. Go as natural as you can. When we eliminated soft drinks, dairy and most meat from our diet, it's amazing how affordable organic produce suddenly becomes.

      • Bonnie Kaake

        You are soooo right! It is not expensive to eat healthy and smart by eliminating these items from your grocery list and taking the time to cook. I would even say eliminate all meat products for the best health. If you haven't yet, watch the documentary "Forks Over Knives".

    • Sherri

      I agree. Whole Foods prices are beyond many budgets. I believe most people would prefer to avoid the prepackaged garbage out there. Drop the price point at Whole Foods and they will come!!!

  • Reiko

    The name on the outside of a box or can makes no difference , the problem is most people do not read the ingredients . because the box or can say's all natural ,all natural WHAT?? PEOPLE READ THE INGREDIANTS …don't be HOODWINKED into buying something that you don't really want just because of the outside labeling

  • marilynbarnard

    Foods that Wal-Mart sells foods here in the US that are banned in foreign countries. Believing that our government wouldn't allow it to be sold if it wasn't OK is hazardous to your health! Foods that "stay fresh forever" are pumped full of preservatives that do not allow them to break down…and consequently, they do not breakdown as nutrition in our bodies so they become fat. Look around you at the obesity conditions. It's not HOW MUCH someone eats causing them to gain weight, but what chemicals they are ingesting. Do your research.

  • Tina Knighten

    Its about time someone took the lead on these dangerous food and took steps to do something about it!

  • Airangel

    I don't like the personal attack on WalMart because Target, Fred Meyer, Albertson's, Safeway, etc, all sell the same soft drinks and High Fructose and chemically laden ingredients in the same brands like Pepsi, Coke, Keebler, Frito Lay, etc. Target the manufacturers of these products to reformulate their producs, not the stores that sell them. I have found more and more organic produce and breads like Daves bread in WalMart so keep the message of better ingredients, better health and not these biased attacks. Consumer demand is making these stores stock more selections of non-GMO and less chemically altered wholesome foods. All of us can demand our local stores carry and stock more brands by writing in and letting the store managers know. It works. Get active that way, it's more positive.

    • kathylewis

      Yes Airangel, you are so right!

    • Believer


    • guest

      I agree with you, BUT they can never "reformulate" processed food products to be healthier BECAUSE they are food PRODUCTS. They are by their very nature chemical formulations. They will never BE REAL FOOD. And sadly, there will always be a market for it, there is always that element of society that cares not a whit about their health until it is too late…and they may still never understand the correlation of good nutrition = good health. It's just not on alot of people's radar…

    • Dry & Happy

      very well said …

  • davekenny2014

    Wal- Mart wins because of price and price only
    When Whole Foods closes that gap then and only then
    is wholesale change on the horizon

    • Ed jackson

      It seems that Whole Foods is worse than Walmart, according to the recent NaturalNews article. NaturalNews isn't suing Walmart, so WholeFoods is full of holes.

  • Joe

    Things will never change to we have a revolution because the ones in power control the economy, the media and the people. These foods that are causing a health epidemic are foods that the foods that the USDA recommends that we eat. Why would the government lie to us??? Who do you think backs these organizations and who do you think are on the boards that make decisions about our health. Big business and their paid lobbyist. We don't stand a chance in this country. If we eat like this we get sick, we get sick we need doctors and medicine. Do you think our government really wants to stop obesity. With obesity comes diabetes, cardiovascular problems etc…. This actually stimulates the economy.

    • guest

      Amen Joe, you have hit the hammer on the head!

    • John

      So true Joe. I pray karma kicks some of these huge unethical government agencies and corporations in the rear severely bc of the bad they do! BTW, I know some amazing, cool people at the WHole Foods two hours from me and few have suggested I use them as a reference. I love their mission and love how they ban many of corrupt, filty Walmart groceries. What do you personally think of Whole Foods and do you think they're one of the top unique corporations with a social emphasis? I hear Whole Foods takes care of their employees and has good profit sharing, 401 K, insurance and great place to work.,

  • M. A. S.

    organic! and non-GMO! NOT in the Pueblo West, CO Walmart, only junk.

  • rick pkac

    To quote Mercola article from 3/8/14

    "Virtually all of the meat and poultry found in your local grocery store comes from animals raised in so-called confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
    Large-scale factory farming is the cheapest way to raise meat, thereby allowing for the largest profits. But there’s a complete disregard for human health, the environment, and the ethical treatment of animals

    According to a recent report, antibiotic-resistant bacteria was found in 81 percent of ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef, and 39 percent of raw chicken parts purchased in stores in 2011
    Organic, grass-fed and finished meat that is humanely raised and butchered is really about the only type of meat that is healthy to eat '"

    Wonderful huh? green will never exist, because profit and BS politics always comes first.

    Perhaps we can focus also upon the wonderful drocors who are so blind to the box they are in, just to maintain status of being, what and who they are….a doctor, a health giving, add to the world helper. Diabetic care is an easy one to take to task here….BILLIONS spent, and NOTHING to show for it after so many years, and millions of people in pain, dying. ( The Nazi's in comparison are mild!)

    All that $$ all that education, and smartz, all well directed opportunities….for NOTHING not even a lower price…or as I always say…not one person with a backbone, some character – or ethics. WTF guys?

    Walmart etc wouldn't be targeted if they cared and paid the workers a living wage…more like twice the current average of most simple laborers. That alone indicates where (most employers) are at.

  • Cabwoman

    Not everyone can afford to shop at New Seasons or Whole Foods. I love both of those stores however! The main thing when grocery shopping is to read the labels and study the ingredients! We should not be eating so much of the processed foods. Many grocers carry organic produce too. We should be eating a diet of fish, and low-fat proteins, nuts, vegetable and fruits, along with healthy, minimally processed carbs. If you follow this dietary program, you really don't need to worry so much about labels!!

  • Shari Dorff

    I hear you but when I brought back my 2 kinds of protein powder to Whole foods with the print out of all the heavy metals in both Garden of Eden and Warrior they quickly returned them but did not remove those products and are still selling the protein powders proven to contain metals! I lost trust as they are still on the shelf and an end cap at that. How much could they have safety and our health in their best interest?

  • Gerlinde Stevens

    I come from Germany and there they can not do to the food what they do here. Just look at our medical world, all the Drugs on the market are to kill us and with the food it is almost like that. My brother was just here and could not believe the prices, plus the food is old here before we get it. In Germany it is about 12 to 15 hours from the fields to the store.

    • Martha

      I shop at Aldi USA a lot. It is owned by a German company. They have some products that are made in Germany or Belgium and I always buy those products because I know they are safe to eat and contain no GM ingredients. I love Aldi !

  • Mary

    Wal Mart has a lot of power. Squeeze them about these ingredients and they will squeeze the manufacturers.

  • Chopper Dave

    I shop at Walmart produce mostly and some fish it's way less than Whole Foods cost wise.

  • Ros Camden

    What…. So I don't live in USA so do not have to deal with Walmart….. however… all bread needs is Flour, water, yeast, bread improver, sugar and a miniscule amount of salt if desired (yes I used to bake my own) even my cheapest store bought bread here has little more than that!

  • Lenora

    Vote with your dollars. Water is better for you than coke any day. If we avoid buying crap to the best of our abilities, the big boxes will see the pattern and a just accordingly. In Canada, I am finding ever increasing numbers of non GMO and organic foods in my costco. Bravo Costco for proving that a big box can carry clean foods.

  • Dalton

    Don't let being poor stop you from eating healthy. I stopped eating cheap canned food years ago when the BPA in can liners caused health issues for me…solution – electric pressure cooker and bags of cheap beans…more & more grocery stores are offering organic veggies…look for bargains, buy on sale and freeze….use meats as flavoring agents and buy only organic with no hormones….it takes a little work but it can be done on a skinny budget…and of course NO SODAS ever…..

  • Cheryl

    I am on a severely limited diet due to multiple illnesses that landed me in a wheelchair. I had to fundraise to be able to get treatment for lyme and a whole lot more. I think it is great that Whole Foods is outing this stuff; however, I can't afford Whole Foods. I use the local co-op and read labels. Basic foods aren't that expensive but you have to prep. It can financially destroy a family. I hope there are societal changes that help everyone to eat better food.

  • Bob DeVore

    Would like to see a list of "safe" staple foods for us from the ones that know. I don't know one from the other, only knowing a few no-no's like HFCF, etc.

  • tony

    Well even Obama eats 100 % organic food grown at the white house gardens.

  • c.roberts

    Thanks for whole foods awareness info.. I think we need a new American standard food program . Where we tax foods that are not healthy to support a new health program . We reward those that purchase and eat healthy foods , by offsetting there cost from taxes paid by the unhealthy consumers , that are living to eat rather than eating to live . IT CAN BE DONE …Pass it on .

    • sammy

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I totally agree and more and more people are willing to stand up for this very basic human right!

    • RHT

      Absolutely! The greatest thing to conquer when switching to eating healthy is changing viewpoint – consumption of food should be nutritional, not recreational. Sorry, foodies, (and the whole gourmet restaurant industry,) but your "passion" could well be doing you in.

    • Regina

      Excellent idea! We really should make eating healthier cost less than eating stuff that's bad for you. But because the big conglomerates that are selling us the overly-processed stuff spend so much money lobbying in DC, I don't ever something this simple and common-sense to come about.

  • Carol

    I am glad to see more and more consumers becoming aware of how much "non-food" is in much mainstream food. Now, I hope more consumers see that shopping at Whole Foods has it's pitfalls as well. Someone said, "healthy food is organic but not all organic food is healthy." Whole Foods caters to "whole sweetness" just as much as Wal-Mart. Look carefully at all prepared foods available in Whole Foods. Sweeteners added to chicken and tuns salads, and pimiento cheese–really? All the smokehouse meats are swimming in highly sweetened sauces. Check out the ingredients in the baked goods–Butter frosting? Not so much butter. Low quality, high sugar cookies and donuts are piled up high on end isles and stacked up at check out. Wal-Mart has nothing on Whole Foods cereal isle–sugary cereals with cute packaging intended to appeal to kids or deceptive packaging intended to make adults think they're healthy. Whole Foods is BIG FOOD. And check out the meats. You'll find only a few cuts of "grass" fed beef. They sell the same junk you find at Wal-Mart but for a whole lot more! Like someone said, healthy food is organic but not all organic food is healthy! If Whole Foods removed all the conventionally grown produce, GMO corn fed beef and pork, and foods with high levels of added salt and sweeteners from it's shelves, there wouldn't be much left. So be ware! Just like Wal-Mart, most of the food at Whole Foods is BIG FOOD junk–only made with "natural" ingredients. And we all know "natural" can be stamped on a label without the food meeting any requirements. In other works, it's a deceptive and useless term. Check out all the packaged good and be shocked at how many foods are NOT labeled USDA Organic or Non-GMO.
    It's time we all make the effort to support food that is good for us, not to be confused with Whole Foods natural junk that raises blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight, promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  • Judy

    But Whole Foods is selling GMO produce and not identifying it,! So, how can we trust them now?

  • Edgar allen Ugenics

    Honestly folks we need food from Walmart to help us control an ever growing population. We need the types of people who can afford the Whole Foods prices. If they are at WF they are probably educated and must work to be able to afford it. These people contribute so we need them for a better society. Lets assume if the groceries come from WF that this is what their kids eat as well. As a result there children will grow unhindered by chemical side effects and will have a better chance. Eating a nonchemical diet as children will help them to carry on in school and as better citizens moving forward. Go to the website "People of walmart". Do we need these people? I hope for a slow change to a better world.

  • Carri Bean

    I can't help but wonder when the consumer is held responsible for their own choices. You can find healthier choices at Wal-Mart or any grocery store for that matter. You just have to do your homework.

    • Denise

      I agree. The consumer should be responsible for their own choices.

  • Wal-Mart get very cheaper from supplier. because that order a lot from them.

  • Conservative4Choice

    The government farm supports used to buy up excess milk, butter, cheese , beans, and so on. These farm products went to schools where the cafeteria COOKED and served them to the students. Some was distributed to the poor.

    Now farmers are paid not to grow and our school children are fed heat and serve products on disposable trays. The poor are given an EBT card to buy whatever they want.

  • azra

    cook your own food

  • JohnnyWhite

    Let us note how many products in Whole Foods are swimming in canola oil, made from an inedible seed, highly hybridized, and heated to molecular-altering temps. Whole Foods still doesn't "get it". The juice bar feature non-organic leaf vej. The nut mixes are loaded with sugar(s). Etc.

  • Related to that example, who does still drink Coke by the way? It's totally unhealthy!