It's always fun to take people who've never visited a Whole Foods Market shopping there, to watch their faces as they realize that grocery shopping (even with kids in tow) can be a luxury, not a chore. MomSpeaker Jennifer Auer recently drove well out of her way to get her first taste of the Whole Foods experience, and her impressions mirror those we've seen from other WF newbies.
In my area of Southern NJ, there are no stores like Whole Foods Market. When I heard a Whole Foods Market Cherry Hill was opening, not only was I a bit jealous; I also knew I had to check it out. During the week prior to the opening, future customers and members of the media were invited to take a tour and learn more about the store — and just why and how Whole Foods Market is different from your typical grocery store. And, yes, I did make the hour-plus drive in rush hour traffic to visit. I was that eager to see it. While taking the tour I couldn’t help but think about all the reasons why families are going to love shopping here.
- A Whole Foods shopping trip with your kids is like a field trip of experiences. Around every aisle is a new food to introduce kids to and a new lesson to be learned about how to take better care of our world through the choices we make every day.
- In the produce department, while sipping on fresh pressed orange juice or coconut water, kids can learn about Whole Trade product sales and that 1 percent of sales goes to the Whole Planet Foundation to help eradicate poverty in those developing world communities that supply Whole Foods with products.The bulk station, with its diverse selection of rices, nuts, spices and more, impressed me the most. Being able to buy as little or as much of these items means I can try new foods without much risk or committing to a regular-size bag. Having an in-store chef available to answer questions about how to prepare them means I can leave with plenty of ideas on how to use these new ingredients in something yummy that kids and parents will love. Let your kids explore and bring home a new food they want to try.
- In the seafood department, kids are going to love picking out shellfish for dinners. Parents will appreciate the self-service station that lets you see what you are buying before you buy it.
- Where does my food come from? While your kids might not be asking this question, Whole Foods signage and labeling shows sourcing and sustainability info for their seafood and meats. Just seeing those signs is a great way to start a conversation with your kids on where our food comes from and how to make responsible food choices.
- Party in a box! In the bakery department, not only do you have a great selection of bagels, snacks and other goodies baked fresh daily, but you can buy a box of DIY cupcakes — everything you need in one box. It makes for a great afternoon activity for kids. Or let kids make their own cupcakes at your next birthday party.
- The results of your child’s in-store science experiment can be the answer to your beauty care challenges. At the Bath and Beauty Bar customers can create their own face, hair and body care products. Your experiments (recipes) are kept on file for you to repeat on your next visit.
- After the learning, hunger is sure to follow. Grab a snack or lunch at any of Whole Foods Market’s quick service areas. Use the nearby express lane to check out, then park yourselves at a table, talk, eat and take time to reflect on that trip’s experiences.
- Bonus reason: We saw this cookie — we’re calling it the official Jersey Family Fun cookie — and fell in love.
Jennifer Auer is a South Jersey mom. This post is adapted from her blog Jersey Family Fun.