Whole Food Center
What a long strange journey this has been.
The Whole Food Center was one of the most insane sourcing projects I have ever been a part of. While farm to table is everywhere and a great cause, no one had ever applied to supplements before.
We were attempting to do something brand new - create a 100% traceable and farm-to-bottle system. Just like you want to know where your food comes from, you should want to know where your supplements come from.
It was not easy, we were lied to, misled, and sent completely fake stories about products. For example, while sourcing our moringa powder, one company sent us what seemed like wonderful images. Pictures of happy farmers and a beautiful farm. These turned out to be completely fake. When I pulled this companies import certificate, to verify what they were saying, it showed they were just buying tons of raw materials from China and sending out those fake pictures to trick people. I see these pictures on lots of websites selling that very popular Moringa powder, meaning many people and companies just took that supplier at their word and put the pictures up.
That is why we are proud to introduce our 100% traceable symbol. This symbol shows that the product can be traced from farm to bottle. Complete transparency that is badly needed in this industry.
There were many other product quality issues that came up like poor and inaccurate labeling, products that claimed they had a nutrient that did not exist in that food, adulterated ingredients and on and on. I broke three calculators while doing the Whole Food Center out of frustration of being lied to. We received some samples and the food powder was the wrong color. While there may be some variance in color, for example the shade of red may vary, a red food powder should never be green or blue, a yellow food powder should never be pink- yet we found this over and over. Many of these products, we have no idea what was actually in them. We know for sure that they were not the right food. Some products were dull, tasteless powders because they sat in warehouses for so long, were not stored properly, or were dried poorly. Moringa powder for example, should be a bright green color like this:
but most were not even close to that, instead looking yellowed and lifeless.
Other major issues came up. Child and slave labor is more of a problem than I had ever thought.
It was really hard to read through all of the stories from people who worked in those industries and from human rights groups. The abuse and horror that so many people and animals go through to bring us food is awful. There is no reason for it other than greed. How people can be ok with torturing another being, to make a few pennies is just unthinkable. Ethics cannot be separated from quality when making a product. Both must be done. A product cannot truly be healthy if it causes misery for others. Making sure each product was ethically made through each stage: growing, manufacturing, shipping and finally getting to the shelf, was the most important part of the Whole Food Center. If we could not 100% trace all of these things, we could not be sure of their ethical nature.
Environmental issues were next. Clear cutting of rainforests, dumping pollution into rivers, overharvesting species to near extinction and so much more. That is why we are proudly going palm free. You will see our Palm Free label next to nearly every single product in the Whole Food Center.
Palm oil is one of the worst environmental disasters in our modern history, and despite nonsense claims by the RPSO, it continues to be a huge problem.
China is by far the biggest problem in the supplement industry. The vast majority of adulterated raw materials, pollution, human rights, and environmental issues in the supplement industry are coming from there. Unfortunately, more and more supplements are coming from China. Many supplement raw materials are produced in China and shipped to another country and labeled as being from that country.
We are proud to be working towards being 100% China-Free and you will see this symbol on nearly every product in our whole food store.
The Whole Food Center has been a labor of love. It has definitely been worth it and we have learned so much along the way. We will continue to add more foods and products as time goes on, as we are able to source ethical, sustainable versions. We will also be adding videos and articles about the farms and people we have met along the way. We hope that you have learned a lot as well and will make some changes in your life that help to make the world a better place. Even small changes, like buying different bananas or toilet paper, can make such a huge difference.
Our shopping guide will provide you with an easy way to make a difference.
What if just changing the peanut butter you buy could help reduce water pollution, improve the lives of farmworkers and give employees a better life? Would you be willing to do that?
Things may seem bleak right now, but if we all make small changes, the world can be a much better place.