Message to Whole Foods

May 28, 2009

I don’t often–check that, ever–send messages to companies (partly because I’ve always been non-confrontational, but also because I’ve spent my life as a hands-off consumer), but I realize that I have a duty to be an active consumer.  We shop at Wild Oats/Whole Foods, which I don’t totally love, but I do appreciate that it’s close enough to walk, and they offer organic foods and small amounts of local produce.

Well, we eat a lot of peanut butter, and we usually get the organic, no salt added peanut butter–I love reading the ingredient list: organic peanuts.  Lately, though, the ingredient list has grown longer.  They’ve added salt, which is totally unnecessary, and it’s already hard enough to avoid sodium in our “that doesn’t have enough taste, so let’s add some more salt” world. 

And worse, they’ve added organic palm oil.  Palm oil is as close to trans-fat you can come without actually having trans-fat.  It is really high in saturated fat, and it’s nearly solid at room temperature, which is the attraction to hydrogenated oils (trans-fat).  I guess that’s why they add it to peanut butter.  We are lazy and don’t want to stir that goopy oil into the peanut butter–well, that is true, I hate that job.  But I realize that when you have straight PEANUT butter, you have to do a little stirring (anybody else have peanut butter jars that are eternally coated in dried peanut oil?).

Anyway, I thought this was going to be a relatively short post, but palm oil really sets my blood a boilin’.  So I wrote to Whole Foods.  Here’s what I had to say:

Organic Peanut Butter:


I have noticed that your organic peanut butter now contains palm oil.  The pb I used to buy simply contained peanuts, and I am disturbed by this trend.  Not only does palm oil contribute a significant amount of saturated fat, but the increased demand for palm oil is causing tropical forests to be cleared for palm plantations (which increases greenhouse gas emissions and destroys the habitat of endangered species).  I would like to see Whole Foods make an effort to reduce dependence upon palm oil in the 365 brand foods for these reasons.  In the meantime, I plan to look to another brand for peanut butter and other items that unnecessarily contain palm oil.



My non-confrontational nature still worries this is too harsh, but I think this is a big deal.  I don’t want palm oil in my peanut butter.  Even if it is organic.


2 Responses to “Message to Whole Foods”

  1. An informed consumer is the best consumer. Good job! If they respond, please post it! We will too, make sure to read the 365 labels more closely.

  2. […] 6, 2009 You probably remember my letter to Whole Foods and their response.  And if you hadn’t previously noticed the prevalence of […]

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