The Best Bay Area Grocery Stores For Sustainable Food

Deli Clerk at Sprouts Farmers Market
Deli Clerk at Sprouts Farmers Market | Courtesy of Sprouts
Neha Pearce

While buying sustainable food is good for your health and good for the planet, it can be hard to keep track of the long journey our food takes on its way to our mouths, and farmer’s markets don’t always have every product that we need. Growing practices, processing, and transportation are only a few of the questions that need to be asked when shopping consciously, so here are the top grocery stores in the Bay that make sustainable food much easier to access.

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Sprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts Private Label

Sprouts is a full-coverage grocery store all about affordable healthy living. Their store is themed after a farmer’s market for good reason, and their aisles are packed with fresh in-state produce and every product imaginable, from scoop-your-own grains to health and beauty products. Along with boasting the best quality produce, Sprouts offers a wide variety of options, like their selection of Omega-3, cage-free, organic and regular eggs, so every customer will find what they are looking for. Sprouts works to be a positive part of its community with special initiatives like the Food Rescue Program, in which Sprouts donates any unused produce to local hunger relief efforts. This is just one program that is part of their Responsible Retailing effort, designed to make sure every aspect of their business is centered around respecting the environment and making a positive impact on their community. Check out their helpful healthy living resources.

Buying food that is good for you and the environment can be complicated, and not everyone has the time to check every label on every product before purchasing so Alameda Natural Grocery makes it easy by holding high standards for the products they sell. More importantly, they make their standards and their mission for the community clear, so when you see their slogan (‘Beyond Just Groceries. Commodities with a Conscience’), you can be sure it stands for something and that you won’t find any chemically processed foods, synthetic ingredients, fillers, sweeteners or additives, trans fats, non-organic refined white sugar, MSG, chemical food coloring, or chemical preservatives. Alameda Natural Grocery offers a careful selection of everything from organic, local, and seasonal veggies to non-chemical cleaning products, making it not only a specialty store, but a one-stop-shop.

Berkeley Natural Grocery Company

One of two locations of The Natural Grocery Company, Berkeley Natural Grocery Company features entirely organic produce, all natural meats, and FishWise seafood. They make up for their small size with friendly and helpful staff, a wide variety of non-GMO products, and lots of fresh locally grown options. Save 10 percent off produce by purchasing in case quantity, or make a special order at no additional cost.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s mission is to bring its customers unbranded, unconventional products at a great value. They cover a huge variety of dietary needs like vegan and gluten-free and provide delicious alternatives, like vegan soy chorizo and meatless meatballs. When you buy a product that bears the Trader Joe’s private label, it comes with a promise that it meets their set standards and that it is taste tester approved. As an added bonus, if you don’t like what you buy, you can return it for a refund with no hassle. Never leave the store without picking up free coffee and the free sample of the day!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is a health-nut wonderland, with every aisle bringing you new and exciting ways to treat your body and the environment with respect. They employ store-wide standards that makes it easy to figure out how your food was grown. Their website is transparent, with their standards for organic produce, sustainable seafood, animal welfare, body care, cleaning products clearly listed, so it’s easy to quickly check that you’re buying the best before you enjoy. You can shop their groceries or even choose from their delicious ready-made selection, knowing there are no hydrogenated fats or artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners in any of their products.

Piedmont Grocery Co.

Piedmont Grocery has been in the neighborhood since 1902, and despite its gourmet and specialty products, it remains a full-service grocery store committed to serving the community. In pursuit of top-quality products, Piedmont Grocery prides itself on stocking its shelves with seasonal produce from local farms, sourcing seafood based on seafood watch lists and sustainable practices, and providing meat that is organic, grass-fed, free-range and local. Along with their local items, Piedmont Grocery has an impressive stock of international products, from well-traveled cheeses to German egg noodles.

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