Unsurprisingly, Whole Foods employees are just as obsessed with the supermarket chain as we are. A few items, in particular, seem to cause quite a stir around the store when they come in; and while staff may not technically be allowed to put certain products aside, they do end up buying up much of the inventory themselves.
With the upscale grocery store growing both in popularity and its diverse offerings (home decor, anyone?), we thought we’d highlight a few of the hot commodities worth checking out as of late. Here are the employee-approved products generating buzz behind the scenes you’ll want to add to your shopping list ASAP.
1. 365 Everyday Value limited edition products
While the private label for Whole Foods Market always offers good value on staples throughout the year, the team behind 365 Everyday Value is also responsible for seeking out product trends and launching a select few innovative products with the seal “limited edition”.
Some of these items, like pumpkin cheesecake ice cream sandwiches and candy cane sandwich crème cookies, will make a return the following season once they run out. Others, like the lemon lavender shortbread cookies, were only around for one season. Either way, get them while they’re hot!
Similar in size to clementines, satsumas are just a touch sweeter with a delicate texture and bold taste. They have a “knob” on top that makes them easy to peel, and stick around in stores well through prime citrus season in the winter months.
3. Cotton Candy Grapes
There are dozens of grape species in the world, but those with a sweet tooth have recently become obsessed with cotton candy grapes. Don’t be fooled by their traditional green grape color—this hybrid tastes more like wispy cotton candy than a fruit. It has hints of vanilla and a lingering sweetness, perfect for a delicious snack. Pro tip: Try freezing them for a refreshing summer treat.
4. Parmigiano Reggiano
Each year the Whole Foods Market’s cheese team visits the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and selects wheels from just five producers, ensuring the authenticity of their cheese. Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano carries proof of its authenticity with an impressed rind, as only cheese made in a specific area of Northern Italy—Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena, and portions of Bologna and Mantua—can bear the Parmigiano Reggiano name. A little of this cheese goes a long way, so you ask your cheesemonger to cut you a small chunk.
5. Grass-Fed Ground Beef
Ground fresh daily by Whole Food’s butchers, the brand’s lean ground beef only comes from farms certified by the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating System. It also makes some of juiciest burgers.
6. Sommelier “Best in Class” Wines
Curated and approved by the company’s very own Master Sommelier (one of only 249 in the world) and a team of global beverage buyers, these selections pair perfectly with the season—be sure to try a few of the delicious summer wines this year. The list is usually only discounted for a limited time, so snatch these up for the best value that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next dinner party.
Whole Foods stocks some of the highest quality supps available. When they go on sale, their prices are actually competitive with online retailers like Amazon. (Add an employee discount, and you get the least expensive, best quality supplements around).
This is one of the highest end, natural beauty care brands Whole Foods sells. Products usually go on sale once or twice a year at up to 40 percent off, and employees stock up.
9. Champagne (ataulfo) Mangoes
These mangoes are incredibly creamy, sweet, and delicious. Most people go for the more traditional red/green skinned mangoes, but the yellow ataulfo is a favorite among Whole Foods employees—and their availability is limited. Stock up, slice, and freeze them to enjoy in smoothies all year long.
Whole Foods non-toxic sunscreens are some of the best of their kind. Stock up each year during the big pre-summer sunscreen sale; and while you’re at it, check out a few of their best beauty and skincare products.
11. Umeboshi Plums
These are a surprisingly genius hangover cure, and Whole Foods is one of the few places you can find them!
12. Flowers (on sale)
When Whole Foods has sales on flowers, it’s usually a great deal, and employees keep their eyes out for the bargains. One example is the roses for Prime Members on Valentine’s Day, providing a great deal for those Amazon Prime members looking to give to their loved one.
13. In-House Roasted Coffee Beans
Some Whole Foods locations still roast coffee beans in-house, and they make for some of the tastiest Joe. Employees buy their coffee at those stores, and always check the “roasted on” date to grab the freshest beans.
14. Rainier Cherries (AKA the “White Cherry”)
These are super tasty and another great product to stock up on, pit, and freeze. Buy a cherry pitter for quick pitting and storage.
15. Housewares—but only when they go on sale
Whole Foods stocks quality goods like Lodge cast iron skillets, GreenPan Diamond Clad Ceramic nonstick pans, and Bodum coffee brewing tools. When those housewares go on sale (usually one big sale a year) employees stock up.
This story was originally published on June 14, 2017. It has been updated with new information.
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