Sprouts Farmers Market: Review

In a word, pish. The advertising was so promising: farm fresh produce, all-natural meats, old fashioned bakery, etc. I was excited to be able to go on opening day, and hoped to be lucky enough to not only use my coupon for free eggs, but score a free reusable shopping bag.

The parking lot was full, but I found a spot without trouble. A gentleman stands at the front entrace with two shopping carts full of reusable bags. In fact, he gives me two! And then I walk into the store. What a madhouse! I know that it’s opening day, but are this many people unemployed that the grocery store can be PACKED at 9:30 in the morning? The checkout lines are so long that it is impossible to actually get to the end of any aisle. Okay, I don my mental armor, and plow in.

First section: The bakery. Oooh, a crusty, seeded mini baguette! Perhaps I’ll pick that up, and a can of soup, for lunch. I make it over to the basket, pick up the bread… and realize that it’s packed in non-breathable plastic, so it’s soft all the way through. No crusty goodness. I put it back. Next, a pie. I make pie. I want to see what they put in THEIR pie. I start reading the ingredients, and actually do a double-take. Artificial flavoring? Hrmm. I put it down, and move on to the deli. Okay, perhaps this deviled egg potato salad would be nice. Again, reading the ingredients… I stop at corn syrup. This does not bode well. I notice a cooler full of Fuze energy drinks, which I know contain the artificial sweetener sucralose. Sigh. Okay, I’ll look around some more. It’s probably better than Safeway, right?

I stroll slowly past the meat cases, looking for anything marked “natural” or “free range” or “sustainable.” There is one section of free-range poultry, but the rest is nothing special. Produce is in the back of the store, and the potatoes and onions look fabulous! Then I notice that they’re not marked as organic. I look for the organic versions, and can’t find them. In fact, I can’t find ANY organic produce. Okay, it must be me. Maybe they don’t call it out, because it’s ALL organic. After all, there’s a HUGE sign up above that says ORGANIC in two-foot letters. Just as I’m about to start taking a closer look at the PLU codes (organic codes all start with a 9), I finally find the organic stuff. All by itself, on a display. A rather small display, frankly. At this point, the crowds and the disappointment have gotten to me, so I leave my Free Eggs coupon on top of the egg display for another customer, and I vamoose. I don’t need to go back.

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6 Replies to “Sprouts Farmers Market: Review”

  1. Wow! That is SO disappointing. I was feeling bad because Jeff and I were the only two two in town that didn’t go to the grand opening (found out from you about it). Guess we can pass, eh? Just wow.

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  2. I really hate that “organic” and “natural” have become such a marketing tool that companies have forgotten that some of us actually want the real deal. Did you happen to see if any of the products were actually grown/produced by local farms or small businesses? I’m guessing not.

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  3. Have you been to the new Sunshine Market on 38th just east of Sheridan? They’ve got organic for a good price. I have impeccably bad timing and moved away right before it opened which would have been nice since my bright, spacious, comfy two bedroom house with a yard was just blocks away.

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  4. @Marge: I totally agree! And I know many consumers feel the same way. There’s a growing backlash against the “greenwashing” phenomenon and, thankfully, some groups are making efforts to distinguish between good marketing and good companies. The company I work for, Scryve (www.scryve.com), is one such group. You can go to our website to search products or brands and get full reports on the environmental and social impact of those products. Scryve also lists alternative companies that make the same product in more sustainable ways. Scryve ratings will soon be available in store aisles as well, so you can see how organic your “organic milk” really is before buying it!

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