On My Layer: A love-hate relationship with healthy food grocery stores

On My Layer: A love-hate relationship with healthy food grocery stores

Examination of the Expensive Eriohon Empire

Written by Nadia Anis – nsanees@ucdavis.edu

Early on a Friday morning in Silver Lake, a Los Angeles neighborhood, I walked through shiny, sliding glass doors painted in large letters that read “Iron. “It will be my first time inside the full-service Organic Market Café and the most important hangout for influencers in Los Angeles

Upon entering, I could see the “tonic bar” to my left, where a group of coffee makers were preparing vibrant green smoothies and chilled lattes with sprouted organic almond milk. In front of me was a fridge filled with rows of fresh, multi-colored juices in signature Erewhon glass bottles, and below, the famous Erewhon hot bar filled with every vegetable and meat option you could possibly think of. The air was filled with the scent of freshly roasted tricolor carrots, kale salad, white beans, and tender salmon fillets. Many people stood in line with their matching yoga sets and thick sunglasses. I felt like I didn’t belong here, but I loved every second of the experience.

Erewhon is famous for attracting Follow-up is like a cult A loyal clientele who is passionate about maintaining a clean and highly active lifestyle. Strolling its long, narrow lanes is a rewarding experience. You’ll find the latest trends in many healthy concoctions, like seaweed gel and ashwagandha-infused matcha powder. You’ll leave with a fun snack and drink on hand before you realize you just spent $50.

Erewhon advertised itself as more than just a grocery store – It’s a lifestyle. As someone passionate about nutrition and healthy eating, I felt like I was standing in a little utopia of healthy food — after all, I feel like the intention of the store. While I certainly can’t shop for the bulk of my purchases at an expensive store like Erewhon, or walk around the store – or really any health food store (think Nugget Market, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op or even Davis Food Co. -op ) – brings me a sense of joy. It is one of my favorite hobbies.

I also love Erewhon’s values. I agree that healthy, nutritious food can heal societies. But what societies does Erewhon really heal? There is a very specific demographic that, frankly, has a privileged group of people who can enjoy their well-being. This is the same demographic perpetuation of the narrative What healthy things should look and feel.

While those who can afford the Erewhon lifestyle are largely fed and charged with organic cabbage and celery juices, others are pushed down the nutritional disparities. Take a look south of downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll find an area classified as a “food desert” – an area with a stretch 20% or higher poverty rate and in which third of residents live within a mile of a supermarket.

I receive a lot of joy and satisfaction from my visits to the health food store – but that access in and of itself is a privilege. What about people who don’t even know a store like this exists, or who could never imagine entering?

The rise in popularity of healthy lifestyles and healthy food groceries is exciting – it means there is a growing energy and passion for building stronger, healthier and happier communities. But the trend of health food stores like Erewhon makes me pause for a moment and think about the communities that benefit from these standards.

Written by: Nadia Anis nsanees@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily refer to the views and opinions espoused by The California Aggie.

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