Shop reviews

Store review: Leicester Wholefoods Co-op

May 24, 2014

I recently heard about the Leicester Wholefoods Co-op from someone I follow on Twitter and had to take a look for myself, so decided to head over there today to see what it was all about.

The shop is housed in a warehouse in a somewhat strange part of town, so it’s not some place you would see and just decide to pop into unless you knew about it. It also looks pretty small and unassuming from the outside, but once you enter it opens up into several rows of all sorts of interesting produce, canned goods, frozen foods and household items. While not strictly a vegetarian or vegan shop, what they do have on offer is seriously impressive. I’m talking frozen vegan pies, different flavored vegan mayo, tempeh, vegan cheeses, vegan hotdogs, various nut milks… the list goes on. I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

I’ve lived in Leicester for 7 years – how am I only now just hearing about this place?! I had a quick chat with one of the owners and he said they’ve been around for 26 years and don’t do much advertising as they felt it didn’t make any real difference. When I asked about their social media presence, he seemed pretty indifferent even though they do have accounts on both Facebook and Twitter (but aren’t terribly active on either). I guess business is good enough. But still, this place needs to be known! Maybe everyone does know about it, just not me. ha.

Anyway, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian I would seriously recommend heading over to the Leicester Wholefoods Co-op. They have so many great things in stock that you just wouldn’t find at a regular supermarket.

Here is a snapshot of some of the loot I made out with.

  • alifemoment May 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I love wholefoods market it is the best! 🙂

    • Leicester Veggie May 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      it’s amazing! I will definitely be returning there again soon.

  • Secular Vegan February 3, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    It’s a shame that Leicester Wholefood Co-op sells meat though; or it certainly started doing so back in the late 90’s and still was the last time that I visited it.

    • Leicester Veggie February 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      I agree. However, it is a small section of their store and they do tend to sell more vegetarian and vegan foods.

      • Secular Vegan February 3, 2015 at 9:02 pm

        Back in 1998 or thereabouts when they started selling meat their justification was that they had ‘spare freezer space’. So why couldn’t they have used it to sell frozen veg?

        • Leicester Veggie February 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm

          interesting… I guess there was probably pressure from their existing customers to sell it? Seems a shame.

          • Secular Vegan February 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm

            Probably not so much ‘pressure’ as being asked to stock ‘organic’ meat. At the time I recall, LWC said that vegetarians constituted only about a fifth of their regular customer base. How they knew this I’m not sure unless they did a survey. They must have estimated that they would gain more customers than they would lose by selling meat. On the continent, for wholefood shops to sell ‘organic’ (‘bio’) meat is the rule rather than the exception. In Britain is had traditionally been the other way round. If I lived in Lestah I would shop at Currant Affairs, if it is still there and as long as it is not owned by LWC. I heard a rumour many years ago that LWC had bought it, though I have never seen meat for sale in Currant Affairs; granted it is a much smaller shop.

          • Leicester Veggie February 4, 2015 at 7:37 pm

            That’s really interesting – especially about the rules on organic meats. I love Currant Affairs, and from what I can tell they haven’t started stocking meat. Unfortunately they are quite a bit smaller and don’t stock all the things I need so I do still go to the Co-op on more of a regular basis. It’s also a bit of a pain to get to unless you live in the city center, which is unfortunate for someone like me! Thanks for your comments:)

          • Secular Vegan February 4, 2015 at 7:58 pm

            By a ‘rule’ re stocking meat, I mean metaphorically not literally. It is still thankfully unusual for wholefood shops in this country to do so; not so in France, Belgium, Holland etc …