PHOTO: Whole Foods
Rachael Dupree
April 13, 2016

Leave it to Whole Foods to come up with a marketing ploy to drive home the importance of taking care of the earth. Remember back in 2013, when they removed all the produce from their shelves to show what grocery stores would look like if we didn’t have pollinators doing what they do best? Well, now they’re messing with our dessert. (And no one—I repeat no one—messes with my dessert!)

In partnership with the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that works to protect invertebrates and their natural habitats, the Whole Foods Market in Fremont, Calif., made a drastic change to their baked goods aisle—and let’s be honest, everyone’s favorite part of the grocery store—in another demonstration to show what food life would be like without pollinators, like bees and butterflies. This took place as part of the #ShareTheBuzz campaign, raising awareness about the plight of pollinators worldwide.

Here’s a list of just a few of the key ingredients that wouldn’t be available for your favorite dessert should the bees die off:

  • carrots (Sorry, no carrot cake for you.)
  • almonds (Bye-bye, macarons.)
  • coffee (Tiramisu … arrivederci.)
  • berries (The pies—oh, the sweet sweet pies.)
  • chocolate (Brownies! NOOO!!!)

In fact, other staples in your baking pantry, like vanilla and even milk (cows eat alfalfa, which is pollinated by insects), would be hard to come by, making the final course of your meal all but extinct. In fact, 97 percent of Whole Foods’ dessert offerings would be stripped of the things that make them, well, dessert.

Whole Foods has partnered with the Xerces Society on this very important issue (bees—not dessert) since 2012, and had raised $547,000 to help the organization create or improve more than 186,000 acres of pollinator habitat in the U.S.

And you can help, too! As a farmer, you’re on the front lines of pollinator protection. Source your seeds and crops from responsible sources, such as those that are Certified Organic. You can also plant pollinator-friendly  plants to draw in bees, butterflies and other good bugs. Need a list? Go here.

“Sweet tooth or not, life without dessert would be tough to swallow,” said Eric Mader, pollinator program co-director for The Xerces Society. “But with one-third of the world’s food crops depending on disappearing pollinator species, that may one day be a reality. The good news: it’s not too late. With support from Whole Foods Market and its shoppers and suppliers, our organization is working with farmers nationwide to help them create wildflower habitat and to adopt less pesticide-intensive practices, which will help pollinators thrive.”


Next Up