Letters to the Editor

Letters must be 250 words or less and include a name and hometown. Submission of letter grants automatic approval of publication to PCC, including name, in print and online. Submission does not guarantee publication. PCC reserves the right to edit content of submissions. Please email letters to editor@pccmarkets.com.

 

Edible produce coating

I am a longtime member. I have recently become aware of a new food preservation process called Apeel that I find alarming. Can you please tell me where PCC stands on it? I love your produce and we eat it exclusively but I need to know that PCC will NOT allow produce with this substance through the doors. Thank you for being our grocery market.

PCC replies: Thank you for reaching out with your question regarding Apeel Science’s Edipeel, a plant-based, FDA-approved coating derived from the peels, seeds and pulp of fruit and vegetables. The coating is meant to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. We know that there has been a lot of information circulating on its use, particularly in regards to allowing this substance on organic produce. We have connected with our suppliers and are confident that no produce we carry has been treated with Apeel’s coating. To our knowledge and our supplier’s knowledge, no producers or packers in our supply chain are using this substance on their produce. We will continue to monitor this product and any science on its use that emerges from reputable institutions to see if it should be addressed further in our product standards.

 

Compostable chocolate wrapper

I just want to point out that those delicious twist-wrapped truffles from Seattle Chocolate that you guys carry are wrapped in a home compostable film.

To my knowledge, they are the only company using a home compostable wrapper for their chocolate truffles. And they are local!

PCC replies: You’re correct that Seattle Chocolate uses compostable film for the truffles, and who doesn’t love reducing their plastic while also supporting local! Thank you for sharing this.

 

Plastic-free zones?

Have you heard of plastic-free zones in groceries? They are starting to do this all across the U.S.

I would love to see more plastic-free options at PCC for refrigerated items such as vegan dairy. For regular dairy there are biodegradable PCC generic brand options but I don’t see any for vegan cheeses.

Thank you for all that you do!

PCC replies: We certainly share your frustrations and concerns regarding plastic usage. We have seen the idea of plastic-free zones before, a great concept! We will pass along to our Grocery Merchandising team that you are looking for plastic-free options in vegan dairy products. As we don’t currently have PCC branded private label vegan dairy products, we do have to rely on what products are available in the market.

More broadly, changing the natural food industry’s deeply ingrained dependency on plastic packaging is a complex undertaking, one that is continually evolving, but we are committed on all fronts to identifying more sustainable solutions and pushing the supply chain to do the same.

A few examples of changes we’ve made in other areas include that we stopped selling single serving flat bottled water in plastic years ago. We also expanded that decision in 2022 so that we no longer sell plastic bottled water in containers of less than one gallon. By 2019, PCC had also achieved nearly 80% use of compostable containers in our deli rather than plastic containers. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, significantly impacted PLA packaging supplies, forcing us to use plastic containers when PLA wasn’t available. As the PLA supply restabilizes,  we’re reincorporating it as much as possible. We’re also working on changes to bulk to remove plastic bags from the spice section, and our Private Label manager is working on reducing plastic from our PL items. You should expect to see new packaging for our chocolate bars early next year.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. This helps us better understand what is important to our customers and informs the necessary steps that we need to take to reduce our impact on the environment.

 

Bulk goods ingredients

I buy hickory smoked almonds in bulk. What is in the flavoring for these almonds?

Curious,

— Susan Carr

PCC replies: Thank you for your question! The ingredients list for the hickory smoked bulk almonds (bin #3426) includes: almonds, salt, corn starch, hydrolyzed corn protein, natural smoke flavor, torula yeast, spices, extractives and expeller pressed sunflower oil. Nutritional data and ingredients for all bulk items can be found online as well.

 

Grass-fed beef

Your article on grass-fed beef (in the summer edition of Sound Consumer) was very informative, thanks. I have sadly realized that as big corporations have entered the organic field, they have figured out ways to circumvent the rules and that there is no real meaning to terms like grass-fed, free range, etc. These days it’s hard to trust much in the world we live in.

Given the PCC firewall of at minimum meat must meet their animal welfare and sustainability standards, and brands are vetted by the Quality Standards team, I feel the food is safer than just about any other retailer. These days it’s difficult to vet all the brands out there as a consumer. I appreciate what PCC does to provide that for me and while I realize that nothing is perfect it’s a lot easier knowing they have high standards.

I don’t eat much red meat these days but when I do, I choose PCC Thousand Hills. Yes, it costs more but one pound will provide 4 hamburgers at about $2.50 each which, given the quality of the meat, is not too bad. It’s cheaper than any burger you can buy in a restaurant, better quality and the taste is amazing!

— Elizabeth Panni

Hello,

Thank you for the lovely article on grass-fed beef! As a new meat eater (converted for health reasons) it’s extremely important to know that the animals I eat were raised with care. There’s a lot of stigma these days about eating meat, but for those of us who do, PCC is such a great resource. Thanks for representing diverse standpoints!

— Anna Humphreys

PCC replies: Thank you both for reading Sound Consumer and for your comments. More information on our product standards for animal products is available here, and we always welcome hearing your feedback and hearing more about what matters to members and shoppers.

 

Animal-based foods

Just a quick note—I bought some Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed 20% fat ground beef at the Green Lake store last night and had some for breakfast this morning.

I can report back that it’s delicious, especially with the juices poured back over the meat after cooking it. Thanks for adding it to the meat that you’re selling. I checked out the Thousand Hills website and saw that the animals are not just grass-finished, they feed on open pasture their entire lives, and that they work closely with ranchers who practice regenerative agriculture, which is helping to restore the health of the soils and heal the Earth.

My health has greatly improved since going in a more carnivorous direction; I appreciate PCC continuing to sell meat, fish, organic A2 milk, and other healthy animal-based products. I’d love to see the animal-based section expanded even further, perhaps adding tallow and offering high-fat cuts in the meat section.

With warm regards,

— Nils Osmar

PCC replies: Thank-you very much for writing and letting us know about your experiences with the Thousand Hills beef featured in the summer Sound Consumer. We always welcome product suggestions and have forwarded yours to our merchandisers.

 

A heartening model

I just wanted to send a quick thank-you. I’ve lived in Seattle for six years. I had heard about PCC and driven past it but had never gone in because I thought of it for some reason as a solely vegan store. Not that that’s bad, but I wasn’t vegan; I’ve found that I’m healthiest if I eat mainly animal-based foods; so it didn’t seem to fit.

I stopped in a few days ago to buy some soap (found it!) and was surprised to see that you also have a really good meat, poultry and seafood section, and that, from all appearances, you support regenerative agriculture, including an ethical approach to raising farm animals.

I grew up on a farm where we tried our best to treat the animals with loving care. Finding a store that has an awareness of the importance of that approach, while also clearly focusing on the health of the planet, is heartening. Somehow we have to find solutions for all of us, including the people who eat (and need to keep eating) meat and the people who don’t. Your store’s model seems like a good place to start.

— Deb Simon

PCC replies: Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We love hearing that our values align when it comes to sustainability and animal welfare. We also hope you have had a good experience with the soap you purchased, which prompted your visit! If you would like more detailed information on PCC, full information on our product standards is available on our website, and our annual co-op purposes report is online here. We appreciate your kind words.

Also in this issue

The benefits of being a PCC member

A PCC membership is a one-time fee of $60. Learn about the benefits of being a PCC member including member offers, events, and partner discounts.

Viva Farms and partners raise a new crop of farmers

Family-owned Regino Farms was one of the first success stories from a program by nonprofit Viva Farms meant to support and train a new generation of farmers.