Dear LORD - thank you for the organic food store that is Planet Organic.
It can be so hard to find good organic food in London, so when I stumbled upon this little gem on a work trip, I had to run inside to see what was going on.
It was heavenly. I walked in and sampled some amazing tea before heading to the back juice bar. They made me an amazing green juice drink with an apple base and extra ginger.
They had some of the typical healthy snacks - Pop Chips, etc - and some other ones that I haven't seen before. Everything was delicious.
Clean store, great location.
My local LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
Great range, friendly & knowledgable staff, including convenient healthy options and treats. I cannot resist!
Although, it took me a little while to get used to the different price point, I am deeply in love with this place!
"earth!" "fire!" "wind!" "water!" "heart!"
"go planet organic!"
"by your powers combined, I am captain planet organic!"
Captain planet organic, he's a hero
Gonna take pollution down to zero
He's our powers magnified
and he's fighting on the planet's side!
Captain planet organic, he's a hero
Gonna take pollution down to zero
Gonna help him put asunder
Bad guys who like to loot and plunder
"you'll pay for this captain planet organic!"
"we're the planeteers, you can be one too!"
"cuz saving our planet is the thing to do!"
"looting and polluting is not the way!"
"hear what captain planet organic has to say!"
"the power is yours!"
(they always have some sort of chocolate 2-4-1 on sale here...)
I just can't hold out any longer. As much as I was enjoying playing hard to get in my previous review, you've captured my heart and I'm completely yours. Sometimes twice a day.
Your fresh squeezed juices, your ready-made meals infused with quinoa, soy beans and beet root, your fresh blueberry muffins, your charming staff...
You're still a bit cheeky for your own good, which is *never* the case with me... erm, yeah.
Planet Organic is to "the big" Whole Foods as Tesco Express is to "a big" Tesco. Yes, it may be tiny, but they've got what you need.
Nice range of some good basics and everyday items, and if you're a organic shopper, I think it's the only place in the area that will have this much selection under one roof.
It's a liiiiiiittle out of the way since I'm not really on this end of Angel all too often, but if I've trekked up this far for something else I'll make the extra few steps to stop in and get some healthy snacks.
I love popping in to Planet Organic for a few special things from time to time. It is such a beautiful and manageable experience after going to a conventional supermarket or a Tesco's Express/Sainsbury's local. There is never a line at the checkout and you don't have to say "excuse me" 10 times to get through the aisle. I found the merchandising very pleasing.
The herbal tea selection, coffees, and chocoates are great as are all the yummy health bars. The toiletries section is quite impressive too! I like stopping by here and picking up all kinds of yummy bits for a picnic.
So many of the brands that they stock are the leaders in organic, Fairtrade, artisan-produced, sustainably sourced. Even if it is a bit more expensive, I know that it is worth it and I am sure Planet Organic is a part of the same "do gooders" club.
'Planet Organic' sums up everything I find awkward about the growing breed of organic boutique food shops. While the entrance of the shop is littered with beautifully misshapen, British grown, mud-strewn vegetables, stray much further and the whole environment becomes very clinical. Line after line of jars and boxes offering stir-fry sauces, jam's and sushi sets point eerily in the same direction. Even the deli counter at the back offering its selection of organic 'ready meals' displays its food on black charcoal slates in perfectly straight lines.
As a whole the food I've bought has been quite nice but not worth the prices that they charge. Maybe my ideas are too romantic but if I'm looking to buy British and Organic, I anticipate a bit of rustic charm. It's this element that is severely lacking in Planet Organic. This is not a shop that invites you to spend any length of time, if you're in for more than five minutes you'll feel like you're messing up the place!
To be honest, most of the big organic supermarkets all seem kind of the same to me. Same 'wooden crates with fruit and vegetables' window displays, same gourmet bread selection and over-priced ready-made meal selection.
I'm not saying I don't love it, because I actually do. There's something about these organic supermarkets that puts me at ease - ala Audrey Hepburn in Tiffany's perhaps?
And Planet Organic is no exception. With a great range of frozen and fresh food, fruit, vegetable, soaps, breads, yoghurts, tofu and so forth, it has it all. just expect to pay for it.
When Planet Organic opened I was so excited, but every time I go into the store I leave feeling a bit disappointed. The produce is mouth watering, but lacking in selection. It has excellent vegetarian selections with several tofu choices. The rest of the store is lacklustre. It has all the things you'd expect from an organic store but nothing unique that would set it apart from other similar stores. The pre-made food counter has several selections but none of it looks very appetising.
On a positive note, the store has an excellent vitamin section and the staff who works in that area really knows their stuff. They know exactly what to recommend if I want more energy or need more iron. I find myself going into the store to take advantage of the vitamin selection rather than the food. When I do buy food, I find I buy lots of fruits and vegetables because they are simply too beautiful to pass up.
Branding Planet Organic must not have been an easy job; for when you enter this food boutique store its a whole new world! The layout may follow similar retail store plans and sections. But its shelf produce and products are not an ordinary league. What I like most about any Planet Organic food store is their varied section of greens and vegetables including sprouts, and this store in Islington is no exception. Generously spread out on a large wooden table, it suggests an encouragement for the consumer to be eating more of healthy green diet.
Their butter range for example, other than the usual salted and unslated they also have one made from goats milk. So there is every possible consumer who has been thought of either for health or dietary reason. I have yet to try their 'food to go' section but I can promise you their juices are authentic and pure with it being churned in your sight. They also do a light snack, vegetarian menu which does not look appetising in appearence but might be different in taste.
The layout of the store is accessible with not much height space used; deliberately to make sure you can read their signs hanging from the ceiling. On my recent shopping visit I noticed that they wont be taking American Express cards from the new year onwards. Ask the manager!
Typical health food store with some over priced items that I can get elsewhere. Very pretty, very tasty looking but too rich for my blood.
But the one saving grace for me is that they sell trays of wheatgrass!
I bought a juicer a few weeks ago and have been on the search for fresh wheat grass ever since. Yes that's right, Im a hippie from california and I only just now own a juicer.
Anywho, the manager with the dreadlocks was very friendly the day I came in and stopped whatever it was that he was busily doing to find me a tray from the back. And he was very nice and suggested next time I should call ahead to reserve a tray as this one was just an extra one by chance.
When I tried the grass at home it was a lot sweeter than I remember it tasting like (as opposed to the memory of it tasting like I was sucking on a lawnmower) but I think the grass was a little older than it should have been for the optimum quality per blade but oh well.
Next time I might get a tray and sneak in a few ready to go treats. Just to be naughty.
Ooh, I do like Planet Organic! For some reason, I think it's a bit cheaper than Whole foods, I could be wrong but I don't have the mini heart attacks when paying for stuff here that I usually get at Whole Foods.
They stock a good range of fresh fruit, veg, good vegan lunch snacks, hot counter with fresh meals ets.
Lots of the usual Jams, honeys, Tahini's, condiments in general.Frozen food, cereals, bread, biscuits etc....
Also toiletries and cosmetics.
Oooh, they also stock Franks Hot Sauce! Yummo for chicken wings!
Oooh, they sell Mushroom & French Onion stock cubes in the KALLO organic stock range!! Delish!
I had to check out this new shop, just opened on Essex Road. There was a problem though I had my bike with me. I looked around and the only place to secure it was a lamppost right on the edge of the curb. I've seen too many such lampposts with attached bikes that have fallen into the road and been mashed to be happy about that I looked back at the shop. Nice wide aisles, not too crowded and decided to take the bike in with me. Something I have done in other shops with mixed results! It's sort of not done is it? But when have you ever seen a 'no bikes' sign?
Anyway I got most of the way round the shop, looking at the veggies, the hot food counter found myself a jar of miso (so much more practical than sachets) when a woman came up and asked me to take the bike out, as it was a health and safety hazard. I asked her how exactly it was a health and safety hazard, was it going to attack someone maybe? Unable to come up with an answer, she disappeared into the back
I was feeling sort of devilish, so when a guy appeared I was up for a good argument. I was informed that they just didn't allow bikes. 'You wouldn't take it into the supermarket would you?' Erm, actually my bike has been in Tesco, and anyway, as far as I could see I was actually in a supermarket right that minute. 'You wouldn't take it into a bank!' Too right I would if there was no-where to park it. 'It's a health and safety hazard: if the pedal hit someone's ankle we'd be liable'. I was being careful, but at last a halfway valid point. I did however point out that pushchairs, in that case, were just as much of a hazard. He shrugged, apparently seeing I also had a half valid point.. 'You can't leave a pushchair outside though'. Yes you can, you can take the child out and lock the chair up outside (maybe I should have asked what he'd do about a bike with an occupied child seat)
Anyway at that point he decided to stop arguing and just ask me firmly to take the bike out. I wasn't quite done though, as I asked him how come a store that was supposed to be ethical hadn't catered for bikes. He claimed they are applying for planning permission for bike racks. Seems a bit strange to me that they left it till after the store was re-built. Anyway, I calmly handed him my jar of miso and left, saying I'd be back when they got the bike racks. And spent quite a while after giggling to myself
I don't hate them for banning my bike, and I only argued because I was in the mood for a good debate. But it is a good point I think: what is a store like this doing without provision for bikes? Even the Tesco's just down the road has loads of bike racks (where my bike has waited for me on several occasions). So one star lost.
What I really hate is stores that won't let me go in with my cat in her basket
What's slightly eerie about Planet Organic is that it's a near replica of whole foods market - same cafe, same food products, pretty much; priced in exactly the same way (medium to high), same 'limousine liberal' feel about it; the ideal place to find a leftover copy of the Independent on Sunday. Oh there is one difference though, Planet Org has a deli; and a rather nice one too. It does strike me as a bit redundant though as you can get cheeses and meats elsewhere in the shop for less that at the deli and the cuts look pretty much the same to me; possibly because I've not eaten meat in a while.
The branch is always quiet when I visit it; you half expect to see tumbleweed. I thought it would be rammed with cash-rich time-poor Islingtonians; so the staff are VERY attentive, without being desperate. I tested them by asking for an obscure product (blanched almond butter) and they actually showed me the whole range, rather than trying to upsell to the most expensive one, as many health stores do.
This branch is the perfect summer spot, unlike the big one in Oxford Street has a lovely awning and ouside seating where you can people watch/perv on upper sreet. There's street parking right in front of the shop for cars and bikes, so you can sit watchfully sipping your capuccino without worrying about getting robbed.
One thing that Islington has plenty of is supermarkets; Everywhere you turn there seems to be one twinkling at you, inviting you to pop in and do your grocery shopping amongst its bounteous aisles. But Planet Organic is a little different, playing the role in this war of food providers of the healthy, nutritious, good for you warrior against the preservatives and allergen-laden products in the bigger stores. This analogy might not be the best I've ever used, but bear with me.
I'm one of these infuriating intolerance and allergy ridden people who can't eat a variety of different foods and consequently only ever gets invited to dinner by somebody once, so PO is an absolute gem which allows me to get my gluten-free breads, dairy-free milks and all types of organic produce such as fruit and veg, meats, ready meals and puddings. There's a hot and cold food counter with different offerings every day and they also sell coffee and freshly made juices, which can be jazzed up with all sorts of powders and vitamins. Not only that, there's even a little vitamin and supplement section with a very knowledgeable assistant who can provide you with all sorts of information about what herbs or vitamins are best for whatever ails you.
Yes it's expensive, organic food always is kids, but sometimes it's worth spending a little bit more to get food your body will love you for.
Gosh, as I started to write this review, I realized how conflicted I am about this store. On the one hand, it has lots of great stuff...I mean really delectable, high quality food, but the prices are absolutely insane, even for London standards. It makes me angry sometimes that most good, nutritious food is reserved for those with fat paychecks.
***gets down from soapbox***
Now that that's over with, I have to say I'm glad this is around the corner. When I can't find good quality, organic items anywhere else, I can find a lot of them here. Like cabbage or radishes or tortillas that aren't loaded with preservatives. It's missing a lot of staples though in my opinion and is really too heavy on other things. I mean, how many types of passata can there be?!?!? But no pistachios, and no bulk food section? That's like the signature of a natural food store!
I love you, I loath you. You're way better than Fresh and Wild.
I want this relationship to work, Planet Organic. I keep stopping by and hoping that you've changed...that you now provide me with at least half the things that are on the list of things I need. Instead I am faced with entire aisles of things that catch my eye for an instant as something new and different, but then I see the price and realize I can't afford a fling with flax flapjacks with goji berries. You remind me of my last love, Whole Foods, who I had to say goodbye to because we couldn't do the long distance thing, but without any of the yum. I'll still say hello every couple weeks to feed my addiction to coconut water, but it can't be any deeper. It's not me...it's you.
i can't believe i haven't already written about planet organic! this is one of those places that I only pass when I am deciding to walk home for "health reasons" so I am already in the mood for it.
Let me just say that the deli in the back is miles better than any of the stores surrounding coffee shops, so if you are in that section, and fancy getting a hearty/ healthy lunch/ dinner to go. GO TO PLANET ORGANIC!
they have a lot of options, and its all good and cheap.
now don't get me wrong, I know that i write a lot of reviews about veggie places, but I am not a veggie, i like MEAT, but sometimes i like to eat like meat if the flavors are nice. they have a lot of options, and lots of organic SNACKIES! so you can feel better about snacking, and pretend that the organic licorice you are putting in your mouth is GOOD for you!
so why only 4 stars? Molly K. told me that the planet organic where she goes has a form of Pumpkin pie, and being that it's my favorite, I immediately checked that MY planet organic stocked it, and it DIDN'T! i was heart broken. what a tease you are Planet organic. what a tease.
Super nice to find this place on a random walk. Always on the look out for organic super markets. They carried a nice selection of items, i picked up some stuff i was missing which was great. They had a deli, which seemed to be busy, and a nice seating area outside to enjoy your treats.
Snooty staff and hyped up prices..... not worth the bother....
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