For several years I lived down the street from a weekly farmers’ market in Brooklyn, New York, surrounded by a multitude of organic and natural food stores, yet I never gave much thought to buying organic groceries. My main reason for this was the price. Organic produce is more expensive and often doesn’t “look” as plump, or bright, or as beautiful as many nonorganic fruits and vegetables (probably thanks to all those pesticides and preservatives used to grow them). Then I moved to China and now I frequently go out of my way – across town when necessary – and fork out the extra RMB for that bag of organic strawberries or pine nuts – and I’m not the only one.
Many people in China, especially expats, have grown concerned about buying food in the country after multiple food safety scandals have come to light in the past several years, including the infamous melamine tainted milk scare, the tainted pork incident in Guangzhou, the widespread production and use of fake peas and reusable cooking oil, and the tainted steamed bread scandal in Shanghai among others. Another concern is if foods labeled as “organic” in China are really up to international standards and free of growth stimulants and chemical fertilizers. Last year the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) drastically toughened their import regulations for “organic” foods produced in China and retailers like Whole Foods Market (the world’s largest supermarket specializing in natural and organic products) cut back on the number of organic products from China that they shelve.
The up-side to all of this is that the need for organic produce in China has led to more shopping options for locals, especially in the major cities, and Beijing is no exception. Here are a few of the best stores around town that stock organic foods and products (many of them imported).
1) Lohao City 乐活城
Lohao City, Beijing’s first organic health food store, sells produce that was grown at their own organic farms. Lohao is short for “Lifestyle of Health and Organic” and their commitment to natural and organic living has persisted even as they’ve grown and expanded into five locations across Beijing. Lohao offers specialty organic goods for pregnant and nursing women and babies as well as organic products for daily living including macrobiotic brushes. Their website (both in English and Chinese) offers online shopping and great organic recipes for healthy stir-fries as well as some more inventive ones like one for a fat-reducing and toxin-discharging Energy Soup. Call for same day delivery and sign up for a Lohao discount card – pay 500-5000 RMB for a card and receive savings of 3-10% when you make a purchase. Visit their website to find their many locations.
Tel: 400 888 5527 (online customer service)
2) World Health Store 康美然健康馆
The World Health in CBD is known for selling vitamins and natural supplements as well as protein bars, but it also sells packaged organic and natural vegan-friendly foods. They have a particularly good selection of organic nuts, fruits, beans and grains: flaxseed, brown rice, coffee, and sugar-free cereals. Another reason to stop by this store is to check out their environmentally friendly products ranging from household cleaners to laundry detergents to apparel. The World Health Store will ship orders to any city and delivers to your door within Beijing. Sign up to become a VIP member and enjoy saving on your purchases.
Address: R 2152, 1 F, A section, North Tower, SOHO Shangdu, 8 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5900 2209
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 10:00-20:00; Sat - Sun 10:00 - 19:30
3) Jenny Lou’s 婕妮璐
Jenny Lou’s stocks many hard to find Western products including organic options and offers free delivery from their nine locations around the city. The Chaoyang West Gate Branch and the Sanlitun Branch have the largest and most complete selections. You can also shop and place a delivery order online on their website.
Chaoyang West Gate Branch
Add: 1-16 West gate of Chaoyang Park, Changyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6501 6249
Add：6 Beisanlitun Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6461 6928
4) April Gourmet 绿叶子食品店
Similar to Jenny Lou’s in selection and price, April Gourmet has four locations around Beijing. Where April Gourmet shines is with its deli corner selling sandwich meats, its selection of wines, as well as its huge selection of import cheeses and freshly baked breads including bagels. Recently, the World Health Store set up a stand on the 2nd floor of April Gourmet branch in Lido, selling a wide range of vitamin and mineral supplements and natural remedies like Echinacea drops.
Add: 102 Richmond Park Leisure Center, Fangyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 82478116
Opening hours: Daily, 08:00-22:00
Add: 1/F Jiezuo Building, Xingfu Zhong Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Phone: 010 6417 7970
5) Olé Supermarket 华润万家生活超市
Olé is another relative newcomer on the scene, although it’s a subsidiary of China Resources Vanguard which owns the Vanguard Supermarkets and a total of 2600+ stores across mainland China and Hong Kong. The Olé brand was introduced in 2004 and seems to be gaining traction with customers tired of the service at Jenny Lou’s and April Gourmet and the endless problems with getting official fapiao (not a register receipt but the official store receipt that allows you to get your expenses reimbursed if your company offers that) at those places. Olé also lets you pay with credit cards. Those without cushy expense reimbursement plans or foreign plastic may be a little put off by the slightly higher prices. Their fresh bread selection has also been popular with foreigners craving toast and decent sandwiches. Check their website for the many locations around Beijing.
6) BHG Market Place
BHG Market Place has three locations in Beijing offering organic foods and is a rival of Jenny Lou’s. Prices here are not always the best particularly on produce, but they are not too much higher than what you would pay at Jenny Lou’s or another store selling foreign import products. BHG’s has a good selection of import beer, spirits, juices and soft drinks, cereals, candies and cookies.
Solana BranchView In Map
Add: SMM06, Solana International Shopping Center, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6585 5858
Shin Kong Place BranchView In Map
Add: B1, Shin Kong Place, 87 Jianguo Lu, Chaogyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6530 5888
Sanlitun BranchView In Map
Add: SLG00 of Sanlitun Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6415 8226
7) Organic Farm 有机农庄
Organic Farm is a great choice for buying organic produce online. The company stocks both imported and domestically produced produce, selling a wide range of organic fruit, vegetables, cereals, dairy products, herbs and spices etc. Organic Farm delivers to Beijing homes from Monday to Saturday between 08:30-18:00, and dairy products are only delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Check out their website for a list of products.
Tel: 400 886 9166 (Mon-Fri, 09:00-18:00)
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Keywords: organic stores beijing organic produce beijing natural living beijing health food stores Beijing
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