Everyone has a few favourite independent stores in Galway that just make shopping so much more enjoyable. They might include some independent clothes shops, cafes, restaurants, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, or bookshops, the city is full of them. There is a knowledge, expertise, and friendly banter in these stores that you do not get in the big chains. One of these shops that makes shopping in Galway such a pleasure is undoubtedly Evergreen.
While a health food shop is basically a grocery store that primarily sells health foods, organic foods, local produce, and nutritional supplements, they typically offer customers a wider and more specialised selection of foods than conventional stores, maybe people with special dietary needs, such as those with allergies and for people who observe vegetarian, vegan, raw food, organic, and other alternative diets, or athletes and bodybuilders. The term health food has been used since the 1920s to refer to specific foods claimed to be especially beneficial to health, although the term has no official definition. Some terms that are associated with health food are macrobiotics, natural foods, organic foods, and whole foods. Macrobiotic is a diet focusing primarily on whole cereals; these, along with other whole foods, are foods that are minimally processed. Whole cereals have their fibre, germ, and hull intact and are considered more nutritious. Natural foods are simply foods that contain no artificial ingredients. Organic foods are foods that are grown without the use of conventional and artificial pesticides and must meet strict organic standards.
The data indicates that organic goods are becoming more mainstream and are not just for high-income shoppers any more. Traditional supermarkets, mass merchandisers, and discount grocery have all seen their respective share of the market inch higher over the last few years. Indeed, most retailers are now touting organic as an increased focus area, and we even see the 'discount giants' offer items ranging from organic ketchup to organic milk. It seems that organic products are no longer niche.
A quarter of a century ago in Ireland, when you bought beans, they were Batchelors, chocolate was Cadbury, and you were lucky if you could find a jar of peanut butter, let alone a variety of nut butters — but this was the market that Evergreen entered into back in 1992. It was a trailblazer in the organic food industry well before it was mainstream to talk about the health and wellness benefits of everyday foods. The concept of better eating grew rapidly, and in true pioneering spirit, Evergreen grew with it. Over the years, the company worked hard to collect a variety of products and to make them available to everyone, in one store, in one shopping trip, or at the click of a button.
All the staff in Evergreen are really friendly and knowledgeable, they know a huge amount about the produce they sell and the health benefits of each product. They all make learning about health and healthy eating enjoyable rather than intimidating. Even if you are not health obsessed this is a shop all food lovers need to know about and visit. The range of speciality foods they sell is incredible — pretty much every grain, bean, nut, seed, or dried fruit you could ever wish for. They have a really extensive selection of dried seaweeds, which are becoming really popular in Irish cooking. They sell lots of different alternative dairy products, chocolate, teas, every kind of flour you can imagine... the list is endless.
They also do a whole range of cleaning and beauty products, supplements, essential oils, etc. It is a one-stop shop for pretty much anything health related. Even if you are only slightly curious about improving your health, this is one place that you definitely need to start.
From a handful of idealists in the 1960s to the domination of juggernauts like Whole Foods in the United States, the success of the natural and organic foods industry proves that a business based on principles is not just possible, but profitable. People have a choice every day to naturally increase their energy, optimise their health, and balance their mind and emotional wellbeing through food choices. Eating an unrefined and unprocessed diet fuels the body and brain, resulting in improved attention span and productivity at work and school, to treating food as more than fuel, and more as a preventative medicine. Evergreen is more than a shop — it is a business putting people and planet first that continues to change the way we eat, the way we live, and the way we think about ourselves. Evergreen is determined to make healthy and organic products accessible and affordable for everyone.
True to its mission, Evergreen still believes that everyone has a right to great tasting, high quality, products that are affordable and easy to find without having to make an extra trip to a specialty store. As mainstream retailers across the board now hop on the organic bandwagon and natural food pioneers are losing their dominant hold of the market, Evergreen has turned this to its advantage by moving with the times and providing a nationwide online shopping opportunity. Once again, Evergreen is way ahead of its time.
Evergreen, 27 Kilkerrin Business Park, Tuam Road, Galway, Galway, Ireland. Tel:091 753236.