Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Dr. Bronner's

By Carly Price, February 8, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

Dr. Bronner'sWe love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

In the late 1940s, Dr. Emanuel Bronner created his homemade soaps to promote a message of world peace. That dedication to making the world a better place continues at Dr. Bronner’s with his grandsons, David and Michael Bronner, at the helm.

Soapmaking has been a tradition in the Bronner family for five generations, dating back to 1858 Germany. In 1929, Emanuel emigrated to the United States, leaving behind his parents who were soon lost to the Holocaust. This tragedy fueled Emanuel’s passion to promote his philosophy, which encouraged all people to unite as one and to respect each other and their world.

The main vehicle for sharing that message was his homemade peppermint liquid soap, which he began packaging in the now-iconic bottles covered with dense text. And by the 1960s, the soap developed a huge following of folks who learned they could wash everything from their hands to their VW vans with it.

Dr. Bronner’s now offers a range of fair trade and organic products, including lotions, lip balms, hand sanitizer, shave gel and coconut oil for culinary or body care use.

All major ingredients in Dr. Bronner’s products come from certified fair trade and organic sources, including coconut oil from Sri Lanka, palm oil from small family farms in Ghana and olive oil from Palestine and Israel.

“Our products are about transparency and respect,” David says. “It’s about knowing your farmers and their communities, caring about their working conditions and forging long-term relationships.”

Dr. Bronner's

Recently, growing out of a tsunami relief project, Dr. Bronner’s built Serendipol, a facility in Sri Lanka where Dr. Bronner’s Magic “All-One!” Fair Trade & Organic Fresh-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil is produced in two varieties: traditional white kernel with the skin shaved off for a neutral aroma, and whole kernel with the skin left on for additional nutrition and slightly richer coconut flavor.

Serendipol has created economic opportunity for hundreds of farmers and workers, and ultimately helps to fund community development projects, such as life-saving equipment for local hospitals.

Dr. Bronner’s also invests part of its profits in many social causes and charitable organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and is a key supporter of the Fair World Project.

“Our family business honors the ideals of our grandfather,” David says. “We have an obligation and responsibility to do business in an ethical way that respects everyone involved, from the farmer to the end customer.”

When did you try your favorite Dr. Bronner’s product?

Category: Supplier Stories




Ashley says ...
I tried your coconut oil & i absolutely fell in love with this product. I use this product on my curly hair for moisture and as a treatment. Sometimes I mix it with aloe vera from a house plant I have, I definitely recommend this product. It is also very good for the skin. However, I have yet to try it with foods. Great product overall
02/09/2013 11:02:19 AM CST
John riddle says ...
I tried the peppermint soap when I was about 15 or 16 and have been using it ever since, I am now 57, I take it camping, and use it for everything, washing dishes, my hair my body and brushing my teeth, I was in the keys when I was like 17 with my friends and was showering at the beach with the peppermint soap and a park ranger started to tell me to stop using it because it will hurt the environment, because soap creates soap scum and I tried to explain to him about it being bio degradable and that it creates no soap scum but he didn't want to here it. I also use it on my bonsai plants and herbs to control all kinds of bugs and also use it on my palm trees to kill the dreaded white fly, much better than using harsh chemicals. This for a great product.
02/10/2013 3:35:16 PM CST
Holly says ...
I tried my first Dr. Bronner's product in the 1970's, I think. I mostly use it now for camping and cleaning around the house. I just bought a jar of the coconut oil, but haven't tried it yet. I would love some suggestions on how to use it for cooking!!
02/13/2013 4:33:41 PM CST
lorry guggenheim says ...
i am using 18 in 1 hemp almond pure castile soap as a foot soak great products
02/13/2013 5:11:41 PM CST
John Tedesco says ...
I was introduced to Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap by a friend in 1975. She said she used it every day, and that it had many uses. I tried it, and I found it to be a terrific soap for the shower, and versatile. I have used a few other Dr. Bronner's products over the years, but I still use the Peppermint soap every day. It is especially refreshing to use in the Summer. The coconut oil sounds great.
02/13/2013 5:13:19 PM CST
Vicki says ...
I have used Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap since the mid '70's (dilute, dilute dilute... said the label) . I introduced my husband to Dr. Bronner soap and now we keep 8 different flavors in our shower at all times. Our kids laugh at us, they just don't understand. Everyday we choose a different soap depending on the weather or how we are feeling that morning. It is the best soap to take camping, aside from being bio degradable, you feel really clean after using it.
02/13/2013 5:54:50 PM CST
Cheryl says ...
Starting using Dr. Bronner's soaps about 16 years ago. Can use not only as a great body/shower soap, but to clean almost everything in your entire house!
02/13/2013 7:34:29 PM CST
S. Carol says ...
Wow! I look forward to trying Dr. Bronner's Organic Fresh-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil. I use organic fresh pressed virgin coconut oil daily. I have used daily Bronner's Peppermint liquid soap. Continued success to the Bronner family.
02/13/2013 7:36:19 PM CST
Charles Parker - Happys Greeenhouse says ...
Bring back the chips!
02/13/2013 8:08:19 PM CST
Tara says ...
I first discovered Dr. Bronners Peppermint soap in 1987. It was welcome relief to the hot and humid New Orleans summers.
02/13/2013 8:29:50 PM CST
Kara says ...
I love the coconut oil for a body lotion and to do all my sautéing... Like it to cook my homemade popcorn in too! I have a friend who used all the peppermint line during pregnancy and it was the only thing that helped with morning sickness.
02/13/2013 8:48:31 PM CST
Barbara Guss says ...
I can't get along without my Dr. Bonner's products! I use differently fragranced soaps at different times of the year. Citrus in the summer, Almond during the dry winter months, Rose for calmness, Peppermint for an invigorating shower and Unscented/Baby for my visiting grandson's bath as well as cleaning solution for my beautiful concrete counters! I did not know about the Coconut oil. I will definitely add that to my "collection," as I already use it as a soothing body and face moisturizer. I just read that Dr. Oz suggests Coconut oil as a nutritional staple also. I had no tolerance for additives, parabens, sodium laurel sulfates after being introduced to Dr. Bonner's products. Tip: for shower gel, use a small amount of Dr. Bonner's soap (very concentrated) in a wet natural sea sponge. It provides a luxurious, economical way to use this product. Also, sea sponges NEVER seem to mildew and are always fresh and clean. Science should focus on this quality in nature for other uses.
02/13/2013 9:13:35 PM CST
C. Fenton Rutledge says ...
Good evening, please help me understand the health benefits of coconut oil. It actually seems funny to me that I have never read or discussed this with anyone because I have been an advocate of preventive health products for many years, And, fortunately, was able to make connections with a like minded doctor soon after my wife and I got married (my 2nd; her 1st). This doctor oversaw my health regimen for 5 or 6 years before he relocated, and really kick-started me on the path to a much healthier lifestyle with the use of many vitamin, mineral, and other supplements. But never over these past 30+ year have any of us discussed the health benefits of coconut oil. Please fill me in on its benefits. Thank you!
02/13/2013 11:31:31 PM CST
MtnBikerBecky says ...
I just bought a jar of the coconut oil a week ago and love it! It's already half gone! I use it in healthy baking recipes as the "fat" instead of butter.
02/14/2013 9:32:52 AM CST
Veronica Medina says ...
I love Miller's Clover and Desert Honey from Whole Foods.
02/14/2013 10:56:35 AM CST
Pauline Hampshire says ...
You will find that if you cook fish in the coconut oil, your home will not resonate an odor of fish. Very nice. Coconut oil is very healthy for you and is known to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
02/14/2013 2:48:39 PM CST
Andrea Hughes says ...
Words cannot express how much I love Dr Bronner's Peppermint soap both liquid and solid. I have used this product for over 20 years. My adult children now also use it. Not only is it pure and used by us for bathing, hand sanitizing and shaving we love the smell and the fact it lasts for a very long time because we do not have to use very much to get such fabulous results and at the same time is so very good for our skin! We give our thanks for the caring and creation of such a wonderful product!!!!!
02/14/2013 3:45:36 PM CST
roxanne beretta says ...
I use coconut oil everyday! I just bought Dr. Bronner's yesterday and I love it. I put a tablespoon into my protein shake every afternoon. I also use it to cook my popcorn, then melt some on top with a little Madhava coconut sugar. I also use coconut oil on dry skin, and it works great for burns. Before bed I eat 1 teaspoon (right out of the jar) to help fight bacterial infections. It is a great versatile product!
02/14/2013 6:12:31 PM CST
LInda M says ...
I tried my first Bonner product about 2 years age, after a being diagnosed with a skin rash, the soap has kept my skin from itching and burning and now i won't use anything else.
02/15/2013 10:34:21 AM CST
Mary Ann says ...
I LOVE the body balm. I use it in the evening to help with keeping my hands hydrated from washing them over 25x's day. In healthcare it's a must! The body balm leaves skin soft, takes care of the dryness. Twice a week I use cotton hand gloves over night for a deep moisturizing treatment. I have tried all the scents- they are amazing. PS your feet will love the balm too! Mary Ann
02/15/2013 11:27:44 AM CST
Rosa says ...
I have been using the Peppermint soap since I was in college in the 80's and have introduced so many friends and family to rejuvenating feeling after a shower. Also, it a must for travelling since it is my soap and toothpaste and.......
02/16/2013 8:35:04 AM CST
MW says ...
My first Bonners product was the pepperment soap that I bought a long time ago at an army surplus store. It is wonderful to see that his grandsons are carrying on the family tradition. Loved reading the family history and I look forward to try Bonner's Coconut Oil. My neighbor recently enlightened my to the benefits of coconut oil and I am learning how to incorporate it into my food.
02/17/2013 6:11:49 PM CST
Renee says ...
My grandmother has used Dr. Bronner's soaps for decades! I have very sensitive skin--some "normal" soaps make me break out in a rash. I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap in all my soap dispensers around the house (and in the shower)--have for years, and I love it!
04/17/2013 3:59:57 PM CDT
Kathy Inman says ...
I was delighted to find Dr. Bronners is also a sponsor of an amazing new film about the injustices of marijuana prohibition called American Drug War 2 - Cannabis Destiny.
06/15/2013 8:12:42 AM CDT
James Benney says ...
Yes. Bring back the chips!
07/14/2013 5:29:54 PM CDT