Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Pacific Natural Foods

By Marc Hamel and Ha Lam, November 12, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Marc Hamel and Ha Lam
We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’ll be sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series. Chuck Eggert, founder of Pacific Natural Foods in Oregon, has an extensive book collection that includes cookbooks dating back to an English cookbook from the 17th century. This helps explain the philosophy behind Pacific, a company that began by producing soymilk and now offers soups, broths, non-dairy beverages and more. “If you look at most historical recipes, they never had more than five to ten ingredients,” says Eggert. History’s culinary influence is evident in Pacific’s Organic Turkey Gravy, which contains seven ingredients: turkey broth, roux (turkey fat and flour), crème fraîche, turkey, sea salt and rosemary extract. “Using crème fraîche instead of milk gives the gravy a rich, savory flavor,” Eggert explains. “We believe in keeping recipes simple to capture the full flavor of natural ingredients. We want people to read our ingredient lists and know what they are.” Choices like these result in products that are simply delicious. In fact, Eggert often hears from people who think their products are as good as — or better — than homemade. Better than mom’s? That’s quite a compliment. “It validates our food philosophy of using high-quality ingredients, simple recipes and doing things like you would in your own kitchen.” Good gravy, indeed! What do you think about Pacific’s historical approach to recipes? Check out the slideshow above and leave us a comment to let us know what you think.




Megan says ...
I've never seen "autolyzed yeast extract" in a 17th century cookbook. Pacific Natural makes the only broth I can eat since I am sensitive to flavor enhancers such as MSG, autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. I am very grateful for their low sodium veggie broth because it lists each individual spice with no mysterious generalizations. However, most of their other products contain flavor enhancers, "natural flavors", or "spices" so I can't eat them because I can't be sure what's in them. It's a shame.
11/15/2011 3:30:36 PM CST
Lovely Rita says ...
I love all their stuff, especially their soups. They are delicious!
11/17/2011 9:17:07 AM CST
Jen says ...
@Megan: Hey Megan! Jen from Pacific here. Thanks for your feedback! I'm glad you're a fan of our Low Sodium Veggie Broth. It's our goal to produce the "cleanest" products possible, i.e. with labels that reflect how you'd make something in your own kitchen. With that said, it's a journey, and we're continually innovating and trying to find the best ingredients and processes that deliver the highest quality, best tasting products that reflect this vision. In regards to the "natural flavors" & "spices" unfortunately what's in them is proprietary, so we can't list it on the labels. But if you reach out to our consumer affairs contact with a list of your allergies, she'd be happy to help identify products that fit your needs.
11/17/2011 12:29:37 PM CST
patricia says ...
I like this company, it is on a good track. However, I would like more information to know for sure, please. Number one; Is the packaging, (which is as important as any ingredient)free of BPA?Also, does it have any type of plastic that touches the food? Number two; do any of your spices, or any ingredients, contain irradiated sources? After reading about how the food is irradiated, (cesium 60 etcetera) I am trying to not buy any of these type of foods.Thank you, I look forward to hearing back on these questions, and (hopefully) purchasing your products soon.
11/17/2011 3:51:47 PM CST
Dana says ...
Their potato rosemary soup is one of the best soups I've ever had! It's comforting, delicious, filling, and the flavors are amazing. I love that they use so few ingredients. I've stopped worrying so much about calories and started trying to find things with ingredients that I can actually recognize. To me, the fewer the better (so long as taste isn't compromised). I do wish there was less sodium in the potato rosemary soup however.
11/17/2011 5:28:14 PM CST
Michelle says ...
I enjoyed the story. You should have the books available in a library for interested people to read! :) I would love to look through some of those old books and collect historical farming/dairy books myself! Michelle spiritedrose.wordpress.com
11/21/2011 3:20:05 PM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Patricia Good questions. The best way to get the most complete and accurate information regarding the packaging and irradiated ingredients is to reach out to the Pacific Natural Foods Company directly. The link below will take you to their contact information. Thanks for your support. http://www.pacificfoods.com/get-to-know-us/contact-us
11/22/2011 9:57:29 AM CST
Courtney says ...
Their soup is good stuff! I love it. It's my comfort food. Mmmm...I can taste it now. It's the perfect combonation of filling, sensational, flavorful soup. :)
10/22/2012 7:02:51 PM CDT