In this episode of Food Futures, Ludwig Hurtado speaks with Isabel Ling about the history of the buzzy LA-based grocery chain, Erewhon, and how it evolved from a project rooted in a mission of world peace to earning its viral reputation as “America’s Most Expensive Grocery Store.” 

This is an episode of MOLD’s podcast, Food Futures. Listen here.

Isabel Ling is MOLD’s Senior Editor. In her recent piece, Finding Erewhon, she delves into the story behind their $20 smoothies. Known for selling $30 jugs of oxygenated water and $25 sprouted buckwheat boules to the Beverly Hills elite, it’s easy to imagine that Erewhon was made for people like Gwyneth Paltrow and Hailey Bieber. In reality, the luxury grocery store actually got its start in 1966 as a small basement storefront in Boston with a goal of bringing the macrobiotic diet to the broader United States.

Isabel discusses the incongruities between Erewhon’s original mission and how it operates today as a symbol for opulence in holistic health and wellness. Communities across the world have always relied on seasonal and natural eating, herbal medicines, and indigenous healing traditions as a strategy to keep their bodies healthy. The ingredients and products Erewhon sells today are still high quality, but they are unattainable to anyone who can’t pay the premium. Ludwig and Isabel examine the narrative that we cannot be healthy without first being wealthy.

Listen to Food Futures today to find out how Erewhon fits into a larger story on the commodification of health and wellness.

Listen to this episode of Food Futures here.