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Best of Toronto

The Best Health Food Stores in Toronto

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / December 11, 2013

Health Stores TorontoThe best health food stores in Toronto underscore that it's time we retire the notion that such shops are the stomping ground of rich hippies and granola do-gooders, and fess up to the reality that these stores are an integral part of how Torontonians feed themselves and make themselves well, in mind, body and spirit.

Rarely does one store have it all: some focus on fresh, local produce, building relationships with suppliers and the community, some are mostly vitamin and supplement dispensaries with highly trained practitioners as staff, and some began as centres to buy bulk staples, lowering costs and packaging for customers. But increasingly, as we demand more local, environmental, democratic and sustainable food options, and look for non-traditional therapies and alternative remedies, these health stores grow and change with us.

Here are the best health food stores in Toronto.

See also:

The best gourmet grocery stores in Toronto
The best fruit & vegetable stores in Toronto
The top 10 organic food delivery options in Toronto

Essence of Life

Essence of Life

Essence of Life in Kensington wins for best all round health store. Stocked with everything from fresh organic produce, a bulk section, body products, household cleaners and a vitamin and supplement room complete with its own knowledgeable staff, what’s really fantastic about this market institution is the price is right, consistently cheaper than the competition. More »

The Big Carrot

The Big Carrot

The Big Carrot feels like shopping in New England, where modern outlet malls retain the vibe of an oddly Dickensian emporium. Roomy aisles let you peruse the goods, with a separate room for body products and a whole other shop for vitamins and supplements. This long-standing co-op, with a green roof, well trained staff and extensive community engagement has been a draw to the Danforth since 1983. More »

Noah's Natural Foods

Noah's Natural Foods

Noah’s Natural Foods began in 1981 at Bloor and Spadina, and with five locations scattered across the GTA, it is a veritable empire. Heck, they have their very own app where you can order all your favourite products and pills without leaving the comfort of your home, though the cafe/vegan take-out joint Fennel hidden in the back of one location would be well worth the trip. More »

Qi Natural Foods

Qi Natural Foods

With three spots, one in Koreatown, one on Roncesvalles and one on Eglinton, Qi Natural Foods is clean and well organized and very competitive in terms of pricing, with a limited selection of fresh produce, but an impressive range of bulk items, frozen goods and supplements. More »

Wholesome Market

Wholesome Market

Wholesome Market in the Beach calls itself a one-stop shop and owners Taslim and Hanif Jamal know how to keep it well stocked. Criticisms of pricey-ness don’t seem to dissuade Beach residents for making Wholesome Market their go-to health store. More »

The Sweet Potato

The Sweet Potato

The Sweet Potato is run by spirited young folks in the Junction and is more of an ethical grocery store than a dispensary. Local organic food is front and centre, but you can also find grains, meat, fish and packaged foods, and a staff that is warm, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. More »

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti is a Kensington Market institution, narrow but piled high, known for its great prices and friendly staff. The bulk section is particularly good and attentiveness at the checkout means low wait times. Find especially cheap beeswax candles and body products here. More »

Herbs and Nutrition

Herbs and Nutrition

Herbs and Nutrition at Bloor and Bathurst has become a neighbourhood staple. Maybe it’s that the staff are so helpful, or that the inventory (a mix of dried goods, supplements and minerals and fresh items) is clearly laid out, or just maybe it’s the consistently budget-friendly pricing. More »

Karma Co-Op

Karma Co-Op

Karma Co-op, hidden deep within the Annex, harkens back to the early days of health stores, a bunch of like-minded people interested in bulk purchasing healthful food for the welfare of their bodies, the community and their pockets. Still going strong 30 plus years later, they carry fresh and frozen food, bulk items, and more. More »

Appletree Natural Foods

Appletree Natural Foods

Appletree Natural Foods on West Queen West is a beacon for the health-conscious. Go there to pick up bulk items, cereals, organic dairy and soy products but the real gem is at the back, where one of the owners will make you delicious fresh fruit smoothies to go. More »

West End Food Co-op

West End Food Co-op

The West End Food Co-op has only had a permanent home in the lower level of the Parkdale Community Health Centre for a couple years, but has run the Sorauren Farmers Market for much longer. Focused on sustainable food for all, the co-op has a thriving membership and is a pillar of the Parkdale community. More »

Ambrosia Natural Foods

Ambrosia Natural Foods

The growth of Ambrosia Natural Foods in Thornhill has been an evolutionary process. They began with bulk food in the seventies, adding vitamins and supplements in the eighties, organic produce in the late nineties and sports and anti-aging nutrition in the aughts. Now, with two franchises in Vaughan and Newmarket as well. More »

Healthy Planet

Healthy Planet

Healthy Planet has a stronghold on the greater Toronto area with locations in Scarborough, North York, Pickering, Markham, Mississauga and Etobicoke, and now has a Danforth location as well. Sport nutrition, supplements, body care and packaged foods are their focus, but they have a fresh prepared food option at some locations also. More »

Evergreen Natural Foods

Evergreen Natural Foods

Evergreen Natural Foods has two locations geared more for vitamins and supplements, body care products and frozen, packaged or bulk food rather than fresh produce, but the comprehensive selection and open doors on Sundays has people coming back for more. More »

Moberly Fine Foods

Moberly Fine Foods

Moberly Natural Foods, at Woodbine and Coxwell, used to be called Better Bulk Danforth. But a change in focus, from bulk to natural foods, required a name change as well. Staff is eager to guide you through the many options available, be it bulk goods, soy, body products or supplements. More »

Discussion

41 Comments

forgot one / December 11, 2013 at 03:26 pm
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FOODS FOR LIFE by Runnymede and Bloor is the mecca of all things health-related! The tightly-squeezed place has wall-to-wall vitamins, specialty foods/baked goods, and supplements at WICKEDLY WHOLESALE prices! Beats out all 15 of these stores listed!
beepboop / December 11, 2013 at 03:41 pm
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These spots are classy, but expensive. The best value in the city is Sugar N' Spice in Kensington Market on Augusta Ave. It's not pretty, but everything is like 30% cheaper than you'll find anywhere else.
Ira / December 11, 2013 at 03:42 pm
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Glad that Healthy Planet made it! We're in the west end and their prices are really good for Etobicoke!
Clivia_Gardens / December 11, 2013 at 03:43 pm
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Organic Garage! Technically in Vaughan (Bathurst and Centre St.) Great local meats. Fresh produce. Wonderful knowledgeable staff.
Graeme Quinn / December 11, 2013 at 03:44 pm
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RIP weekend shoppers at Essence of Life. The blogTO horde approaches.
Graeme Quinn replying to a comment from Clivia_Gardens / December 11, 2013 at 03:45 pm
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Organic Garage is the worst grocery store I've ever been to and they treat their employees like garbage. Never shop there.
Gucio replying to a comment from forgot one / December 11, 2013 at 03:49 pm
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AGREED!!!! FOODS FOR LIFE should be on there!
Anon / December 11, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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I like The Green Post which is a sister store to Tutti Frutti. I find both stores cheaper than Essence of Life.
Anjelica / December 11, 2013 at 04:02 pm
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Multiple Organics:) great staff, products and produce
jodyhigherroller / December 11, 2013 at 05:10 pm
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*******READ PLEASE********

Supplements/Whey/Vitamims etc: Healthy Planet. They stock a lot of good brands (NOW, Naturals, AOR etc) rather than the low quality (Jamiesons etc) and are on average $8-10 dollars cheaper. Im not saying that supplements can replace a bad diet, but bioavailibility does matter in absorbtion...Even their chia seeds, acai berries are cheaper, than say Whole Foods. The brands are the same and they are not near expired as I once thought they were. The only location I can vouch for is the one at Ellesmere/VP.

Grocery: Call me crazy, but Longos and Whole foods are very competitively priced when it comes to MOST organic groceries. Kale, Spinach and avocados are priced simliar if not cheaper than these stores. Some stuff, such as Strawberries and blueberries are priced higher. However, I will not buy any Chia seed, Golden berries dried fruit here. Way cheaper than Healthy Planet. If anyone can give me some experience with the stores above regarding organic veggies/fruits...that would be great.

Also: If anyone is interested in buying Perrier water, Food Basics sells a 1 litre plasic bottle for 1.69. I seen 750ml bottles go for $3 at other places...so yes.

Ambrosia Natural Foods is also very good as I like their selection of Honey and what not. Great staff as well.
jeremy / December 11, 2013 at 05:37 pm
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Multiple organics is overpriced and the few times I've shopped there the woman (I think she's one of the owners) attending the cash is either on the phone while cashing me out, or generally unfriendly. I'd much rather buy elsewhere.
Gina / December 11, 2013 at 07:18 pm
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We love Second Nature in Bloor West Village. Great people. Great products. Great prices.
Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse / December 11, 2013 at 07:37 pm
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I'm happy that Evergreen on St. Clair is on there, although the map marker is wrong. I love the staff there, and Harry (the owner) is super nice and helpful. Also, if you guys have a Toronto Vegetarian Association member card, you get 5% discount there (I think its 5% at Noahs and Essence of Life as well).

Also I'm wondering if it's worth mentioning Karma Co-Op? It's currently members only (members either pay a fee or volunteer to have access to the cheap bulk and produce), but they're opening it up to the public in the new year (but upping the price. Members will get a discount)
bArch / December 11, 2013 at 08:17 pm
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Surprised that Baldwin Naturals isn't on this list. One of the older stores in the city. I find their prices pretty spot on and always good conversation with the employees.
BillyO / December 11, 2013 at 09:07 pm
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Of the Kensington and Annex stores, Tutti Frutti wins hands down in terms of price. 98% of the same products carried at the other stores a cheaper here. The other 2% the prices are the same. Don't believe me, compare to Essence (which is good, but why am I paying an extra $.5-$2 more per item when I can't get the exact same at Tutti?)...specifically I am referring to chia seeds, whey or hemp protein powders, and all the vitamins/supplements/omega 3's all that are cheaper.
Matt / December 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm
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Ecencse of Joy I gotta try that place out!
Biiiii-yatch! Wooop Woop.
AC replying to a comment from Graeme Quinn / December 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm
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TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH GRAEME QUINN's COMMENT.
Organic Garage in Vaughan & Oakville is AMAZING! Great selection & prices for organic and all natural foods. The staff is VERY friendly & helpful and the store is always so clean and you even get to demo lots of great and exciting products! :) There is even a Toronto location coming soon! :)
AJ / December 12, 2013 at 12:11 am
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This is totally sketch.
Sar / December 12, 2013 at 12:22 am
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Noah's has by far the best educated staff around
T.IsGood.ca / December 13, 2013 at 02:06 pm
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Here's a price comparison I did last year: http://i.imgur.com/HxzgE.jpg
Paddy / December 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm
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Your Good Health down at Bayview Village and on Queen St. (Queen and John) is my normal go to - their staff are both insanely knowledgable and friendly. Highly recommend!
Andrea / January 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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@jeremy I completely agree with you on Multiple Organics!! Plus they charge $0.20 for a paper bag. It's a really nice paper bag, probably artisanal....

For my hard earned money, The Nuthouse and D-Mart on Bloor and Lansdowne are worth the walk. Both have better pricing and consistently friendly service.
Marissa / January 1, 2014 at 10:50 pm
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Herbs & Nutrition- I've had many issues with the shelf price vs the cash register price. I ALWAYS check my receipt because almost 50% of the time something was ringing through as more $$ than the shelf price. they have been less than friendly about rectifying these discrepancies. Also when I purchased my normal shampoo, I got a bottle that had clearly gone off. When I tried to return it, they said too bad. These combined experiences have left me with less than positive feelings about this store.
Dean / January 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm
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To the person recommending Your Good Health.. that chain is totally overpriced. You should check out the other stores (I recommend the ones in Kensington). You'll be astonished once you realize how much Your Good Health marks up the price!
murf / January 2, 2014 at 05:07 pm
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Too bad nobody mentioned a 50Year plus vetern LADY YORK , Lawrence and Dufferin. They are getting in alot more natural , organic and non gmo grocery items and there prices are amazingly low or very competitive. CHECK it out Toronto
murf / January 2, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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CHECK OUT LADY YORK, DUFFERIN AND LAWRENCE, TORONTO, HEALHTY , ORGANIC, NATURAL AND NON GMO GROCERY ITEMS AND FANTASTIC PRICES. OVERALL PRICES ARE LOW AND NICE PRODUCE SELECTION
Annie / January 25, 2014 at 09:03 pm
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I'm glad (and not surprised) that Whole Health at College Park was not mentioned in this list because I will always advise people to never, ever shop there. I love going to health store and browsing for new products to try, and I was doing just that at Whole Health while the owner, Al Khan, would repeatedly interrupt me and pointedly tell me to ask for help if I needed something. He was extremely rude to me and my friend and after a few minutes he literally stepped in front of me, blocking my way, and told me that if I wasn't going to buy anything he did not want me in the store. He then kicked me out. I felt so unwelcome and unsafe. I used to buy supplements there but I will never support this bully with my business ever again. I have told all my friends who go to health stores about this experience, and frankly there are much better and much cheaper places nearby.
ATP33Toronto / January 31, 2014 at 07:54 pm
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Second Nature Natural Foods @ 2179 Bloor St W, south side, 1 door east of No Frills - I recommend them to everyone, I *love* going there! I've been going here for years & am a major fan. Amazing prices, selection, service, layout, and generally if I want something they don't carry they'll order it in. I'd recommend this store to everyone. I tried the other health stores in that 3-block radius (there are 4) and for me this one wins 99.9% of the time. If the location is too far west for you, their sister store is Beaches Natural Foods. For those interested in produce, they do have a limited selection of produce (maybe some apples I think), and their organic egg prices are the 2nd best I've seen anywhere in the city. My only wish is that they were bigger so they could carry more products, & closer to me, but I keep going back no matter where I've lived in the city. Highly recommended. Their hours etc are listed at YelpDOTca.
ATP33Toronto replying to a comment from ATP33Toronto / January 31, 2014 at 08:02 pm
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(That's 1 block East of Runnymede, straight *across* the street from Food for Life, which is where I *used* to shop for a *very short* time *until* I noticed Second Nature -> way better!!! :)
ATP33Toronto replying to a comment from ATP33Toronto / January 31, 2014 at 08:07 pm
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For organic produce best prices + selection:
#1 Maple Produce on Roncesvalles;
#2 The Sweet Potato on Dundas in the Junction;
#3 Fiesta Farms @ Christie & Dupont;
#4 The Big Carrot.
Andy North replying to a comment from forgot one / February 18, 2014 at 04:44 pm
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How is that this comment sounds so much like advertising?! ;)
naturopath / March 10, 2014 at 02:31 am
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Me and my buddies use to meet at West End Food Coop. I miss that place. :)
Mani / March 13, 2014 at 04:38 am
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New Toronto Condos / March 13, 2014 at 11:32 pm
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AppleTree is pretty small, but a lovely option in the Toronto Queen West area. The staff are super friendly too and willing to suggest options if they don't carry what you are looking for.
zippety / April 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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whats wrong with whole foods?
Anuja / May 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm
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Karma is a nice store.
www.earthyspices.com
AC / May 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm
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Organic Garage has their GLUTENFREE FAIR this weekend in Vaughan & Oakville! I have been to most of the places on this list and Organic Garage is by far the best with amazing prices! :)
Eric morrison / August 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm
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Best store hands down...two locations...Newmarket and woodbridge...huge selection of everything... Natures emporium... Good prices...lots of produce. Worth the drive.
Dabunky / August 21, 2014 at 03:41 pm
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NATURES EMPORIUM IN MAPLE AND NEWMARKET HAS EVERYTHING THESE STOEES HAS COMBINED! It's an amazing store!
Dade / October 2, 2014 at 08:39 am
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I eat at Healthy Planet once a week for lunch. It's great with lots of selection. My favourite is the mix bean salads they make. But I buy my supplements online at www.onnit.com because they don't carry Onnit products here. Check it out here at http://tinyurl.com/ntpb927 and Canadians save 10% with coupon code: "TRUDEAU"

Onnit's product "Onnit 180" is great for those hangover days and restless sleep nights. Thats my number one recommendation.
steve marshall / October 3, 2014 at 06:57 pm
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This is a great list of amazing places. I must say, however, that Ambrosia does not warrant being on this list. I have had the worst customer service at their Vaughn location -- it was actually quite insulting. I would never go back -- for an establishment that prides themselves as being 'natural' and 'health oriented', their management is despicable in terms of 'walking the talk' ... beware and mindful of the establishments that you support.

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