A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Erewhon, L.A.'s Wellness Wonderland

It feels odd to describe Erewhon as a grocery store chain. This terminology isn't incorrect, but the forward-thinking wellness destination is so much more than that. It's a mecca for organic food and supplements with a feverishly devoted following. It's "Whole Foods on crack," as my friends and I refer to it. It's a Los Angeles meme in building form, the host of many an @overheardLA submission. It's a place where you might brush shoulders with Kourtney Kardashian and a handful of local Instagram influencers in the non-dairy, milk-alternative aisle.

If L.A. is the epicenter of the wellness industry, then Erewhon is arguably its capital. Though it first opened its doors in 1968, the company prides itself on always staying several steps ahead of the latest industry trends, which is why it's so easy to get lost among its aisles—and why it's such a magnet for just about any health-minded Angeleno. A bone broth cleanse program? You got it. Sun Potion's full line of adaptogenic herbs? Duh. The latest in CBD? All over it. 

But the Erewhon team insists that it's actually the local community that drives them and not the other way around. "We are fortunate to be based in L.A.—the capital of innovation, health and wellness," says Brand Director Joyce de Brevannes. "We are fortunate to have a passionate and engaged group of people who have loved and cared for the brand for more than 50 years. They keep us on our toes; they demand and expect the best from us. And we continually rise to meet those expectations."

So how does Erewhon continue to deliver? That's all thanks to a hardworking, highly passionate team that works closely with established and emerging brands to bring quality, need-to-know products to its shelves. Below, de Brevannes offers a behind-the-scenes look at how it all happens—as well as some of the products that are currently trending at Erewhon HQ.

Oftentimes, new brands reach out to the Erewhon team for their expertise.

Think about it: Who better to advise on marketability in the wellness space than a store that houses the best of the best? 

"Many times, the founder comes to us," says de Brevannes. "This may be their first foray into the space, and it can feel quite overwhelming. More often than not, they developed their product to fill a need in their own lives. We will work with them on their recipe, their packaging, and give them guidance on how to introduce their product to our shoppers."

The store doesn't shy away from crowdsourcing, either.

De Brevannes notes that customers often have a say in what hits store shelves. "Our buyers are constantly on the lookout for new and upcoming products, and our shoppers also will introduce us to brands that they discovered, whether through social networks or at farmers markets," says de Brevannes.

Staff education is a huge priority.

"Many of our staff come to us through their own journeys to wellness," says de Brevannes. "So we are lucky to start with highly engaged, curious people. In our nutrition department, we administer tests to get a baseline knowledge measurement and then provide education and support to fill in those gaps. We are constantly learning from leading experts, from our brands, from our customers, from each other—and then we share that knowledge with each other."

Basically, it all comes down to an ongoing conversation within a community that loves geeking out about wellness—and then leveraging that into an extensive (but painstakingly curated) product selection, as well as other in-house offerings.  "We have all this knowledge on both sides of the counter," she says. "We are nimble enough to take all that expertise and create new programs (like our recent organic adaptogenic bone broth cleanses) more quickly than others in the retail space."

Surprise, surprise: CBD is trending in a big way.

Considering how rapidly cannabis has infiltrated the wellness market in recent months, it's not exactly shocking that de Brevannes named CBD as one of Erewhon's most buzzed-about ingredients. "We have a wide variety of CBD products in both our grocery and nutrition departments and the response has been amazing," she says.

Other best-selling categories include collagen, probiotics, plant proteins, and facial oils.

One of the store's top-selling products is… yogurt?

A vegan yogurt, to be exact—de Brevannes says stores have trouble keeping Living Cultures Superfoods Coconut Yogurt ($25) on store shelves. "It encompasses the growing interest in both plant-based and fermented products," she says. "It also reflects our belief in 'eat better, eat less, live longer': When you give your body what it needs at a cellular level, it will function at a higher level with less input."

And as with some other high-powered vegan yogurts we've tried, don't take the high price tag at face value. "Some people look at the price on a jar and think, What the heck?" she adds. "But the fact is, a serving size is two tablespoons—so a little goes a long way!"

Shop some more of Erewhon's best-selling products below.

PSA: This chili-dusted dried mango is the ideal workday snack. 

There's a reason Vital Proteins has a devoted following—it earned it. This protein powder is derived from high-quality, grass-fed collagen to help fuel (and beautify!) your body from the inside out. (Seriously: Dewy skin and shiny hair are widely reported side effects.) 

Found: Truly guilt-free chocolate. These vegan and paleo bars are packed with nutrients and flavor, making them wildly popular at Erewhon.

Next up: 7 natural deodorants that actually get the job done.