Whole Foods reveals the bleak future of dessert without bees

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Whole Foods has shown us once again just how important bees are to human survival – and our taste for baked goods. In order to draw attention to the plight of bees and their demise’s impact on agriculture, Whole Foods and The Xerces Society joined forces to illustrate what a bakery department would look like without them. And it doesn’t look good.

A Fremont, California Whole Foods Market removed from their shelves all products that benefit from bees. The results were even more shocking than you’d expect. 97 per cent of the bakery products were either gone or significantly changed. Out of 1,057 desserts, just 32 remained unchanged. Most were vegan options, and even some of those were available in limited amounts.

Ingredients we take for granted, such as chocolate, berries, vanilla, almonds, and coffee, all rely on pollinators to grow. That means scores of our favorite desserts, down to the beloved chocolate chip cookie, would disappear. Dairy products would suffer a hit as well; cow food like alfalfa is also reliant on pollinators, so cows might produce less milk without bees. Goodbye crème brulee, cheesecake, and even cupcakes.

Xerces Society Program Co-Director Eric Mader said, “Sweet tooth or not, life without dessert would be tough to swallow. But with one-third of the world’s food crops depending on disappearing pollinator species, that may one day be a reality. The good news: it’s not too late. With support from Whole Foods Market and its shoppers and suppliers, our organization is working with farmers nationwide to help them create wildflower habitats and to adopt less pesticide-intensive practices, which will help pollinators thrive.”

Since 2012, Whole Foods and their suppliers have given over $547,000 to The Xerces Society, which has been spent to improve habitats over thousands of acres. Customers can get involved too by growing wildflowers or eating pesticide-free foods. A few brands sold at Whole Foods such as Cascadian Farm and Blue Diamond also donate to conservation projects.

Whole Foods’ Mission and Culture Coach Lee Kane said, “This campaign is all about inspiring people to take small steps that make a big difference for these small heroes of our food supply.”

A Fremont, California Whole Foods Market demonstrated what a bakery department without bees would look like.

A Fremont, California Whole Foods Market demonstrated what a bakery department without bees would look like.


Ingredients such as chocolate, berries, coffee, and vanilla all rely on pollinators to grow.


The results were shocking: 97 per cent of bakery options would be gone or significantly changed.