I’m constantly asked which bags I carry most. Depending on what I have going on with my life right then, the answer changes, but I do always have a core handful of bags that you will find on my arm multiple times a week. Today I want to give you a look at a bag that may not seem that luxurious, but it actually has quite a few nice touches and also happens to be one of the bags I use most in my daily life.

Grab your coffee, tea or fresh pressed green juice from Whole Foods natch, and sit back to enjoy my review of the Whole Foods Market Paper Bag Shopper!

Aesthetics

Some bags just lure you in and wow you from the start, and others are quite utilitarian. This falls into the latter category. The bag is iconic in the paper bag world, sporting recycled paper and the green artistic rendering of a bunch of carrots and a turnip. I often wonder who decided to include the turnip drawing, as it’s not really one of the most popular vegetables, not even the most popular root vegetable. There’s quite a bit of text scattered on the front, sides, back, and bottom of the bag. You’ll find the logo of course, as well as some really straightforward, but apparently necessary to include, text like “Please hold both handles” with an arrow pointing to the handles.

The shape of the bag is what you would expect of a paper shopping bag, it’s longer than it is wide so you can overstuff your groceries inside, but it seems to be the right dimensions to fit just about everything and make the bag heavy but manageable (more on usability and functionality later).

On the bottom of the bag, you’ll find the most important information, like that the bag is made from 100% recycled material. Whole Foods also asks you to recycle this bag again, they even go as far as to tell you “It’s just good karma”. I honestly like good karma and gave extra aesthetic points for the fact that this pertinent information was placed on the side of the bag where you could easily read it.

I really like that this bag jumps out and screams ‘I’m a recycled bag’, because when you want to make a choice that is good for the environment, it’s nice that other people can see that effort as well.

Usability + Functionality

I’d love to say that an optional shoulder strap would be a game changer here because in so many ways it would, but even without that, this bag serves its purpose and it does so fairly well. The handles offer a short drop so the bag needs to be carried by hand, but that’s ok as typically you are only carrying it for a short time (except for my NYC days in which carrying overstuffed Whole Foods bags nearly cut off all circulation to my hands). The interior is made from the same recycled paper so it’s rather light and easy to find your items inside and because it’s just one large opening, you can stack your items as you wish and retrieve them easily as well. Overall, the bag serves its purpose and works for that quite well.

The bag folds down easily to lay fairly flat for reuse (which we honestly do a lot of in this household), so that offers an easy way to store the bags. Now, I should say that I recently have been given Trader Joe’s bags that have no top handles, and those are a huge fail in my book as far as usability and functionality goes, so I am quite pleased with Whole Foods still offering top handles.

Quality + Construction

I really want to be able to give this bag a higher rating here, because it’s a bag that serves such an important function. You see, we are avid Whole Foods shoppers, in fact it’s a family affair as our kids love going to the new location by us as well. These bags are integral parts of our shopping experience (our stores paused bringing in your own reusable bags to have their employees have less touch points of items that weren’t in their care because of COVID). When the bag works, it works brilliantly, but many times it doesn’t seem to do its job well.

Hear me out: nearly every time I get a bag from Whole Foods, they need to double bag. That means the bag is not durable enough to carry the contents inside and even the team at Whole Foods recognizes the single bag will probably break. Let’s be honest, whether the handles break or the bottom falls out, having either of these experiences is one of the most frustrating when you are trying to get groceries home and really tarnishes the experience. To combat this, Whole Foods employs a double bagging technique, but then I just wonder why they can’t make the bag more durable and find a way to reinforce the handles better.

Price + Value

These bags are free with purchase! I would have given them 5 stars for price and value but had to knock a star off for the reason that Whole Foods grocery items are many times overpriced compared to other grocers who carry some of the same brands. If you are a more patient and skilled price shopper than I am, you can find many of the items that Whole Foods carries for less at other grocers (however since Amazon purchased WF, there has been better price matching and Prime deals as well).

Staying Power

For me, this grocer is woven into the fabric of many large cities and will be a bag that many who have never shopped at the establishment instantly recognize. I only removed a star as Whole Foods is not in every city or country so it won’t be universally recognized, but then again, what grocery store chain truly is?

Overall Rating

This bag gets an average rating for being a less fashionable but necessary bag in the bag world. While it probably isn’t the Purseonals you’ve been pining for, you’d have to admit that the bags you carry most are also paper bags from grocery store trips as well. Let me know your favorite paper bag in the comments below!

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