A health food store is a type of grocery store that primarily sells health food, organic foods, local produce, and often nutritional supplements. Health food stores often offer foods for people with special dietary needs, such as people with allergies and diabetics, and also for vegans, vegetarians, and people living entirely on raw food.
Many foods which are now commonplace in groceries first entered the market in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Efforts by early health pioneers such as Sylvester Graham, Horace Greeley, John Harvey Kellogg, George Ohsawa, Ellen White and others spurred an interest in health food. As early as the 1920s and 1930s health food stores started opening in the United States selling products such as blackstrap molasses and brewer's yeast. Health food stores became much more common in the 1960s in connection to the newly emerging ecology movement and counterculture.
Many health food stores are worker owned cooperatives and consumers' cooperatives due in part to their growth of popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the ability of cooperative buying power to bring lower costs to the consumer.
Over the last decade, health food, and especially organic food, has entered the mainstream. Companies such as Whole Foods Market, a large multinational corporation, have profited greatly and grown substantially during this expansion.