Arguably the co-operative grocery in Manchester, Unicorn Health Food Store have the largest selection of health foods in the north. But, strangely, we were left cold by less than welcoming staff in the not-so-magical Unicorn.
Situated in Chorlton in a residential area, where families are of the hippy description - arguably a stereotype, but the Unicorn customer generally has a mortgage, 2.5 children and is trying to eat better for their family. Not so individual-friendly then, but good in terms of price.
In terms of produce they have a great range, so vegans, vegetarians, and those in favour of a more grain-based diet will be happy. Imagine Holland and Barrett but on a supermarket's scale (ooh wee). Although we didn't feel welcome, Unicorn has a large product range that made us stay, including the following pulses and beans, canned, tinned and jarred produce, packaged goods, organic household products, a large variety of wild mushrooms, and a large selection of in season fruits and vegetables.
The food is the redeeming feature of Unicorn. Obviously the reason you go there is to buy health food store goods you can't get in your local supermarket. 99% of their stock is local but some is imported; you can't get everything in Britain. While the general feel of the place is not one of an upbeat, 'alive' health food store, it is pretty damn good when it comes to produce.
Generally health foods are more expensive compared to mass-produced goods, however Unicorn is surprisingly cheaper than what you might expect. 100g of dried organic mango, for example, is £1.99, compared to another health food retailer that sells 100g for £2.99. During the January blues, it is a welcome change that gut-pleasing foods are cheaper than what you expect. Silver linings eh?
Don't expect a meet and greet at the door; the staff are busy, and focus on their jobs at the till/restocking the shelves. But Unicorn is a Chorlton favourite. It is the biggest, and some may consider the best up north, so why not go have a mooch? Chances are you'll leave with a lighter purse, but a healthier mind. Let the clean eating begin and the good intentions take hold.