Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shopping Report/Finding Organic Labels

Finding Organic Foods
Considering frugal Organic Shopping Report
In keeping with our New Year's Resolution to find more organic labels and Non-Gmo products my daughter and I set out on a week long shopping trip to see just what was available in our area and how easy it is to find meat, produce and products.

We began our trip by making a list of foods that were most important to us. Our list included organic popcorn, since we love popcorn and corn is a very high risk product. My daughter has also been on a search for organic meat filled canned ravioli. While Annie's Homegrown does have a very good ravioli product, it hasn't quite satisfied the ravioli taste buds in our house. This is what we found.

At the end of my report you will find a chart listing my findings. Grades were based on products available, prices, shop ability (could I make one stop and find everything  I need?), and taste (I have to feed a tough crowd, lets face it, I am the only one in the house really committed to this cause).

We began our shopping @ Safeway since they introduced their own organic store brand, "O", line of organics. I expected to pay a little more but also find a little more. I was surprised by the lack of organic and Non-Gmo labels. When I asked about the "O" line of meat the butcher told me that he could order it but that it was just way too expensive in his opinion. Overall I gave Safeway a grade of C+ for their efforts.

We continued on to Wal-mart. After viewing the movie Food Inc. and noting the efforts of organic vendors to get their products on Walmart shelves, I expected to find more here. While there was a section of frozen prepackaged organics, I still found very little organic and Non-Gmo labeled foods leaving Wal-mart with a overall grade of D+.

Next Stop was Sprout's Farmer's Market where I expected to find organic meat, produce and hoped to find popcorn. I did find Organic popcorn and prepackaged goods like organic enchilada sauce that tasted great. In regards to meat, Sprout's brand was simply labeled "USDA Choice." I did find one organic chicken for an outrageous $14.99. Ouch! Overall, I will probably shop Sprout's to stock up on some of my dry goods but I couldn't stop and pick up everything I needed. I gave Sprout's a B-.

I was very surprised to find that my normal shopping stop was quite shop able. I would say it is one of the best places to shop. Not only has Fry's Marketplace come out with their own store brand but they have started carrying some national organic labels as well and they put them on sale offering prices competitive to name brand. I found Annie's Homegrown for the same price as Kraft and Chefboyardee. They are also offering a large section of organic produce. I gave Fry's Marketplace a B+.

Trader Joe's received the highest score being very shop able, carrying organic meat and everything imaginable, I gave them an A-. Why the minus? Taste, I just cannot use some of the meats and cheeses without complaints. Some of the dry goods taste "pasty." The breads and produce however are wonderful, very flavorful produce.

Honorable Mentions:

Costco (B) is a warehouse store, but I am finding some organic meats for reasonable prices as well as organic produce, I will probably continue to stock up there. SuperTarget (B+) now carries their own brand as well as competitors brands for competitive prices.Target brand has come under some question so as always make sure the label says organic.

Grade Card

Organic Meats
Organic Produce
Organic Dry/Frozen Goods
Organic Dairy
Organic Store Brand
Organic Store Brand
One Chicken
Very little
Rather Large Section of Produce
Organic Store Brand & several isles of competitors
Not so much
Trader Joe’s
Yes Some
Enough to Stock up

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How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8