Buying organics is expensive, right? Everyone knows that. Talk to anybody and they’ll tell you that. It’s one of the big reasons that healthy diets are perceived as way over the top expensive. Well beyond the reach of average work-a-day folks like us.
Now, organics are not the be all and end all of healthy eating. Sara over at The Healthy Home Economist has a great post on about how eating organic will never make you healthy and I completely agree. That said, if you want to find food labels with pronouncable ingredients you cannot beat many organic foods. Many are excellent choices that I’d rate pretty high up on the Granny scale of old-fashioned goodness.
We just need to get access to this goodness for a price we can afford.
Organics at the Store Can Be Very Expensive
The cost of organic foods can vary considerably depending on where you live. Here in Austin, home of Whole Foods, organics tend to cost less overall. There are several health food outlets and the big grocers here, HEB and Walmart, that carry a considerable variety of organic products. I can buy some organic items even in my small town. So there is lots of price competition keeping the prices down overall.
But when I visit my Mom in Alabama I find a very different story. Walmart carries little organic food there. There is one health food grocery chain store, Earth Fare. It’s a pretty nice place and I’ve been able to find a lot of good food there. But the cost? I’d rate it as about double the prices I pay in Texas. I get sticker shock everytime I go in … in fact if I’m driving in for a visit I bring my own food from home to avoid it!
So how much you pay for organics locally could be just slightly more than conventional versions to double or even triple. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to live where these products can be found locally.
So what can we do?
Buying Organics Online
In my post a couple of weeks back I posed the question, “Can We Save Money on Groceries by Buying Online?” The answer to that question is a qualified YES!
Organic pantry items are generally cheaper online than they are in local stores. But, conventional grocery items are still priced much higher online for the most part.
I made the supreme sacrifice 😉 and ordered two boxes of groceries online. One was a box using Amazon’s Prime Pantry. The other box was filled with food and sundry items not available in the Prime Pantry program. So they were shipped to me using my Amazon Prime membership. That’s 2-day UPS shipping on everything ordered thru prime for a yearly membership fee of $100. You get a number of other benefits too I won’t go into here. I’ve been a member for 2 years and find it well worth it to maintain along with my Costco membership.
After I placed my order I went shopping to compare the best price I was able to get thru Amazon to what I’d pay for the same item locally. Here’s what I found:
|Muir Glen Tomato Paste||.98||1.49|
|Muir Glen Tomato Sauce||1.38||1.99|
|Muir Glen Tomato Diced Roasted||1.38||1.99|
|Wholesome Sweeteners Light Brown Sugar||4.89||5.49|
|Sal Suds, 1 Gallon||48.04||Size Unavailable|
|Dr Bronner Liquid Soap,||17.00||14.00|
|Friskies Dry Cat Food, 3.15 lbs||3.94||3.99|
|Scott Paper Towels||9.34||5.97|
|Garland Jacks BBQ Sauce||2.31||1.78|
|Bowtie Pasta, 1 lb||1.61||.88|
|All Detergent, 50oz||5.19||4.88|
Conventional Grocery Items Online
Now, these choices are just a small sampling of what I found. The general rule was to get a conventional item at a grocery store equivalent price online you’ll need to buy in quantity. You might even be able to beat some local prices that way. But generally the Prime Pantry prices were significantly more expensive, as much as double! The prime pantry program is designed so you can order smaller quantities of each item, fill up a box and pay a flat fee of $5.99 for shipment. This gets around the cost of shipping small quantities but the prices are so much higher when not buying in bulk. It defeats the purpose. So Amazon has a ways to go here.
If you live far from a conventional grocery the Amazon Pantry prices might still work for you … for me they do not. And I’m sure you’d probably make different compromises on you’re not going buy organic or make at home or buy from a local farmer. I’m not here to judge your choices. They are truly your own, as are mine. This is just a small glimpse into some of the choices I’m making right now. Next month who knows 🙂 .
Organic Grocery Items Online
On the organic items though, Amazon was the clear winner for most every item I checked, not just the items that I ultimately ordered. I will continue to order organic pantry staple items from Amazon. It’s really convenient, cheaper and it saves me the gas to the health food store which for me is quite a bit.
A look at specific products, next …
Wanna take a close look at a few compromise products I’ve found on the shelf? A few things that are pretty affordable and fairly clean? Maybe, possibly actually nutritious ;-). Stay tuned by signing up for my email list below and get a notice when the post comes out in a couple of weeks.