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Monday, January 18, 2010

Organic Shopping Experiment

So, if you've been following this blog you already know that I am making some changes in the types of products I am buying. We are buying healthier/whole foods and making the switch to organic on certain things including dairy, meat, eggs, and produce on the "dirty dozen" list.

So last week I went to all of the organic/whole food stores in my area (Chattanooga, TN is the closest) which would be Greenlife Grocery, Earthfare, and Fresh Market.

My mission was to begin a price book comparing prices on the things I would generally buy organic at all three stores to determine which store has the best overall prices.
The price book will also help in future purchases if I happen up on a great deal on something at a conventional grocery store. I'll be able to check it against the prices in my price book to determine if I should buy it or not. As I am new to organic shopping it will also help me to determine when the organic/whole food stores have items that I buy at their rock bottom prices.

Here is what I found when checking prices at all three stores:
(I will list GL (Greenlife's price) EF (Earthfare's price) and FM (Fresh Market's price). If a store is missing it is because they did not have an organic option for the product). I've made the best price bold.

Organic Fuji Apples
GL: $1.56/lb EF: $2.49/lb FM: $1.48/lb

Organic Carrots
GL: $3.99 for 2 lb bag EF: $4.29

Organic Lettuce All Varieties (Earthbound)
GL: $3.99 EF: $3.99/BOGO!

Organic Eggs
GL: $3.49 EF: $2.18 FM: $2.99

Organic 2% Milk Gallon
GL: $5.99 EF: $4.88 FM: $4.39

Organic Yogurt (Wallaby brand)
GL: $0.99 each EF: $0.49 each FM: $0.69

Organic Sour Cream (Organic Valley Brand)
GL: $3.69/1 lb. EF: $3.39/1 lb.

Organic Cheese (Organic Valley Brand)
GL: $4.19 EF: $4.39

Organic Butter (Cabot Brand)
GL: $4.49/lb. EF: $4.19 FM: $4.99

Organic Cream Cheese (Organic Vally Brand)
GL: $3.29 EF: $2.89

Organic Apple Juice Gallon
GL: $7.99 EF: $5.98

Grass-fed Ground Chuck
GL: $4.99/lb EF: $5.49/lb

Natural (Antibiotic and Hormone Free) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
GL: $4.99/lb EF: $5.49/lb

My Final Conclusions:
Overall, Earthfare had the lowest prices but Greenlife was a VERY close second. In fact, it was so close this could vary week to week so I'll be checking the ads at both stores to get the best buy. Greenlife had the best meat prices which is very important since it is the most expensive organic product I will be purchasing. My biggest shock was that Fresh Market had very few organic products overall! They are VERY expensive, but have mostly just regular/conventional products! So, I won't be shopping there.

Other important findings:
Greenlife Grocery offers a $0.05 credit for every reusable bag you use.
Earthfare offers store coupons each week when you sign up for their emails - these have been for FREE products lately!

Stay tuned for more on my Organic Shopping on a Budget Experiment!


Deb said...

I wish we had an organic/whole foods type store near us. Regardless, I'll enjoy reading yoru Organic on a Budget posts.

Pio the Meyers and Jenell the Human said...

You can get organic milk at the regular grocery store. I buy it at Food Lion for 3.29 for 1/2 gallon. But I guess you are pricing a whole gallon for your family.

Erika said...

I am really enjoying this series you are doing. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

I also want to suggest wholesale clubs for organic veggies and fruits. I found 5 lb bags of carrots at BJ's near me for 3.99. I also found organic berries as well and this is something expensive and my kids love them!

Anonymous said...

My Kroger in Atlanta marks down their gallons of milk when a new shipment comes in and they have to get rid of the most recent dated milk. The normal price of a gallon of organic milk is $5.99 and I almost always get it for $2.99. We go through so much milk in my family that it never has the chance to go bad.

twashburn said...

Sign up with Rootstock Magazine, it's full of organic coupons.

mokeymomma said...

Try Sam's Club, if there is one near you. I've found they have the best price on organic salad mix, baby carrots, and milk.

Justine said...

I went to EarthFare for the first time yesterday to do my Pantry Makeover. I felt a little intimidated... something about not recognizing very many brands or knowing where anything was! I would love to see EarthFare coupon matchups if you could do that!
Also, since I know you're a teacher... the one I went to (Charlotte @ SouthPark) gives 5% off to students and faculty with an ID on Wednesdays. I don't know if it's all EFs or just that one, but it might be worth looking into to see if your store participates!

Anonymous said...
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ashley b said...

I shop at both of these stores...2 things: greenlife always has some coupon books that come out seasonally available at their checkout registers including the Mambo books that you can have mailed to your house (they are manufacturer's so you can use them wherever)...people don't use coupons at GL so most check out people don't know how to use them :) I have found that these coupons are best used at Publix. GL also marks down milk/yogurt/cheese that is close to date although never impressively low. I feel like their bananas are always a good deal (not much more than conventional for organic). I do a lot of what you are doing shopping wise so I am very interested in what your challenge. It is so important with a family to do the best we can with our resources and providing the most healthy option. Have you watched Food, Inc?

Anonymous said...

About the regular grocery store also marks it down from 5.99 to 2.79 two days before the expiration date. When I find it marked down, I get at least 8 to 10 gallons, pour a little off the top, and put in the freezer. To thaw, set out on the counter for at least a day or overnight..shaking every once in a while. I've never had a problem with it spoiling before we drink it (usually within 4 days of thawing) and I get organic milk cheaper than regular.

Anonymous said...

a good resource is