Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Cost of Organic

Mega grocery stores are ubiquitous both here in New York and everywhere in North America. Marion Nestle does a wonderful job of deconstructing them in her book: What to Eat.

The thing I notice is that these big chains like Gristedes or Fine Fare (I call it Ghetto Groceries) to name just two, so over-price their insignificant organic food selection that the people who only shop there will never buy organic because it's twice as much if not more then conventional.

And if you say to people why don't you shop at your local Whole Foods they will go on about how expensive it is (at least a lot of people I talk to seem to feel this way). Well, here's some news, the Whole Foods generic organic brand is a bargain. Here's two examples: Olive Oil at Whole Foods - I can get a liter bottle of extra virgin for $7 - the same amount of an equivalent olive oil at Fine Fare on Clinton street on the Lower East Side is $12.

Below a picture of my favorite jam made by what I think is one of the best organic brands around Bionatura. At Gristedes it's $7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At Whole Foods this week it's $3. Usually it sells for around $3.49 - $3.69

Is Gristedes just greedy or do they really want to discourage people from buying organic because producers of corn syrup rich inferior brands are paying them graft to keep the good stuff out of reach of the average consumer? My solution, as always, make your own jam when the fruit is in season at the market or buy jam at the market or go to Whole Foods and buy this delicious Italian Jam. And as it turns out food from Europe comes to us via boat food from California comes by plane so the carbon foot print of the Italian jam is actually better then the Californian equivalent.

Change is possible: stop shopping at mega grocery store chains that don't prioritize: local and organic. If your grocery store doesn't tell you where each fruit or vegetable comes from you need to not shop there. Or even better start a letter writing campaign confronting them with their under handed practices and let them know you plan to shop elsewhere if they don't get there act together.

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