Guest post from Molly of Perfect Pea
It’s no surprise that there is a consumer demand for organic food — with sales of organic food enjoying double-digit growth year over year.
But with cost of organic food being 10-30% higher than the conventional alternatives (based on USDA estimates), organic food can break the budget very quickly.
Since not all of us have the time or space to plant gardens, and farmers markets aren’t usually year-round, many of us are left paying higher prices at the grocery store during “off season”.
If that sounds like you, here are 7 tips to save on organic food at the good old grocery store:
1. Focus on the Worst Offenders
Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists are a great place to start when trying to focus your organic purchases. These lists will help you steer clear of the stuff with the most pesticides, and save money buying conventional when it comes to the cleanest fruits and veggies.
2. Search for Seasonal
Buying berries in December can be brutal on your budget. But look for produce that’s in your local growing season, and you can save big on the organic options.
3. Look for Local
Know which grocery stores stock local and price compare with the imported alternatives. Sometimes you can rake in dramatic savings on organic goods when you’re not paying the added packaging and transportation cost of food. However, this is not always the case, so be sure to look closely!
4. Buy the Bag
Bulk purchases can mean big savings. For example, just one organic apple may seem outrageous, but right next to it might be a bag full at a big discount.
Be sure, however, to purchase only what you’ll eat. Even if it means adjusting your menu plan for the week, if you’re not going to use it all of what you buy, chances are you’ll wind up wasting money.
5. Minimize Meat and Dairy
Adding lots of organic meat and dairy to your shopping cart is a quick way to skyrocket your grocery bill. Since buying conventional versions of these ingredients may mean exposure to chemicals you’d rather avoid, try cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption all together so you can select organic, knowing you’ll use these ingredients more as a side dish than the main entrée.
6. Find Frozen Fruit and Veggies
Fruit and veggie smoothies are a great way to get your greens all year round. However, buying these ingredients organic 12 months a year isn’t always realistic.
Before abandoning produce all together, take a look in the frozen section and you may be surprised to find organic, frozen alternatives can mean fantastic savings.
7. Compare with Conventional
Believe it or not, buying conventional over organic isn’t always cheaper! Although avocados are on the clean fifteen list, sometimes the organic alternatives sitting right next to them in the produce section are actually cheaper! In this case, you may want to opt for the organic option.
What are your tips for frugal organic finds?
Molly writes for Perfect Pea, a food blog focused on making dinnertime healthier, more fun, and less stressful for families who already have enough on their plates. Perfect Pea’s quick and easy recipes, dinnertime activities, and informative food facts help families avoid the bad stuff like processed foods, get more of the good stuff like fresh, organic vegetables, and have fun bringing family time back to the dinner table.