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Saturday, January 20, 2007Ok, I'm amazed.
I've been shopping at Meijer for about 9 years now. It's been my pretty much "exclusive" grocery store since the kids were born. (I used to be one of those "go to three stores and only shop the sales" people until I had kids, then I had to consolidate with one trip and the lowest average price.)
Lately, I've been trekking to Whole Paycheck...errr...Whole Foods...every two weeks and to Meijer once a week. Trying to find a mix of being able to eliminate some things like HFCS, Trans Fats, etc.. and to move to more whole foods. I prefer organics, but my bigger issue is what the ingredients are. (I'm not made of money, I've got to prioritize.)
So count me surprised when I drove from Whole Foods to Meijer this week to finish my grocery shopping. I don't know if this is a new thing or if I simply never noticed it before, but Meijer has a LOT of whole grain and organic options. They even have Meijer brand organics! Now I've been buying Meijer brand organic milk for more than a year, but I never noticed how many other organic options they have. This time, I saw them all over the place, though I only ended up buying a couple. What absolutely amazed me was that they had organic "spaghetti-o's" and organic canned ravioli! My first thought was "I'm saved!" (Those two foods are one of the few that Nora will eat consistently, so I always try to keep them as "back-ups") In fact, they not only had them as organic, they were also just $1.15 a can. That's what name brand Chef Boyardee goes for around here. The generic non-organic is still $1.00 a can. Organic it is!
I journeyed through the store working carefully to shop for organics when I could, to buy as much "whole food" as possible and to focus on whole grains and non-HFCS products. Here's what I managed to buy...(a few things are missing from the picture as they got tossed in with my Whole Foods bags.)
Organic Celery (same price as non-organic, they were on sale)
Organic Russett Potatoes ($1 more than non-organic for 5 pound bag)
Organic Red Raisins ($3 for a very large can and wow are they good)
Conventional Sweet Onions
Three bags conventional frozen fruit (berries and such for smoothies)
Meijer brand organic apple juice
Hormone free (but not organic) whole chicken
Hormone free (but not organic) ground turkey
Fresh perch fillets
Life cereal (whole grains, no HFCS)
Meijer brand whole wheat dry macaroni (no added ingredients)
Ortega salsa (no preservatives, no sweeteners, just veggies)
Del Monte Organic tomato sauce
Del Monte Organic tomato paste
Meijer organic diced tomatoes
Meijer organic canned pasta
Prego organic spaghetti sauce
100% fruit spread (blackberry, mmmm)
Yes, I did buy a few other things too...I'm not quite ready to give up my Pillsbury brand frozen waffles. ;) Also snagged things like shredded cheese, whipped cream cheese and a few other "not awful for you, but not great either" products. I was pleased to see that Tostito's brand corn chips are simply white corn, salt and vegetable oil. That means I can keep buying them too.
My point here is that organic foods seem to be starting to get popular enough to make the mainstream retailers build their own house brands. (Walmart also boasts quite a few organics, but I can't stand to shop there.) I know this is a bad thing in that these stores have the power to lobby toward lowering organic standards. They also have the supply chains to source it overseas, which makes it harder on our organic farmers. That sucks, but at the same time, I simply cannot afford to do organic unless I'm getting at least some of them from a shop like Meijer.
So next time you hit the grocery store, look around. You might be surprised at what's offered.
Labels: Healthy Eating