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Organic Food at Meijer

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ok, 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 Pineapple
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
Pork tenderloin
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)
Conventional honey

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.

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  1. Anonymous Sue | 8:20 AM |  

    Good for you, Jennifer, for trying to buy more organic food. I recommend joining a CSA (community supported agriculture), where you can buy fresh organic produce directly from local farmers. You'll receive a big box of organic produce each week, fresh from your local farmers. This is what my family does, which really helps cut down on the food bill.

    Having a CSA subscription is a LOT cheaper than buying organic produce at Whole Foods. You can search for an organic CSA at the Local Harvest website. http://localharvest.org

    Hope this helps!

  2. Blogger Melissa | 10:26 AM |  

    Hooray for organics! And yes, let's all recognize that corporate organics is not necessarily the best thing. Their standards (including the USDA Organic label) are much lower than they ought to be. Still, it's a start and if we all raise our voices to support higher standards such as California's or Oregon Tilths then surely we can make a change!

    Remember breastfeeders - the better we eat the healthier our families will be!

    Hey Jennifer have you found a bbq sauce yet? The one I thought was so great turned out to have the dreaded HFCS. :-( So now I'm on the hunt as well! I'm considering just making my own (yeah right, like I have that kind of time) . . .

  3. Anonymous Val | 6:00 PM |  

    Just wanted to let you know that I found organic frozen waffles at Meijer tonight. (meijer organic brand) They have whole wheat waffles as well.

  4. Blogger prayeramedic | 5:32 PM |  

    Good to know. My wife and I are trying to switch over to eating organic foods and eating healthier overall. Meijer's is literally in our backyard, so we can walk over the hill to get groceries at any time of the day or night. This has turned out not to always be such a good thing, for me especially. I really need to lose at least 20 lbs (my employer has height/weight requirements), and I really need some brain food.

    You mentioned buying fruit for shakes. I'm always looking for new recipes for "green smoothies." I found some at http://rawnakedfood.blogspot.com, she also has recipes for other healthy things that she and her children will actually eat. You might want to view her site. I write mostly about news, local interest (NW Indiana) and general biblical teachings all from the perspective of a Christ follower. Even if not interested in my site (www.prayeramedic.com, still be sure to check out Flip Flop Mamma's site. God bless and thanks for the great info about shopping organic at Meijer's!

  5. Anonymous Meijer Brand rep | 7:06 PM |  

    Jennifer, Thanks for your Meijer Organics post! If you want more Meijer Brand product discussions, check out http://www.MeijerBrand.com

  6. Anonymous jennydecki | 7:36 AM |  

    Thank you so much!! We were just wondering to each other if there were organics at Meijer (usually we get our organic produce from Aldi - cheaper than a CSA and usually local - but they don't have a huge selection.) If you don't have an Aldi a CSA is way less expensive than Whole Foods!

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