Organic food for the win!
You want to eat healthy, you want to feed your family the healthiest meals possible, but does the cost of buying organic leave you feeling ill? We get it. A 2015 Consumer Reports’ study found that buying all organic can add nearly 50% to your grocery bill. Yikes!
At Humm, we strive to use organic ingredients whenever we can — while also keeping our costs down — so we can provide our kombucha at prices everyone can afford. We know how tough it can be to stretch a buck. We’ve come up with a few simple tricks for buying organic on the cheap. But first: Why buy organic?
Most people buy organic to avoid chemical pesticide residue. While pesticides have helped farmers save money and crops by reducing the damage done by insects, fungi and weeds, the downside of their use includes water pollution, reduction in biodiversity and other environmental concerns. So buying organic means that not only are you not eating and drinking toxins meant for a pest, it helps the environment by promoting farming practices that are better for the soil and water.
Organically grown food is better for you! Studies have shown that organic crops contain higher levels of antioxidants than their non-organic equivalents and that organic meat and dairy products are higher in omega-3s, which have innumerable health benefits.
Here are a few tips for buying organic without breaking the bank:
- Grow Your Own: When it comes to saving money, it’s hard to beat growing your own organic food. It’s going to take some effort, and you may be shocked at just how high a deer can jump to get to your tasty garden, but what’s more satisfying than making a marinara from tomatoes you grew yourself? If that sounds like more work than you have time for, maybe a co-op or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) would help meet your needs.
- Cook From Scratch: It takes time and patience, and you might burn a meal now and then, but you’ll enjoy the results and learn new skills. It’s tempting to buy pre-packaged organic meals (“Hey! I’m eating organic right from this plastic container!”) but you pay a premium for having someone else cut those carrots.
- Buy Bulk: Some items lend themselves to bulk purchases. Organic grains and spices can be far cheaper when purchased in bulk than they are off the shelf. Take the time to comparison shop, look for specials and coupons and remember to bring your own containers; some markets will give you a discount.
- Speaking of bulk, Costco, the nation’s biggest seller of organic food, now carries Humm!
- Plan Your Meals: Reduce waste by working out your meals before you do your shopping. Americans waste about $165 billion in food each year, and most families toss out between $1,300 and $2,200 in food.
- That’s a pretty nice vacation we put down the disposal each year! Figure out how much of each item you’ll need, but don’t worry if there’s leftovers, because you’re going to learn to…
- Think Like a Chef: Chefs don’t waste food, they repurpose it. Get creative and find a way to use that food item that’s knocking on the sell-by date. Figure out a way to use that stray turnip. Who bought that turnip? Nobody knows, but there it is, just waiting for a purpose. You might even discover an entirely new cuisine! Where do you think wilted salads came from?
- Cut Back on Meat: This is a tough one for carnivores, but the biggest expense you’ll find in shopping organic is organic meat. Meat that is grown organically comes from animals that are treated more humanely, and for many people that’s worth a premium. By cutting back on your weekly meat consumption you’ll put a big dent in that grocery bill.
Study the ‘Clean 15 /Dirty Dozen’: Perhaps the best way to save money and eat organic is to … not eat organic? You read that right. The Environmental Working Group has created a list of fruits and vegetables that have the least pesticide residue. Save your organic food budget for the Dirty Dozen — food that has been found to carry the most pesticide into the market.
With all the money you’ve saved on organic food you’ll probably want to pick up a few hundred gallons of Humm, so remember to bring your containers, bags and growlers on your next (carefully considered) trip to the market.