Thursday, June 5, 2008

Can green food shopping save money?

Story on NPR tonight on rising food prices and the impact they will have on people's shopping habits (leaving aside the food riots taking place in many other countries as the price of food skyrockets). One of the women is shopping for a cake at Whole Foods when she looks around and realizes that things are expensive there! Wow!

By way of contrast, see this post from Locavore Nation maintaining that eating locally is a money-saving strategy - contrary to what her friends may think!

I haven't really felt that big a hit in my shopping bills as a result of food prices going up, and although it may just not have caught up with me yet, I think that the combination of frugal and green shopping strategies that we use - what I buy and the way I buy - protect us somewhat from this phenomenon. For example, if what's driving this is the price of corn, then the thing to do would be to avoid items that rely heavily on corn, like all the products that have HFCS in them - processed foods, mostly - or corn-fed meat. As a good Pollan-ite, I don't buy much of these things anyway. If it's the price of gas that's responsible, then it's worth staying away from items that have to be brought in from far away. Another vote for the farmers' market!

It's an irony that the very policies (keeping corn and fuel cheap) that drove food prices down all these years may now be responsible for the lion's share of the upsurge in prices, and the strategies that were seen as spendthrift or elitist may be the way to keep one's food bill lower. Life is interesting, eh?

We see instead that eating low on the food chain, buying local, and staying away from processed foods are not simply green choices, not simply healthy choices, but they turn out to be money savers as well.

1 comment:

Mary T said...

That's a pretty good question. The two health food stores I've tried so far here in Charlotte have the highest prices--by far-- and that's saying alot considering what prices can sometimes be. I'm feeding 5 adult folks now, 3 are students (aka 'freeloaders') I really make almost a 2nd job out of shopping here, besides my part time job at the library.