I hear a lot of people say that organic foods are more expensive than non-organic. That depends on what you’re buying. If you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables, the difference is usually negligible. A very few fruits and vegetables are significantly more expensive in organic, but most are in the same range as regular produce. Sometimes they are actually the identical price. So if you eat fresh, you can afford to eat organic.
I did an article a few years ago where I researched the prices at my local Kroger store and found them nearly the same for both. On the other hand, if you’re eating processed food, you’re going to pay more for organic, almost always. You might wonder at first why this is so, if the raw ingredients aren’t that much more expensive. Manufacturers that actually do honor the commitment to produce healthful foods will leave out all the harmful additives they use in their regular foods—additives that make the product cheaper to make.
This doesn’t mean that you can just toss “organic” products into your cart and trust that everything in them will be good for you. Far from it. If you read labels, you’ll find a lot of ingredients in so-called health foods that you try to avoid. Still, the real organic foods made from wholesome ingredients cost more, because they’re not being made from cheap non-foods.
An example is Food For Life’s Ezekiel breads, which are made from authentic sprouted whole grains and all organic ingredients; even the raisins and the cinnamon in the cinnamon bread are organic. This is compared with cheaper breads that seem good for you, like Pepperidge Farm, with its “simple, wholesome ingredients”—none of which are organic.
Saving money on good-for-you foods is a treat, because these manufacturers don’t usually have big sales, coupons, or other money-saving deals. However, if you’re a savvy shopper, you can get a few dollars off.
One way is by buying some of your organic foods through Ebates. First you sign up on Ebates, and then you use it like a store front to get to one of the many stores they partner with. You get a certain percentage back from your purchase in the form of a check at the end of the quarter. The main thing you have to remember is that you get nothing back unless you click to the store you want by going through Ebates first.
However, if you have Firefox or a couple of other browsers that the feature works with, you can set up an automatic Ebates "button" that tells you immediately if the store you are shopping in offers an Ebates rebate. That way you never forget to activate Ebates before you buy. Ebates has lots of stores you’ll recognize, like Home Depot, Kitchen Aid, Nordstrom, Walmart, QVC, and so on. And some of their stores sell organic items, either gifts or everyday foods or seeds—Cherry Moon Farms, Burpee Gardening, Abe’s Market, and dozens more.
Another way to save money on organic food is to visit the manufacturer’s web site. Many manufacturers have a place on their site where you can sign up for emails and receive coupons by email or snail mail. These can add up to hefty savings. Just take a few minutes and visit the sites of your favorite organic products and see what you can find. Some will have nothing, but others will offer coupons, sign-ups to receive coupons, or other deals.
Amy's offers coupons at http://www.amys.com/community/coupons.
Annie's Naturals has a coupon button on their home page at http://www.annies.com/.
Eden Foods offers 20% off your online order through May 31 using their coupon code available at http://www.edenfoods.com/.
Some sites offer freebies instead of money off. Earth’s Best, for example is currently offering a free issue of Kiwi magazine. You can also get a free subscription to American Baby magazine on the same site. http://www.earthsbest.com/node/134.
Food manufacturers also have Facebook pages. Sometimes if there are no coupons or offers on their web site, you may find some on their Facebook page.
Finally, if you can’t find coupons any other way, you can try writing to a manufacturer to provide feedback on one of their products. I have done this at various times this either to praise, to ask a question, or to complain, depending upon the product, and I usually get one or more coupons back just for sharing my thoughts. Although the logic behind sending a customer who hated your product a coupon for more of it does elude me. Just saying.