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Old 11-25-2010, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What do you value about food?

You can listen to the entire piece that inspired this thread here: Whole Foods Marks 30th Anniversary : NPR

Essentially, the question I have is this: how do you decide what food to buy? In the piece above, the CEO of Whole Foods mentions how food buying has changed in the last 10-20 years. Not all people choose the food they purchase based on price alone anymore. Some make decisions based on information such as where the food was raised, how it was raised, how the workers who raised it were treated, how the animal involved in the process was treated, etc.

What kind of criteria do you use to choose what food to purchase when you're at the grocery store? Do you go out of your way to acquire food that meets your criteria?

I purchase food based on where the food was raised, primarily. Price is very low on the list of criteria, which is funny to me because I often hear my husband's relatives complain about how expensive this or that grocery store is (primarily the grocery stores that sell local and/or organic produce). I shop at the farmer's market when it's in season to buy the freshest, most local produce I can. I buy eggs where the chicken has been humanely treated, given vegetarian feed, and raised in my region, not in some giant egg farm in Iowa. There are some things, like pasta, where I do go for the best price possible--and this is true of a lot of pantry items. However, when it comes to fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, etc., I don't mind paying a bit more for the fresher choice whose provenance I'm familiar with. I love the idea that I can go visit the cows that make my milk, cream, half and half, and buttermilk. The local dairy has prices comparable to most other local dairies--they can't beat the store brand on price, but they win when it comes to quality. I suppose that is my greatest criterion: what is the quality of this item?
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Last edited by snowy; 11-25-2010 at 09:05 AM..
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My wife and I have our favorites, but we also try new things quite often, usually from what we seen prepared on food network. We'll say "Wow, that looks awesome," and we'll get the recipe online and buy the ingredients.

We tend to support local businesses and buy from a local grocer that is not part of a national chain. We are more interested in eating healthy than in the price of food, so we tend to buy leaner meets, beans, green veggies, peppers etc. Most of what the grocer sells is locally produced, so we like that too. Tend not to go for canned goods unless we need it for a recipe, so we shop several times a week for fresh ingredients.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Although I feel the same way you do, snow, and would prefer to go back to shopping at Whole Foods and buy organic and free-roam stuff, my values are slightly different. Grain-fed meats are always larger and tastier, and I didn't like the idea of the hormones in my growing kids' food. Protein and fruit became a larger part of my diet when I signed on as a natural food shopper.

While I believe buying habits have indeed changed, I know of at least a couple of Whole Foods stores that shut down (where I lived last year) within the past 3 - 4 years. I think the "recession" has changed the priority for some of us who are on tight budgets and simply can't afford the higher prices.

When my situation changes again, hell yeah. I wish we had a Trader Joe's nearby. You westerners make it sound like so much more than Whole foods. Sigh.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Food is very expensive here. Nearly everything has to be imported from somewhere else. I would love to eat fresher, local food but that's just not possible. For example, an organically raised chicken is valued at $50+. A regular chicken is going to set you back $5.

That said, I would much prefer to be able to get my food from farmer's markets or directly from the source. The reality is, this sort of distribution model isn't practical for feeding the population bases we have in cities around the world.

Again, I would love for the world to work differently but presently, this isn't the way it works for me.
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Without a car, much of my shopping is based on what is closest to where I live and the routes I take to work, and whether I am buying a staple or splurge item.


I will go for generic brand whenver possible for things that are all essentially the same thing. Whole Foods has the nickname Whole Paycheck in my area, and when it says something when I found a way to get a lunch from there for under $5 and I celebrated it with my coworkers.

I mainly try to buy what is in season and appreciate that some foods are just not meant to be consumed year round.
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewels View Post
[snip] and I didn't like the idea of the hormones in my growing kids' food.
I think this is an important point. Parenthood changes your entire perspective on a lot of things, but particularly in what you put on the table. You don't have to just feed them well, you have to teach them to make good choices about how they eat. It ain't easy, that's for sure.

I also agree (forget which poster brought it up) that one's economic situation plays a major role in these choices, everyone has a budget. Since corn is heavily subsidized in the US, a lot of less expensive foods tend to contain high fructose corn syrup, you really have to be careful.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I try to buy raw ingredients more than finished foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, meat, grains, fats, oils, etc.) because I like to cook and I know precisely what's in the food. I try to buy foods that haven't been unnecessarily tampered with, like ammonia and hormone-free meats, and low or no-pesticide plants. I try to buy seasonal and as locally as I can, which means a lot of farmers markets. I can't be totally anal about it because it requires more time and energy than I have, but I do my best under the circumstances.
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I can't help but notice that the first thing some of you mention is the cost of meat. I think one of the biggest things that helps us save is just not buying meat. I don't have to worry about where my meat comes from if I don't eat it, and I don't have to worry about how much it costs if I'm not buying it. This savings enables me to spend more on local produce than other people.

Also, I am very thankful that we have an easily accessible farmer's market, nearby farmstands, and a reasonably priced hippie co-op down the street.
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