Written by Laura Batcha CEO/Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association
I hope you’re among the millions of individuals and families across our nation who have discovered how good it is for you and your family to eat organic food and use organic products in your daily lives.
I get lots of questions on how we can save money when buying organic. Organic products can sometimes be more expensive than conventional, and we all want to find ways to economize while still choosing organic. The good news, I have found, is that there are many ways to live an organic – and thrifty! – lifestyle.
First, I like to buy in bulk. I find I can buy many organic products at a discounted rate when I purchase them in bulk. So, for your favorite organic products, buy more and save!
I also like to shop in season and store some seasonal items for when they’re not in season. Fresh organic fruits and vegetables, for example, are more affordable when in season. They also hold their nutritional benefits when frozen or stored for eating when not otherwise readily available.
Farm stands and farmers’ markets are fun destinations for me. More and more farm stands and farmers’ markets are cropping up throughout the U.S., and they offer competitive prices on a wide range of fresh organic products. And if you get a chance to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation, you will find buying a share provides a convenient and cost-effective way to get a wide range of organic products. You may want to split a share with a friend to make this even more budget-friendly!
I collect and use coupons. Many organic companies make printable coupons available on their websites. You can also ask your organic retailer about other products for which coupons are available.
There are so many organic brands that I love to buy, including private label organic offerings. Often referred to as “store” or “generic” brand products, private label products are a great place to start when you are looking to incorporate more organic into your life. Offering staple organic products at competitive prices, they make buying organic an easy and affordable choice. I also know they have gone through the same rigorous USDA organic certification procedures as name brand organic products.
I often choose to cook at home. I enjoy exploring all the dishes that can be made with easily-accessible organic ingredients, and it is one way to help keep my budget in check.
Because organic food is available at most grocers and other food outlets, we can comparison shop at multiple locations. Today, many outlets sell organic products, and some are more economical than others: we can shop at traditional grocery stores, discount markets, big box stores, farmers’ markets, specialty shops–and more! You may discover–like I have–that it is worth it to make a circuit of these options to choose where to buy your organic favorites.
When friends tell me they’re not sure where to begin when buying organic, I encourage them to buy organic versions of the products they use the most. Whether that means milk, produce or personal care products, buying organic will not only help reduce your and your family’s —and our planet’s exposure to harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, it also means supporting a system of agriculture that is great for our world.
Remember, as shoppers, every dollar we spend on organic helps to support a hard-working organic farmer, rancher, processor and other business committed to environmentally sound agricultural practices, clean and unadulterated food, and organic’s transparent and rigorous system of regulations and quality standards.
And that is a good investment.