Note: In 2013, our household went paleo! We still shop at Whole Foods, but not so much at Trader Joes because of all the food additives. Also, our food bill is much higher. Now that my health has greatly improved and we’re pregnant as a result of that investment, though, I am completely fine with that! :)
It’s no secret that you can eat cheaply – and not just cheaply, but healthily – and not spend a lot of money. And that’s why people (especially old people) raise their eyebrows and start judging me when I say that my family gets groceries from premium whole food and organic food movement establishments like Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
For the record, buying local is better. Find a farmer’s market or a food co-op and support them. But being new to the area (and possibly a little lazy), I like these stores just fine. Here are a few reasons why.
It’s not actually that much more expensive
If I wanted to drop $2,000 per month at a Whole Foods or Trader Joes, I would have no trouble doing it. But for our average grocery shopping trip, JHubbs and I have learned to spend a little under $100 per week on food.
This accounts for seven days of three meals per day plus snacks and desserts. This accounts for our personal eating desires (he hates nuts, I like chocolate) and our availability to cook (breakfast on the go, lunch prepared, and dinner cooked each night).
Money reflects values
No, I don’t think Whole Foods loves me and buys its products as a result of that love, but they do certainly care less about moving product and more about my dissatisfaction with a head of lettuce than any other grocery store I have ever been to.
We eat less because we eat better
Food used to cost this much
Now, I’m sure there are a lot of factors such as how much people used cash for food in 1801 verses 2001, but other than that, either a) we’re producing it for cheaper which means we are mistreating our farmers, or b) the worth of the food we are eating has significantly declined and we are mistreating ourselves.
You can pick one.
Food has changed
Now, I am not about to re-create the countless other sources who report this fact, but the fact is that the egg my mom ate in 1970 is simply not the same egg I am eating or that my child will eat.
Nowadays, the average chicken breast has less protein and the average steak has more fat (please see chart below for vegetable information that makes my generalization about chicken and beef more palatable).
While it may seem silly to pay $4.79 a pound at Whole Foods instead of the $2.99 Chicken-Booby bin at Walmart, I don’t feel silly at all and it’s our $1.80, anyhow. Did I mention the taste difference in a WF or TJ egg from a generic egg is noticeable? (Creepy).
|Scary chart found on page five of this study.|
I wish I could fact-check and provide a detailed thesis paper on all sources ever compiled, but I just included a few studies that backed me up to give you the general idea that I am not full of crap. I just like food!
How our spending breaks down
We make two trips once a week, first to Trader Joes, and then to Whole Foods. Our tendency is to get dry, boxed, canned, and frozen goods from Trader Joe’s (admittedly cheaper because they have an organic in-house brand) and fresh food from Whole Foods — so just try their boneless chicken breasts, produce, and cheese, and then try to go back to the crap they sell at traditional stores. I dare you.
So, in closing, try to control your rage for people who shop at “upscale” grocery stores. Try the stores (or not) for yourself, then remember that most people aren’t trying to insult you with their food choices. They’re just choosing them.
**Please note, this is not a sponsored post, though I would gladly accept some monetary reimbursement. I just wanted to put my grocery philosophy into words!