I made a trip to the grocery store in preparation for a talk I was giving. We constantly hear how expensive organic foods are and I wanted to make my own cost-comparison: Processed Snacks to Organic Munchies. How much will purchasing organic foods actually impact your budget? Turns out it depends.
We know organic cost more than conventionally grown fruit and veggies. It’s usually a good thing to compare apples to apples. For this comparison, I didn’t shop around for the best prices. I made all, but one purchase in one discount grocery store. Most grocery stores carry a line of organic products, so it wasn’t hard to do.
Now, if I was really comparing apples to apples, with each list of groceries, the total on the organic receipt would certainly be higher. Occasionally, it makes sense to compare apples to oranges. When you make the switch to whole foods, not just organic processed foods, the cost is almost identical. Organic processed foods are certainly more expensive. When you purchase whole foods, instead of processed foods, you’ll be surprised that your total food bill hasn’t changed very much! When switching organic foods, compare your total food bill, not just item to item. Processed snack foods are expensive, too. Once they are eliminated from your food bill, you’ll have more to spend on organic foods.
Obviously, organic fruits and vegetables will cost a bit more than conventionally grown. But when you compare boxed pancake mix to the cost of making your own, you’ll save big time! In the recipe section, I have added a very easy to make pancake recipe. It doens’t take any longer to prepare than making pancakes from a boxed mix.
Processed snack foods drive your food bill up! Plus, you’re filling up on fake-foods without valuable nutrients. I purchased two grocery bags full of snack foods. Each bag included the same number of items. The first bag, contained items for whole-food organic snacking . The second bag contained conventional processed snacks.
Each list has seven items. The total was almost exactly the same for each group of snack foods. I purchased the items in Spring 2008. With the cost of gas and inflation, I rounded up each item.
1) 4.00—1 quart Apple juice
2) 3.60—1 pound celery
3) 4.20—1 pound raisins
4) 1.80—1 pound carrots
5) 4.20—3 pounds apples
6) 5.30—4 pounds Valencia oranges
7) 1.00—1 pound organic popcorn (I purchased this at a whole foods store, because I couldn’t find where it was located at the grocers)
Total Cost of Whole-food Organic Snacking = $24.10
I added three pieces of fruit to this list, thinking most people eat at least some fruit.
1) 5.70—Case of soft drinks
2) 4.20—1 pound 3 ounces Cheese chips
3) 4.20—Chocolate cream-centered cookies
4) 2.20—Fish-shaped crackers
5) 3.00—Oatmeal cookies
7) 2.40—3 Gala apples
Total Cost of Processed Food Snacking = $24.20
The cost of eating organic is measured not only in dollars, but health.