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That organic marinara sauce seems like a great choice. But not at $8.99 a jar. Or maybe you enjoy making guacamole, but at $2.50 each, your love of avocados fades. It’s enough to make you want to eat Cap’n Crunch again, isn’t it?
Not so fast. Changing economics built on consumer preferences have brought down the cost of eating well. Consumer demand is helping to turn the tide.
Health food used to be a specialty item. But as demand for healthy choices grew, food companies—from Chipotle and Subway to General Mills and Nabisco—began to tap into that market, meaning more options and lower costs.
Grocery Chains Answer the Call
Most encouraging is the trend of some major supermarket chains to offer organic product lines with economy in mind. As discussed in a 2015 Kiplinger.com report, retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Walmart, Costco, and even Whole Foods—which has taken its share of ribbing for its high prices—all offer cost-conscious organic produce and packaged goods.
In fact, Whole Foods is spinning off an entirely new store called 365, due to open later this year. And more new names are emerging, largely in the Midwest, Southwest, and West. As reported by Money.com, these new grocery brands include Lidl, Aldi’s so-called “arch rival” in Europe; WinCo, an Idaho-based chain that takes only cash to offer bigger discounts; and Fresh Thyme, a produce-centric Midwest chain described as a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s hybrid.
Solid Advice Awaits You
So while health food can still be an expensive niche, you don’t need to pay extra for an upscale label just to eat healthy. According to the USDA, no clear relationship exists between food cost and diet quality; you just need to make frugal and healthy choices.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate.gov resource offers a bunch of useful tips and strategies to eat healthy on a budget—including some great recipes. Check it out!
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