Going Organic for Less

We all want to buy more organic foods but don't want to pay the oft exorbitant prices. According to Urvashi Rangan, a policy analyst with Consumer Reports' Greener Choices, organic produce, meat and dairy products can cost up to twice as much as their regular counterparts. As we recently noted, however, that hasn't stopped people from snatching them up at an increasing pace.

Yet let's say you'd like to enjoy all the health and eco-benefits of organic foods without having to drop some major change. Luckily for you, SmartMoney's Keli Grant has several tips that should make shopping for organic produce easier and, more importantly, cheaper:

Supermarket chain Meijer has Meijer Organics, Giant Eagle has Nature's Basket and Publix has GreenWise Market. Many supermarkets are adding organic lines to their private labels, a move that allows shoppers to buy organic at significant discounts over big-name brands, says Teri Gault, founder of The Grocery Game, a program that helps consumers match manufacturers' coupons with store sales. At Safeway, a 20-ounce bottle of store-brand O Organics ketchup is $2.45, a steal compared with the 15-ounce bottle of Heinz Organic at $3.79. Considering price per ounce, you'll save 49%.1) Set some priorities — Make sure to read the label and to buy those organic foods that lack the high levels of pesticides and other harmful additives common in their conventional counterparts. Examples include organic apples, beef and spinach.

2) Consider your alternatives — If you still don't feel like ponying up for organic produce, consider alternatives like antibiotic- or hormone-free foods.

3) Organic goes on sale, too — Pretty self-explanatory: keep your eyes peeled for organic foods put on sale or for coupons/discounts advertised in grocery store brochures. Also be sure to buy fruits and vegetables when they're in season.

4) Turn to local farmers — Fresh fare straight from the farm and lower prices make farmers' markets a winner. Also consider community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), which provide you with a weekly supply of the best organic produce for a fee.

5) Consider generics — Take advantage of the organic lines supermarket stores are increasingly rolling out alongside the private labels.

Have your own tips to buy organic for less? Feel free to share in the comments or in the forums.

Via ::SmartMoney: Buy Organic Without Breaking the Bank (news website), ::BloggingStocks: Go organic ... cheap! (blog)

See also: ::USDA Waters Down Organic Standards, ::The Grass is Greener When it's Organic
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