Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Going Organic on a Budget

By Elizabeth Leader Smith, June 21, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Leader Smith

OrganicsA recent study by the Organic Trade Association found eight in 10 parents in the US report they purchase organic products at least sometimes and an increasing number are making this choice because of their desire to provide healthful options for their children. How can you afford to make the same choice for your family?

As the first nationally certified organic grocer in the US, Whole Foods Market® has organics in every aisle; you won’t find a bigger selection than at our stores. If you’re looking to fill your shopping cart with organics without emptying your pocketbook, it pays to know when to reach for them. Here are 7 ways to go organic without going over your budget.

  1. Wise choices. Start by switching to items you use the most. For my family, this means organic milk, eggs and grains.
  2. Reach for 365 Everyday Value®. From salad dressings and pasta sauce to cheese and cotton balls, we offer more than 600 organic 365 Everyday Value® products at great prices.
  3. 365 Everyday ValueLook for sale signs. There are more than 1000 items on sale at any time - lots of it organic, including meat, grocery products and fresh, seasonal produce.
  4. Be the first to know. Subscribe to your local store’s newsletter and receive the latest news on our national wide one-day sales and store specific sales.
  5. Bulk up. Buying organic rice, cereal, nuts and grains from bulk bins lets you get just the amount you need and try a variety without paying for excess packaging.
  6. Coupons! From kids’ yogurt and juice blends to wafers and pickles, we’ve got coupons for organic favorites to satisfy everyone at your table. Print them before you shop or find them in The Whole Deal value guide in stores.
  7. Sure deals. In each issue of The Whole Deal value guide, our Sure Deals bring you the best quality and the best value every day. Look for organic offerings for summertime favorites like ready-to-drink teas.

What money-saving tips do you have for buying organic goods? Share in the comments section below.

Category: Organics




Von says ...
Thanks for the tips, they help with making choices when I shop.. I live about 10 minutes away from the Detroit store. I'm really happy I don't have to go so far to get to your store anymore. Welcome to the neighborhood!
06/23/2013 3:34:23 PM CDT
christina chavez says ...
You can also buy your most commonly consumed products by the case. WFM also throws in a case discount in some stores & you can use coupons on top of that, even if it's on sale. Talk about Savings!!! Shop Smart!
06/25/2013 1:33:04 PM CDT
C. Chandler says ...
This is good news. We have a family of 5 now and have been customers of WFM for years. When it was just me & my husband it was affordable, but now it breaks our budget to shop at WFM. It sickens me to think of switching to another store to save money and not eat organic. We will keep an eye out for the coupons and 365 deals and hope that helps. Dropping $300 plus a week on food is killing us.
06/26/2013 7:20:21 PM CDT
Jan says ...
try to plan meals around seasonally available produce as prices are likely to be lower.
06/26/2013 7:59:31 PM CDT
Cl says ...
I LOVE Whole Foods & am praying we get a store near where I live, I travel 45mins to get to the closest store near my home! Making good healthy choices for my family is that important to me..
06/26/2013 10:35:23 PM CDT
Shelley Johnson says ...
Organic eggs taste sooooo much better they are worth every penny extra that they cost. As far as that goes, so does all organic meat. But, the eggs make a difference!
06/27/2013 4:57:38 AM CDT
Flossie says ...
It also helps to buy organic only when organic is truly superior to conventional. You've probably read about the "dirty dozen" of produce --- fruits and veggies that are especially high in pesticide residues, e.g., apples, celery, greens, etc. If you're on a budget, these are worth the extra cost. Items with a thick skin or rind are less likely to be swimming in chemicals and can be bought conventional -- avocados, citrus, root veggies, etc. Personally, I don't think the government's "organic" label is particularly meaningful on processed foods from mega-corporations.
06/27/2013 9:39:23 AM CDT
Sherri Doucette says ...
As a single mom to two college students, most often I'm on a pretty tight budget, so I'm not married to any particular brand or item. My grocery list is general, i.e., 2 -3 fruits, 3-4 veggies, nuts, 1 snack, milk, beans, tofu, olive oil etc. and then I meander through the store looking for the best deal in each sub group. I may have been thinking apples, but if pears are cheaper, then pears it is. Remaining flexible seems to be the key to fitting organics in without breaking the bank.
06/27/2013 9:56:54 AM CDT
CJ Jones says ...
Shop in Season. I have created recipes using what folks get from food banks and then infuse the healthy organic veggies with those staples. Never shop hungry, _PLAN ahead. if you have a plan you will buy what you need, even if you do not follow the plan perfectly you will still have your basics that you find you will use more often. Make double! Freeze what you did not use or frig in portion sizes so you can grab & go. Kids come home from school and grab a quick & healthy snack already prepared.
06/27/2013 10:39:25 AM CDT
Aimee says ...
Obviously Whole Foods is going to mention only the ways to save on organic food if it involves their stores. Nothing wrong with that, as they want people to shop there, but there are other ways to save. 1. Try shopping at farmers' markets or visiting farms directly. If you have an organic farm nearby, make friends with the farmer and you may be first to hear about available products. 2. Grow your own! Keeping a small vegetable garden is very easy, and even if you only have a windowsill, potted herbs can really keep down the cost of buying them at stores. 3. Don't forget that the most organic plants are the wild ones. Instead of spraying all the dandelions in your yard, pick the leaves for a salad. Go wild berry picking! Collecting wild food can double as fun activities for kids.
06/27/2013 10:51:42 AM CDT
abe froman says ...
@Sherri Doucette: Swapping out is a really great idea. Sometimes I can get so tied to my list that I don't look at all of my options.
06/27/2013 10:20:14 PM CDT
Stephanie says ...
Is the 365 brand all BPA free?
06/28/2013 7:53:12 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@STEPHANIE - Are you inquiring about our 365 canned goods? If so, no they are not BPA free. We are actively working with experts in the field to find an alternative material that works just as well without the presence of BPA or any other substances of concern. You will notice a new line of 365 tetra pack options for some of our common canned goods as an alternative.
06/28/2013 10:22:21 AM CDT
Kim Kieft says ...
I have been shopping at Whole Foods for years on a budget. The key is knowing what is on sale and rotating your shopping into smaller, more frequent trips to the store. Buy what you need when it is on sale- stock up on organic pasta, cereals, condiments, boxed goods, and items that last longer in your pantry when they have a great deal! Take asvantage of their weekly and montly coupons and plan accordingly. Often, organic is the same price as the national chemical filled items or less expensive when on sale. Organic meats also pack more flavor- I use only a half pound or ground sirloin in my sauce and it gives twice the flavor of a pound of low quality chuck or round. Almond and hemp milk are also great dairy alternatives with a longer shelf life and substitue well in baking, smoothies, and over cereal. There are other guides like the dirty thirty that tell you in order which produce to always buy organic if you are on a tight budget. I love Whole Foods for their 365 brand and also for their support of the local communities in which they are located. There is no better feeling than knowing you are making healthy choices for you and your family!
06/30/2013 11:36:39 AM CDT
Mayra says ...
Hi, I was wondering if the 365 Products Contain GMO's
06/30/2013 12:39:02 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MAYRA - For our 365 Everyday Value products, all ingredients derived from plants are sourced to avoid GMOs, and hundreds of those products are verified by the Non-GMO Project.
07/01/2013 2:38:57 PM CDT
Christel M Lopez-Berryman says ...
Whole Foods is not very close to me, so I tend to not go as frequently as I'd like. I purchase organic foods locally at a couple local organic markets (MOM's, Organic Market, and Wegman's in their organic section). I like shopping at Whole Foods much better, but have to plan a trip to Annapolis, MD, or Foggy Bottom, DC, to take advantage of "being in the area". Recipe ideas, peace of mind of knowing items are organic, and variety keep me looking for reasons to be in those cities (and getting to those stores).
07/01/2013 11:08:00 PM CDT
Mitra N says ...
We are on a seriously tight budget. We really have to be careful. That being said, I will ONLY buy organic berries for my son. We also only buy organic milk, yogurt, and eggs (all the price clubs sell these organic now, which save A LOT). The bulk of the produce we purchase is also organic. I try for sustainable too, as much as I can. Is it breaking the bank? Surprising, no. We make the most of our famers' markets, buying seasonally. My son loves berries, but I simply don't buy them out of season because of the out of season prices. I make the most of the great sales at WFM, am signed up for multiple store circulars, heavily rely on the Whole Deal for making the most of coupons and seasonal recipes that stretch. I also capitalize on the incredible one-day sales at WFM (the best most recent being the 99 cent organic, fair-trade grape sale and the $1.99/pint organic blueberry sale [throw on top of those prices the case discount and you can easily freeze what you don't use right away]). I also go for what's local - WFM is great about keeping their prices tied to season and cost - if something didn't cost too much to come into the store, the price is usually less. Another strategy I use is to keep smaller quantities so that way I'm not paying for anything to go bad on me. I try to plan out meals and buy what I know I'll need and what I know will be eaten - while it does mean I make more trips to WFM that I would if I were just doing all the shopping for the week, I try to time those trips out with different store events that I would or want to go to anyway (like Mommy & Me classes, Lunch & Learns, etc.). At the end of the day, I find that I spend just about the same as I would at another supermarket for the conventional equivalent. It just takes time, planning and effort, buy anyone can move towards organic and keep their budgets in line.
07/08/2013 12:42:45 PM CDT
Carla Mellander says ...
I love the variety of foods at whole foods. There is something for everyone especially if you are on a budget. The variety of beans make them an easy choice. They can be seasoned and included at most meals as a heathy value meal. cook as a main dish, wrapped in a tortilla with other vegetables or just plain, the way I like them.
07/12/2013 11:05:04 AM CDT
Marianne says ...
Is there organic that is Lactose free. If so do you sell it?
07/12/2013 11:42:10 AM CDT
Andrea says ...
It would be so nice if we had Whole Foods that were on the smaller scale. the same amazing produce, bulk, and meat sections without the bakery or cheese/wine and a reduced freezer section. In small town america or college towns they would be so handy when all we have is a Walmart.
07/12/2013 11:47:09 AM CDT
Naomi McCann says ...
When items you like and eat frequently, that are normally $5+ are on sale for $2.90, buy three or more.
07/12/2013 12:00:41 PM CDT
Tommy says ...
There are a few items at whole foods that won't break the bank HOWEVER!!!! Look at the priceses you charge for non-organic produce. A good example is ginger root. Super kings sells the very same non organic ginger for .60 cents a pound yet, whole foods charges I believe $6.99 a pound for the very same ginger and the sad part is, it comes from the very same field. Same story with tomatoes and other non organic produce. How do you explain this other than greed? I'm sure this post will never be seen by anyone other than the moderator but that doesn't really matter.
07/14/2013 11:40:25 AM CDT
Deb says ...
I have been shopping at the Organic Garage for quite a while now. I find their prices very reasonable. The quality of the fruit and veg is really good so is the variety. The meat is very reasonably priced and the difference you can taste right away. Chicken breasts may seem a little smaller but that is because they are not pumped full of hormones antibiotics and water, so in fact you are getting a normal sized one. I like the egg section altho a little more expensive I like the fact I can get from small farms and they are hand gathered. I try never to eat anything from factory farms as I do not like to contribute to animal abuse. I eat vegan a couple of days a week and I can find everything for that at the Organic Garage too!!
07/15/2013 8:38:59 AM CDT
Lisa says ...
My tip is to buy what you know you'll use. It sounds simple but it's easy to purchase too much then it goes bad and ends up as waste. We're used to 'super sizing' everything these days so paying attention to quantity has allowed me to make better purchases. Shop sales! Plan your meals around sale items. Don't forget to price compare, I find non organic at times is very close in cost to organic.
07/15/2013 3:22:50 PM CDT