In the U.S.A. we have so many options when it comes to our food. Let's explore what is leading people's choices and some things to think about when making a purchase.
I visited a Whole Foods and I asked shoppers what was driving their purchases. The answer was the same from every person I asked, "Freshness." The shoppers wanted to make sure they were bringing home fresh food for their family.
For this conversation let's focus on the produce section of your local grocery store. There are fruits, vegetables, roots, and shoots colorfully lining the shelves and cases, what is the criteria for produce to enter your shopping cart when purchasing food for your family? Are you looking for freshness, where the food was grown, how the food was grown, price?
Some produce is in bags, others in clamshells, and many loose for you to bag yourself, but all have labels either on the product or on the shelf next to it. The labels will tell you a lot about your food. The price tells you the cost. The date tells you the freshness. The country of origin tells you where the food was grown. Labels such as Non-GMO, USDA Organic, Certified Naturally Grown tell you how the food was grown. So what should you do with all this information?
Here is my take. When shopping for my family of six I look at the food labels and the level of importance to me is origin, freshness, then price. The rest are important in identifying your food, but these three are going to tell me:
Origin- I am looking for American grown produce because I want to support American farmers and fend off encroaching countries that want us to rely on them for our food.
Price- I need to make sure I can afford the purchase.
Freshness- I need to make sure the food won't go to waste before my family can eat it.
As for the other labels, I support all methods of growing equally, but I also know there are no health differences between eating organic, non-GMO, and conventionally grown foods. So these labels carry no weight in me making my purchase. The ultimate goal for me is raising four healthy, strong boys and maintaining a vibrant domestic food supply to keep our country strong.
Parents often worry about their food purchases and feel guilt when they cannot afford "upper tier" foods. To these parents I say do not worry, you are doing the best you can and as long as you are offering fresh choices that you can afford you are doing great!