11 Easy Ways to Save Money on Organic Food

If you think that only health buffs are taking the organic route when it comes to buying their food, think again. These days, even regular households, health conscious individuals and concerned moms are buying more and more into the trend. There are good and bad points to this. What’s good is that organic is mostly healthier than non-organic food variants, but the downside is that organic food is generally more expensive.

To give you an idea about how popular organic food is, here are a few stats from Statista.com:

  • For 2013, organic supplements have a share of 23% of the market in the US. For 2014, organic food and beverage sales made up 67% of all organic sales. This is predicted to increase by 68% by 2018.
  • In 2011, fruits and vegetables were the leading organic food category, claiming a sales share of 42.2% of all organic food sales. This is projected to grow to a share of 43.4%.
  • The demand for organic food is driven by personal health and environmental reasons. Another major reason for consuming organic food is that consumers are concerned about exposure to toxins in non-organic food, which correlates to the fact that buyers believe organic is more nutritious than other food.
  • In 2012, organic food sales in the US reached $31.32 billion and are predicted to grow to $42 billion by the year 2014.
  • Natural and organic food is the fastest-growing food sector in the US. It makes up 5.8% of total food sales in 2010.
  • In 2012, around 40.39 million people purchased organic food.
  • For the past five years, here is how high the sales of organic food has been in the US:
    • 2010 – $28.9 billion
    • 2011 – $32.1 billion
    • 2012 – $35.4 billion
    • 2013 – $38.7 billion
    • 2014 – $42 billion

What’s Organic Food & Why Should I Consume It?

Next, what’s the difference between organic and conventional food, and why do most people prefer this variant? When you compare two apples in the supermarket which come from the non-organic and organic sections, you will hardly find any difference. However, the way that the two apples are grown is very different. The organic variant is grown without using conventional methods of fertilizing and controlling the weeds growing on the trees. Instead, natural fertilizers and weed fighters are used to make sure that no chemicals seep into the fruit once it is harvested.

Thankfully, you won’t have to check whether fruits, veggies or other items are grown organically. The US Department of Agriculture has a certification program which requires all organic food items to meet strict government standards. This means that the way that organic food items are grown, handled and processed is monitored – so consumers can get only the best available in the market. When a product is certified as 95% or more organic, the producers may display the USDA Organic seal.

Food items which are 100% organic means that they are completely organic, or are made of all-organic ingredients. For plain organic food items, they should be at least 95% organic. For food items or products which contain at least 70% organic, the label can only say that it is made with organic ingredients, and the USDA seal cannot be used.

Although there’s no difference in the nutrient content of organically and conventionally grown food, some people choose the latter because of the lack of pesticides and food additives. Organic farming is also friendlier towards the environment so even if there’s a difference in the price, some people still prefer to go organic. Lastly, organically-grown food promotes animal welfare and some say that the food simply tastes better than non-organic.

11 Easy Ways to Save Money on Organic Food

If you would like to go organic but you don’t want to increase your weekly grocery budget for it, what can you do? Here are some easy ways to get the best bang for your buck when buying organic food:

1. Buy organic ingredients in bulk.

When it comes to organic food, you will save more money by buying ingredients in bulk. For those small packets of organic rice or quinoa, you are actually paying more as compared to the bigger bags because of the packaging and specialized containers used. If you stumble upon a local farmer selling organic tomatoes for a very reasonable price, buy them in bulk and store in the fridge, or use in spaghetti sauce that should keep for days, or sun-dry them.

Buy organic food bulk!

2. Have a shopping list handy.

Many websites have a list of the organic food items that you can prioritize. Following the list will save you money and give you the most benefits from going organic. The top food items include:

  • Dairy
  • Meat (100% grass-fed, antibiotic/growth hormone-free, non-GMO)
  • Corn, zucchini, yellow squash, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, papaya and cotton seed oil
  • Apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, leafy greens, berries, sweet bell peppers
  • Organic eggs
  • Tea/coffee
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Chocolate

3. Know how to read food labels.

There are some terms which are not necessarily worth the extra cost, like free-roaming or cage-free when buying organic eggs. All you have to do is look for the terms USDA Organic, Certified Organic or 100% Organic on the label.

4. Grow your own organic food.

What better way is there to go organic than by growing some of your own food? Go online and look for sources on how you can create a vegetable or mini-fruit garden using organic farming techniques. Start from herbs and spices, then small veggies like tomatoes or peppers, and from there, you can grow your very own organic garden.

5. Don’t just look for organic food items at Whole Foods.

A store which has a reputation for selling overpriced organic goods is Whole Foods. Although there’s nothing wrong in buying some of the classics from their store, you do not have to limit yourself with their selection. There are plenty of other stores like Walmart, ALDI, Stop & Shop, Giant, and Target which all have their very own line of organic products.

6. Look for local organic food suppliers.

Check out the local farmers’ markets in your area, or even ask the local food growers if they sell organic products. Supporting the products of the local community is always a good idea, and you can always ask for neighborly discounts.

Grow your own organic food!

7. Make your own organic trail mixes, granola bars or snacks.

After buying your organic ingredients in bulk, there are very easy recipes that you can follow to make your own trail mix, granola bar or muesli mixes. When you buy these in pre-packaged containers with organic on the label, they are bound to cost a lot of money. You can just as easily make them yourself and carry the end product with you for a quick snack when you’re on the go or at work.

8. You don’t have to go organic all the way.

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have when going organic is that once they take this route, they cannot buy anything else without organic on the label. This is not necessarily true. If you do that, your grocery bills will increase by almost half – something you don’t want to happen if you are looking forward to saving money.

What you can do is be selective in buying organic. If you’re buying fruits or veggies, for example, will you be consuming the skin? If not, then you can easily buy the non-organic version of it and save a lot of money. Some examples include coconuts, lemons, oranges and bananas. Apples, on the other hand, are usually eaten with the skin on so you might want to choose organic for that.

9. Look for coupons or discount vouchers online.

Take the old fashioned route of clipping coupons from magazines if you find ones that will give you discounts on organic food items. You can also go online – sites like Amazon.com have programs like the ‘Subscribe and Save’ where you can get a certain percentage of discount on food products which you will sign up for.

10. Take advantage of sales and ‘buy one, get one free’ offers from retailers.

Most stores run sales or have ‘buy one, get one free’ offers to tempt those who would like to go organic. Since this is fast becoming a way of life, you will frequently see establishments with such offers for their organic goods.

11. Go comparison shopping.

Finally, go comparison shopping when buying organic goods. Sometimes, one store will offer organic eggs for a fraction of the price as compared to another store – so take note of which products are sold at a lesser rate on which stores.

As more and more people are going organic, you can easily join the bandwagon without having to break the bank. With these easy, money-saving tips, you can enjoy the taste and health benefits of buying organic food.

Oana Schneider :Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

View Comments (8)

  • That's amazing. Just today I've been reading a few posts and articles about organic food and how in comparison to genetically modified food it's much better because the other one could be cancerous. However, we plant trees here, vegetables and fruits and it's really yummy because it's original and it tastes much better.

    • Organic does not mean non-GMO so be careful with what you're buying. It may eliminate certain GMO foods but by no means all. The two terms are not mutual exclusive by any means.

  • Ah yes, buying organic food is a real pain in the wallet all the time. These tips are really helpful! What really caught my eye was "knowing how to read food labels" and "growing your own organic food" because reading food labels are always looked upon but really important. I've also tried growing my own organic food at home but I've always failed. I think I need to research about it more to be successful in the end.

  • It's great to know that people patronage organic food more and more. We can put a check to lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, High blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

    I'd say mere consumption of organic food is frugal living as it saves hugely on our health bills. Growing organic food in our backyard is a good idea to cut down on vegetable expenditure. It definitely pays to consume organic home cooked food as it doubles up on tasty dishes as well.

  • Growing your own food is a great way to make sure it's there when you need it, and also to make sure that you know exactly what's going into it as well. You know that nothing has been added, because it is all your own work. With regards to bulk buying, that is great too, but you need to think about how you're going to store everything. You might find that it is a good idea to club together with friends and family so that you can buy food in larger amounts without having to worry about having lots of it left over at the end.

  • I just wanted to drop a note about finding coupons for organic foods. There's a relatively little-known coupon website called Common Kindness that has lots of coupons for organic and health food items. Another one to check into is Mambo Sprouts. You can save on healthy choices.

  • A recent survey suggested Trader Joes is the cheapest for organic overall, which actually rather surprised me as I never set foot in there except for the occasional treat (pricey!!!!).

    I would add the tip of thinking about going organic only where it actually effects food value. For example, go organic for fruit where you eat the skin (which may have been exposed to pesticides), but not for fruit that are peeled before being eaten.

  • We grow some of our own fruit and vegetables and plan to grow even more in the future, it is the best way to eat organic and save money at the same time! You don't need a big garden for it, you can even grow a few veggies and herbs on a small balcony. The taste of homegrown vegetables is just better!