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5 Tips for Buying Organic Food

Girl peaking into grocery bag at The Big Carrot

You know organic is the way to go but matching your intentions with actual purchases shouldn’t be a challenge.

With the help of Sarah Dobec, Holistic Nutritionist at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto we’ve put together some tips to help you increase your organic food purchases.

Girl peaking into grocery bag


Tip #1 – Plan

  • Make a list of meals you want to have over the next week. Note which ingredients you will need to purchase and decide which ingredients will be organic.
  • Having this list in hand while shopping will help you stay focused and keep you from making unnecessary impulse purchases.
  • Planning also helps avoid impulse purchases and food waste. As Sarah notes, “Canadians throw out up to 40% of their weekly groceries because of poor planning. Wasting less is an easy way to save money and make your organic dollars go further.”


Tip #2 – Make one change at a time.

It would be terrific if you could switch to a full organic diet overnight, but this is difficult for most people. Sarah suggests making small changes slowly. “Pick a few items to purchase organically, and increase your purchases over time.”

Potential starting points include:

  • Buy a specific organic item every other week. This is a good starting point for more expensive items such as milk, butter or cereal.
  • Commit to spending a specific amount of money each week on organics. What would work for you? $10 per week? $25 per week?
  • Pick 1-2 items on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and buy them organic.
  • Resolve to purchase a specific type of meat organically such as sausages or hamburgers. Stay strong even when you see ‘door crasher’ sales on the conventional equivalent.


Tip #3 – Build family support & don’t push ahead alone.

Organic purchases may be seen as too expensive or unnecessary by family members. How do you get everyone in your household on board?

Sarah suggests watching movies together. “Movies and videos help everyone get educated about the benefits of organic,” she says. Some of Sarah’s favourites include:


Tip #4 – Schedule Extra Time for Shopping

Purchasing organic is easier than ever. Co-ops, farmers markets, CSA’s, Online ordering services, specialty retailers like the Big Carrot and mainstream grocery stores are all places where you can find organics.

However, you may need extra time to search out items in different sections of your current store, or investigate a new source. Remember to schedule these trips into your calendar and allow yourself extra time to compare options and ask questions.


Tip #5 – Keep Going!

Once you have started, think about what is working and what’s not. Monitor what languishes in your fridge and freezer. Are family members more excited about some items versus others?

Challenge yourself to try new items! Increase your weekly spending by 10% or a specific dollar amount.

Looking for more information?

Discover and taste test organic products at the FREE trade show that is part of the Guelph Organic Conference

Photos by Laura Berman