Are organic foods really worth all the fuss? I think so. A few years ago I started shopping all-natural and organic and noticed that I felt much better emotionally (less worry over what was in my food) and physically (less toxins weighing me down). Today, I am a die-hard proponent of natural food free from hormones, artificial additives and ingredients I can't pronounce. Read on to learn more about where to find cheap organic products at your local markets.
The decline of the brand name
According to The Economist, 2010 was the year you and I cast our loyalty to brand names aside. 93% of us downsized from carts to baskets, and traded in brand names for private labels and generics. We have taste-tested and concluded private labels taste just as good.
Plus, everything tastes better when we know we just saved money on it!
Thanks in large part to the economic recession in 2008-2009, we changed our shopping habits, and grocers have since risen to the occasion, releasing a variety of affordable, tasty, all-natural and even organic private label lines.
10 Private label organic brands by store
Each of these private label brands represents the grocery chain's in-house organic/natural product line.
Safeway was one of the first major chains to launch an organic private label brand. Now the chain has many competitors but continues to reinvest into its all-natural and organics store brand lines.
- O Organics: O Organics promises the highest quality organic items, free from GMOs, growth hormones or antibiotics, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. Includes baby and toddler foods, dairy and milks, meat, produce, pantry items and more.
Kroger has two private label brands—Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic—with three designations: Organic, Free from 101, and Natural foods.
- Simple Truth Organic: Simple Truth Organics includes soups, snacks, meats, dairy and milks, canned goods, pantry goods, produce, grains and even condiments.
Target began with its Archer Farms in-house brand, and that did very well, so it has expanded with Simply Balanced.
- Simply Balanced: 40% of items sold under this label are certified 100% USDA organic. The other 60% are GMO-free. All products exclude 150 known toxins, and there are 250+ products in the brand line. You can find dairy, meats and seafood, produce, snacks, condiments, teas and much more.
4. Whole Foods
Whole Foods is a store that has built its brand value on providing organic, safe, and healthy foods for individuals and families. In addition to the 365 Everyday Value brand, Whole Foods also now offers its Whole Foods Market, Engine 2 Plant-Strong, and Whole Trade labels to mark products as in-house brands.
- 365 Everyday Value: Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value line spans the gamut from dry goods and paper goods to fresh produce and milks, small batch ready-made meals to innovative new plant-based products.
H-E-B has long steered clear of the loyalty card rat race but has remained a determined competitor by offering low prices—no card needed. Now H-E-B joins the organics race with its new in-house brand.
- HEB Organics: H-E-B Organics is a new in-store private brand label that pledges itself to be free from GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, or non-organically compliant ingredients. The line is extensive, ranging from produce to pantry items, meats to teas, cereals to coffee drinks.
Aldi's has transformed itself from a grocer catering specifically to a high-end clientele into an affordable store for any customer seeking to eat organic and all-natural foods.
- Simply Nature: The line includes produce, pasta, dairy and other milks, snacks, sauces and salsas, and more.
Once again, Walmart is making waves (and headlines) with its 2014 effort to make organic eating affordable for all. The jury is still out on whether this latest push to dominate a new segment of the marketplace will succeed, but in the meantime Walmart has partnered with organic supplier Wild Oats and is giving its best shot.
- Wild Oats: Wild Oats used to be a stand-alone natural foods chain. Now the brand will relaunch itself under the Walmart umbrella with the aim to serve up a wide variety of organic edibles at lower prices than the competition.
8. Stop & Shop
I wasn't well acquainted with Stop & Shop until my family started spending holidays annually on the East Coast. The store's Nature's Promise organics brand stands up well to the southern organics I'm used to.
- Nature's Promise: Nature's Promise brand includes meats, snacks, dairy, produce and much more—all processed according to organic standards.
Albertsons was rated as one of Health.com's healthiest grocery stores—and the Wild Harvest brand was touted as coming in as much as 15% under the price of other organic brands.
- Wild Harvest: From snacks to juices, salsas to sauces, you can even find Albertsons recipes that use only Wild Harvest ingredients.
10. Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter also gets high marks from Health.com as one of America's healthiest grocers, with more than 600 items in its organics line.
- Harris Teeter Organics: Soups, snacks, produce, dairy, meats and more—each item is also grown in a sustainable way to support the Earth.