A big part of green living is what we eat and what we feed our families. But do grocers take us seriously? Do they think about what we are and are not willing to buy? A report from EcoFocus Worldwide shows that they certainly should. According to their research, 50% of moms will change brands when given a more eco-friendly option and 2 out of 5 are willing to pay more for a more eco-friendly choice.
Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to know what the true eco-friendly choices are when shopping. Not all brands are what they seem. "Natural" doesn't always mean what you would think it does and some "organic" brands are actually using GMO ingredients. The term "greenwashing" refers to these brands that would have you believe you are making a better choice when really you are not. For example, Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox and Naked Juice is owned by Pepsi-Cola. Neither is a green company.
My best advice is to grow it and/or make it yourself whenever possible. When you can't?
- Look for certifications on products,like the Energy Star logo, Green Seal, USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified or the Forest Stewardship Council logo, to help you choose products that are truly eco-friendly. To learn more about certifications on labels and what they mean, check out Consumer Reports eco-labels.
- When a product has a claim to be natural or green, look beyond the labeling for an explanation. If they don't list the how and why, they may be greenwashing.
- Buy groceries at the local farmer's market before heading to the supermarket and you may be surprised at how little you from the grocery store. More than vegetables and fruits are available. We buy meat, milk, eggs, bread, butter, cookies, soap, and more at our market! Just be sure to know who you are buying from and what their growing practices are. It's okay to ask! "Are these vegetables organically grown?" "Were these grown locally or did you ship them in?" "Where is your farm?" And beware pretty produce...organically grown foods are typically not as picture perfect.
- When you find brands you trust, buy them often and recommend them to friends and family. What we buy directly impacts what grocers carry. How we spend our money tells them what we want on the shelf.
- Do your research! Food is a lot of what green blogs talk about and you can blog hop your way to a ton of knowledge, learning from the experiences of others.
Next time you shop for groceries, pause for a moment and ask yourself, "What is my shopping cart saying?"