|Board of Directors Report: Eating Well is Affordable!|
by Anna Edson
Nowadays, whenever I walk into the store I always see things I never used to notice before: new products, a new veggie, new customers, new co-workers. I have found myself looking a little closer at everything when I walk down the aisles at our Co-op. There are products whose prices I usually check that now seem a little more affordable. Over the last few months, I’ve actually increased the number of things I buy at the Co-op!
Given the socioeconomic state of the community, affordability was a major topic at our annual meeting last November. Our buyers have been working on bringing in more reasonably priced, organic, and cleaner choices. Department managers have always been comparing prices with competitors; now they’re working even harder on having competitive pricing. This will help us make our products more affordable without taking away the breadth of the Co-op’s offerings.
Our Co-op is also focused on growing the Co-op Basics program. The purple Co-op Basics signs emphasize the products on our shelves that are natural or organic, cleaner, and with an everyday low price. The increase in my purchases here is solely attributed to the line of Field Day products, which I have found to be as good and as clean as other organic or natural products in the store.
I also look for green “Co-op Deals” signs. Twice per month, our Co-op has sales on items across the store in the Co-op Deals Flyers. This last month I bought a case of my favorite dish soap; not only did I get the flyer sale price, but I also took advantage of the case lot discount (10% off). Our in-store sales flyers also provide some really great deals. We work with local vendors and suppliers to bring in products for the month at good values. Also, don't forget about the Co-op Deals coupons on shelves and in the coupon booklet found in and around the store, including the Bulk department, at registers, Customer Service, and Shareholder Services.
My two favorite departments to shop are the Produce and Bulk departments.
Take, for instance, the bulk herbs: if you were to buy a small container of herbs at a local store, you would pay several dollars. Buy that amount here in your reusable container and you will pay a fraction of that cost. Buy only as much as you need, at a very reasonable price! If you just need one cup of rice, the Bulk department gives you that exact option. Produce too: if you want only one kale leaf, then that is what you can get.
Which leads me to a program that is featured in Co-ops around the country: the Pennywise Pantry Tour. We will take you through the store and give you some tips on shopping with a budget. The tour also provides recipes that are easy, more affordable, more nutritious, and delicious. Check out the recipes included with this article (page 9); you can also see how much I spent on the ingredients (left column, this page).
The Food For All program helps those with food insecurities. We have well over 200 participants in the program who take advantage of the 10% discount. If you know of someone who may benefit from the program, please send them to our Shareholder Services, who will be happy to discuss the benefits and advantages of the program and of being a shareholder.
Lastly, please participate in the classes our Co-op offers. We have beginning cooking classes for kids and adults, and also provide more specific classes on herbs, fermentation, culinary, and more.
Go to the BFC website for a calendar of classes, or call Shareholder Services (and make sure they have your updated e-mail address—they’ll be happy to share what’s up in our store electronically). There are lots of recipes on our Facebook page and on our website, too!
In the meantime, since everyone so enjoyed the Co-op Café at our last annual meeting, please feel free to share ideas of what you would like for topics the next time. Your board members would love to hear your input.