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How Making Friends With Your Grocery Store Will Help You Lose Weight & Feel Great

I’ve found the key to everlasting weight loss, great health and feeling awesome is to take back control of your food and to stop outsourcing it to restaurants, fast food chains and corporations. With that said, unless you plan on growing everything you eat yourself, we still need the food industry to survive. So how do we use the food industry to our advantage? There is a revolution happening in the way we eat and we together can demand what our stores carry. We control the marketplace after all… 

That’s why I firmly believe – Grocery Stores are our best friends! 

Grocery 2

Let me explain… 

If we develop a relationship with our grocery store, we can dramatically change the food options that they line their shelves with. They want to please us, they want to stock their shelves with the products that we will buy otherwise food gets wasted and they lose money. The simple act of asking your local grocery store to carry more organic and healthy brands can make a huge improvement in the type of food that is available for you and your entire community to buy.

Watch as I explain why it’s so important to talk to our local grocery stores about the food they sell:

Vote with your dollars and your store will change!

Every purchase counts. In order to survive, food companies have to keep an eye on their bottom line. When we vote with our dollars, we send clear messages about what we want to see more of, and what we are not willing to support. If we support those companies that are watching out for us and have OUR best interests at heart then we can increase their presence in the marketplace. The companies who don’t have our best interests at heart will begin to take notice and start to change their ways if they want to remain relevant. 

Want more organic food? Just ask for it!

There is a tidal wave of change happening at major grocery chains across this country. Target, Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Walmart, and Costco are all providing more organic options and enacting better meat sourcing policies – and it’s because of all of you out there that are voting with your dollars and asking for more real food! When we all raise our voices asking for these options, grocery stores are responding by providing what we want to eat. It really is that simple.

Here’s what you can do to get what you want at your local grocery store:

1. Clean out your pantry and return unopened processed “food” to the store (and tell them why). I did this several years ago with an unopened can of Crisco, but not before explaining to the store manager why I was returning it. If more people admonished their grocery stores for carrying poisons and questionable ingredients, there’d be less of this stuff on their shelves.

2. Drop off a letter to your local grocery store asking for better options or simply call or talk to the store manager. A carefully crafted written letter will receive the most attention from management, and may be forwarded on, which can create even bigger changes. Or a simple face-to-face encounter can get healthier options on the way to your grocery store faster than you can imagine. Remember to be specific about what brands and products you’d like them to carry.

Here’s a sample letter to send to your local grocery store (get a printable version here!):

Dear ___________________________ , (Name of Store Manager):

I am writing to you as one of your regular customers to thank you for the current selection of certified organic and healthy products that are currently on the shelves.

Being that certified organic and non-GMO products are becoming a larger share of the market and a growing request by many people such as myself, I would like to ask you to expand this selection. More and more people are likely to shop where there is a greater variety of healthy alternatives.

Below is a quick list of the most important products that people eat on a daily basis. It is crucial that this store is a leader in promoting change and offering healthier options in these categories.

I am also aware that an increasing amount of retailers across the country are open to special orders for new products and if requested often enough these products can find a place on the shelves. Thank you for being open to these requests and providing the real food we all need to create a change towards a better future.

Here are the most important areas we can provide clean, healthy food and some suggested options for great brands that are found all over the country at local grocery stores just like yours!

* Milk – Local and Organic, Organic Valley Grassmilk, Traderspoint Creamery
Chicken/Beef – Local and Organic, White Oak, Organic Prairie, Jones Creek, Thousand Hills, Hearst Ranch
* Bread
– Ezekiel, Food For Life, Dave’s Killer Bread (non-frozen)
* Yogurt – Maple Hill Creamery, Traderspoint Creamery
* Juice – Raw, Organic and Cold Pressed, Matt’s Organic, Lakewood Organic
* Cereal – Ezekiel, Two Moms in the Raw, Purely Elizabeth, Go Raw
* Eggs – Local and Organic, Vital Farms, The Country Hen, Organic Valley Organic Brown Eggs
* Oil – Organic, Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil, Ghee, Red Palm Oil, Olive Oil
* Produce – Local and Organic (Next Best: Frozen Veggies – Organic)
* Sugar & Snacks – Coconut Sugar, Raw Pure Honey, Maple Syrup, Organic Stevia, Late July Chips, Jackson’s Honest Chips, Mary’s Gone Crackers or Pretzels, 479 Popcorn, Three Twins Ice Cream, Coconut Bliss Ice Cream, Madhava Sprouted Brownie or Cookie Mix, Organic dried fruit

I want to thank you for taking the time to address my concerns and for taking a step in the right direction to provide safe, clean food for myself and my family, while supporting local producers and a healthier planet. 

Sincerely,

Name:

Contact Number:

Email Address:

It’s so simple. Print this letter out or customize it for your needs and hand it to the store manager at your local store or send it to the grocery store headquarters.

No more excuses – Ask for what you want and you shall receive!

Do you know someone who complains about their grocery store not having any clean, healthy or organic staples? Then please share this post with them! You will change their life and the world.

Xo,

Vani

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35 responses to “How Making Friends With Your Grocery Store Will Help You Lose Weight & Feel Great

  1. Hi Food Babe!

    Love this post as always! I most appreciate your point about just asking for the products you want, it totally works!!! =)

    All you have to do is go to the manager of the dept. and mention what you like and they’ll do their best. This is how I got my favorite chocolate coconut drinks in the store (ok, it helps to do your hair that day and bat your eyelashes a bit….but still, ha).

    Seriously, I was shocked they listened! And so grateful. You are so right though, you have to demand the foods you want, I don’t want all that processed junk. I went to a health conference where I was told, just steer your grocery store on the outskirts of the store avoiding all the chemical and processed laden mid-section. Kind of true!!

  2. It’s true! If you talk to the right people, without being defensive or condescending, you’d be amazed at the improvements a local store will make. Most also have online feedback that can be helpful as well.
    If you REALLY want to take control of your health and have an impact on our Earth, cut out the animal products.

    1. So true. Also oils and fats (yes, even coconut, olive, ghee, etc.) especially if you need to lose weight or have heart issues.

      1. Laura that’s not the point she’s bring up. Cutting out meat is the biggest reward to our planet not our health, duh! The ketogenic diet and many different advocates of a sugar free diet agree that animal fat is and always has been a staple of our diets. Ancel Keyes, the american shart association, and the food pyramid in general have all been misleading Americans for too many years. Overconsumption of sugar (all, including fructose!) and carbs make us sick and fat, ask Gary Taubes, ask Masai warriors, ask the dudes at the gym getting shredded off readjusting the body to be “fat adaptive”, you know before we had amylase receptors on our tongues..

  3. Exactly! This is so true and relevant – especially with the forward momentum of this movement picking up speed! I’m so grateful to be a part of it – and I hope more people find it inspiring to be part of it too!

    *FUN NOTE! When you get those ‘surveys’ at the bottoms of store receipts, UTILIZE that opportunity to speak up about what you want to see more of (and/ or less of) at your local markets! I did so with our local Target stores, and started to see a shift right away in product availability. I continue to be impressed with many of the items they are stocking their shelves with. AND – (BONUS!) – These surveys often come with an opportunity to have your name drawn for gift cards or $$! (So why not take a chance?) 🙂

    1. That’s a good point. For some stores like Target the decisions are made from corporate & that’s the only way to see a change. Also we need to make sure when we are at stores like Target & see organic foods we need to buy them to keep them on the shelf. Although I can’t grocery shop at Target I do make it a point to stock up on some of their organic offerings

      1. Exactly – I do the same thing! Sometimes they offer something I find on a better deal there than anywhere else as well – for the same/ similar offerings. So I’ll pick those items up there – to help promote the sale of these and the provision of MORE organic & truly natural goods. We definitely vote with our dollars. It all counts!

    2. D. Mack?

      Thank you to Food Babe and D. Mack for these wonderful tips today!

      PS. D. Mack, I visited your website today for the first time and really enjoyed my visit! I also found your FB page and sent you a message on there asking you a few questions. When you have a chance, I’d LOVE to hear from you! Thanks!

      Maria In Mass <—your new subscriber and fan 🙂

  4. Thanks for the encouragement to make our voices heard in our local stores! I am fortunate to live within walking distance of Kroger and Fresh Market, but I normally drive the 2 extra miles to go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. You’re right — the times when I go to Kroger or Fresh Market, I should be telling them why I buy most of my groceries at their competitors.

    Two points:
    1) Have you noticed that in stores like Kroger, the foods you want to buy are sequestered in the “Natural Foods” section? Think about what that says about the rest of the store, which must be the “Unnatural Foods” section!
    2) When shopping at a store like Costco that offers samples, I’ll ask the sample-server if the food is organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, free of artificial colors and flavors, …, and if the answer is no, I tell them no thanks. If enough people do that, that information will get passed back to the store and the distributors, and more natural options will be showcased.

    1. Ha! Great observation… I live out in the country and our stores appearantly want to be last to offer some healthier choices.

      Will definitely make my voice heard!

  5. I was so glad to see Dave’s Killer Bread on your list. I discovered this awesome product at my local Kroger several months ago, but since then, I rarely see it. I usually just complain under my breath when I’m searching the “natural food” section, but your post lit a fire under my butt to write a letter to the manager. Fingers crossed that they will start stocking it on a regular basis!

  6. I live in the wilderness, and there’s only one full-size grocery store that knows it has a monopoly and does what slum grocery stores do. I swear they keep track of what informed people buy and quit stocking it. People go out of town … four hours one way in the winter … to Costco.
    Have you discovered Amazon Prime and Amazon Subscription? There, you can type in ‘organic’ before what you want. It will say ‘no items match your search’ if they don’t have it. What a time saver that is. And they have a lot of choice.
    The subscription items ship once a month on the same day, and you get 15% off on them. Buy staples (not just food but cleaning, office supplies, etc.) that way. Shipping is free and there’s no sales tax.

  7. I am very confused at the inclusion of RED PALM OIL as one of the suggested oils…??? Is Red Palm oil somehow obtained differently than “regular” palm oil, where it is taking up the habitats of orangutans?? Please answer as I am very concerned about the issue. Thank you!

  8. You are so right! We have to vote with our pocketbooks and demand the kind of high quality, nourishing, NonGMO, organic food we want! Thanks for leading the charge. I am going to do this in my community.

  9. I agree. Vote with your pocketbook. Talk to your local grocer to effect change. While waiting for those changes buy from a local food coop. You may be fortunate enough to live near a food coop where you can get local healthy organic non-gmo products. Here is a national listing – http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm
    If they don’t have what you are looking for they may be willing to order it.

  10. Hi Foodbabe,
    Thank you for sharing. This brings up a good point, as I do not drive and therefore take a fifteen minute bus ride to Trader Joe’s instead of walking to Vons (Safeway) across the street. I will mention this to them. However, as for your email context, I do think we should be growing as much food as possible and being the vegetarian that I am, I’m trying to develop a system where I can someday do that via indoor growing. Many non-GMO crops have to be imported because similar to organic grass-fed meat, domestic supply is not enough to meet the growing demand. In that case, I believe self-growing is the best way to fix the issue. I’ll keep trying until I have a system down, no matter what the FDA or USDA tries to do to me.

  11. Several years ago, I complained to a manager at Publix (Jacksonville, FL) that their organic canned beans had way too much salt. A year later they totally changed the formula to low salt. Hooray! Don’t know if I played a part in the decision, but it couldn’t hurt to tell them.

  12. How wonderful! I had just returned from Winn Dixie where I showed the manager some different brands of Kombucha and explained a bit about what it contains and how beneficial it is to drink. He wrote it down and we shall see. Then I sat down to review my e-mail and there you were! Your article has renewed my passion to see our only grocery store evolve, along with us! It is good to be friendly and forthright with others, and it always stands us in good stead! This ‘shift’ we are going through is really starting to bring show us how simple and joyful these changes can be! Thanks again for what you do!

  13. YES! I have done that. When I could no longer travel long distances to go to the health food I requested the local grocery store to bring in Ezekiel bread.

    And by GEORGE they did! Now they bring in plenty and I have an ample supply. This is the ONLY bread you should be eating.

    But remember, if they bring it in you should follow-up your commitment!

    I did ask them to bring in Safflower Mayo but they quit saying nobody was buying. Well, that because I was buying, the only guy and if you left it long enough it would have been consistent.

    Now I have to mail order it. Will not eat soy oil mayo as it castrate men.

  14. I’m very lucky. My grocery chain, Demoulas Market Basket of New England, carries many organic items and also buys quite a bit of produce in season from local farms, all at great prices. All department managers are very receptive to hearing about products a customer wants to see in stock.

    I’ve purchased items to try, loved them, but often find them as cancelled because they are not selling well enough. Hopefully that will change and healthier foods will become the norm.

  15. Good evening all. . . I agree with Food Babe on opening the doors of communication and asking questions and promoting Organics. It is good to see that across the boards, people are waking up and demanding to know what’s in our//their food. I just communicated with a senator in DC that agrees with labeling nationwide GMO ingredients. There apparently are politicians in DC that want to see this happen and have been fighting for it to happen. They need our support!!. Perhaps everyone should//could and would step up and WRITE your senators/congressman/congresswoman and let them know that you are supporting labeling and killing the Dark Act. .. With a concerted effort we collectively can make it ‘The Dead Dark Act.’The wave is getting bigger with each passing day. Keep up the good fight!!! After all, a real democracy is about the people and not private gain at the expense of the nation.
    jpakdc
    p.s. Nobody makes an apple like Him!!

  16. In our area, here in California, grocery stores are a mix of local outlets and national chains. The local grocery stores have a variety of food being grown and processed by local farmers and producers in this area. The national chains are steeped in mass produced products. As you and others bring about awareness, I notice our local grocery stores swelling with new customers changing their shopping habits.

    I would suppose it won’t be long before the national chains begin to see the light and change their strategy and marketing by putting natural food on their shelves.

    xo
    -Manny

  17. Hi, when will there be The food babe way in swedish? Thanks for the passion in your work! Hans-Olof

  18. Watch those canned organic beans and tomatoes, my favorite store in my town is Harris Teeters and they’ve put in lots of organic foods. BUT the Harris Teeter brand organic canned foods are in BPA lined cans. I called corporate customer service and told them that tho I really appreciated all they were doing with organics that there was no way I would buy their organic canned foods. Because they have their own brand they have discontinued Muir Glen. So I drive an hour to shop at WF for those pantry staples. And I told that to the HT customer service person too. Hope others will call as well.

  19. Great article, and while the letter won’t work outside the US (brand names, eh?), the gist of the letter will work anywhere. I have been making a concerted effort to only buy items from UK supermarkets (like Sainsbury’s and Morrisons) that are labeled organic and/or grass-fed. If we only buy those products and leave the rest on the shelves, these markets will soon get the message! If I need something that they don’t have in an organic form, I just don’t buy it from them! And if we all did this, the garbage foods would sit rotting on the shelves and they would have to dispose of them. One more thing, I really like the idea of taking back unopened product, but unless you can prove you bought it from that particular store, I’m not sure they would take it. Also, an unintended side effect, even if they did take it back, is that they might then donate it to a charity. If I won’t eat it, I don’t want to put it into anyone else’s food chain either! I’d rather destroy it than give it to someone else to ruin their health, and I think that’s where it might end up if I took it back to the store. Instead, as I’ve been learning more and more about real food, I’ve simply been replacing those items I ususally buy with their more healthy equivalents. I have very little left in my pantry now that isn’t a real food. Thank you, Food Babe, for educating all of us and keeping up the good fight! -Mrs_MG [An American in Derbyshire, UK]

  20. I hate to be a Debby Downer, but I worry what is going to happen with The Trans-Pacific Trade and DARK initiatives?

  21. Very good idea to avoid foods with chemical additives. These of course must include ground beef (ammonia) and beef with antibiotics. Cancer society says eating meat is as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos. Isn’t it time we removed meat from our diet and avoided the torture and killing of sentient beings. We think it is disgusting when we hear that people in China eat dogs and cats or that Europeans eat horsemeat. Eating any animal is just as bad. Pigs are as intelligent as dogs. I would be very interested to see a vegetarian book from Vani Hari. For more information on Mercy for Animals, see the Edgar’s Mission’s site on Facebook.

  22. This is SO TRUE. IT can make all the difference. I am currently reading Ditching the Drive Thru by J Natalie Winch and she talks about fresh food options, she even goes into how to find farm fresh foods which are the best options. It’s a fantastic book, I recommend it to everyone. It’s very good, her site is http://spikehornpress.com/product/ditching-the-drive-thru/ best book on this I have read in a while!

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