Organic grocery stores are no better than mainstream

Over the past few years there has been a rise in the amount of healthy grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, that have been popping up in urban areas. Most of these stores’ shoppers are loyal to the stores, alleging that the mainstream stores such as H-E-B do not carry healthy options. The foods sold there are too pasteurized, too processed. While healthy stores do have their benefits, mainstream grocery stores offer more variety and sell their items at more affordable prices.

H-E-B, Kroger and Trader Joe’s offer more variety. On top of stocking many of the brands sold at Whole Foods and Sprouts, they sell regular foods that most shoppers will want, such as lunchbox-sized bags of chips sold in bulk for parents buy for their children’s lunches. Whole Foods does not carry these convenient products.

Stores such as Sprouts and Whole Foods sell items at much higher prices than do Kroger and H-E-B. An apple at Whole Foods can cost nearly $2 more than one sold at H-E-B. Trader Joe’s is also known for stocking items that are also sold at Whole Foods but which are priced even cheaper than H-E-B. It’s difficult for the average shopper to afford these healthy chains, and expecting the general public to be able to shop at these places comes off as obnoxious.

A qualm raised by many who favor Whole Foods, Sprouts and other health-food stores is that mainstream chains do not stock healthy foods. However, H-E-B and Kroger do often stock organic foods at much cheaper prices than are sold at health stores. Maybe these products aren’t organic to the desired extent, but they are healthy enough. These stores also stock the same gluten-free items, energy bars and drinks, and protein snacks. On top of this, more and more mainstream stores are adding nutrition sections to appeal to the healthier-eating populace.

Eating healthier food is a good thing, but claiming to shop exclusively at “healthy” stores is ultimately just the latest trend. In the world of groceries, sporting a Whole Foods paper bag is like wearing a purse with the designer label large enough for everybody to see, but the reality is that the stores are overpriced for no reason and that the same-quality foods are available at mainstream chains.