Friday, February 23, 2007

Shopping Comparison: Vitamin Cottage

I stopped at Vitamin Cottage today, trying to get more pricing down for my shopping comparison from as many sources as possible. Here’s the results on my continued organic comparison. . .

A Dozen Organic Eggs. . .
Cyd’s Nest Fresh Cage-free eggs: $2.55
Farmer’s Hen House Cage-free eggs: $2.65
Organic Valley Cage-free eggs: $3.15

A Quart of Organic Milk. . .
Horizon: $3.09 ($4.95 per gallon)
Woodstock Farms: $2.65
Organic Valley: $3.15

Vitamin Cottage also carries the Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable broth I’m always getting. At Target it cost me $2.79 for a quart, and it costs exactly the same here. Boca’s burger items carried at Vitamin Cottage cost $3.69 per box, and $3.89 for their sausages. Quorn veggie chicken nuggets and cutlets were $4.15 per box, but at King Sooper’s they’re $4.69 for cutlets and $4.19 for nuggets. Quorn hot dots are $3.89 at Vitamin Cottage and $4.49 at King Sooper’s.

It gives me great hope to see what types of veggie things I haven’t tried. Makes me feel all adventurous and stuff, like this is definitely a lifestyle solution with long-term potential. I purchased some new veggie foods to try, among them an original tempeh (no flavoring), White Wave baked tofu with teriyaki sauce, and the TVP chunks (the ones you have to reconstitute). I bought more of the Tofurky brand Italian sausage that even George liked for $3.59, which is definitely comparable in price to real Italian sausage and much cheaper than the $4.99 Emeril Lagasse Apple-Chicken Sausage we used to buy regularly. They discontinued the Emeril sausages last year anyway, so I don’t have to miss them.

I found that their pricing on bulk items was super cheap compared to buying prepackaged regular varieties of the same items, and some of the bulk items aren’t even available in regular stores. Here’s an example:

Why Buy Bulk?
Organic Semolina Flour: $1.23/lb at VC (prepacked at other stores it can be up to $4.80 per 2# bag)

Cracked Wheat: 57 cents/lb (not available in regular grocery stores)

Whole Organic Nutmeg: $13.34/lb (just starting to sell at King Sooper’s from Spice Island, 2.2 oz bottle for $9.76). My approx.1/5# bag cost $3.20, and but I’d have had to buy two bottles at KS for $19.52 to get the same amount. Yikes.

Organic Brown Rice Flour: 79 cents/lb (Bob’s Red Mill sells a non-organic, 24oz bag at King Sooper’s for $2.89) It’s $1.19 for the same amount from Vitamin Cottage AND it’s organic.

Chai tea in bulk was $1.78 for a heaping half cup (about 1/5 of a pound), but it takes only a teaspoon per cup of tea. The chunk I have should last me at least two weeks, though I will have to brew the traditional way rather than my lazy microwave method as it needs serious straining. I’m going to invest in a good teapot on my next trip to Target. One of those nice red ones, I think.

This trip to Vitamin Cottage showed me that it’s actually cost-effective to buy things like organic flours and snacks in bulk. I’ll be back for that stuff, while I continue my organic cost comparison in other neighborhood haunts.

Next up: Whole Foods (the company that’s also absorbing Wild Oats, saving me a trip there).

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