Grocery shopping is one of the inevitable tasks everyone has to complete. I find myself buying groceries once a week and each visit I find myself dreading the store more and more. Every time I go to the store there’s an abundance of people, I can never find what I’m looking for, and more than likely I’m pushing around the jankiest cart the store has. Strangely, though, for someone who hates grocery shopping as much as I do, I’m obsessive about the process.
Before I’ve even left to go to the store, I have searched ads and websites for the best deals that week. This week it happened to be Hy-Vee because I only needed a few things and there were really good gas points on the items I needed. I’m normally a strict Aldi buyer, especially when I’m in the market for meat and produce, but Hy-Vee was a quick stop after work and I could save myself fifteen cents a gallon with my purchases.As soon as I walked through the doors of Hy-Vee I was quickly greeted by a sign stating, “Today we have 116 fresh, organic produce items.” Being someone who grew up on a farm and has always eaten conventionally raised vegetables out of my dad’s garden, I have never been concerned about eating organic. If the food has been properly inspected and is on the store’s shelves then I know, regardless of organic, conventional, GMO, or non-GMO, that my food is safe; I trust the USDA.
I perused the produce section for a bag of salad mix and was quickly astonished by the range of prices. The salad I bought was 2 bags for $4, and with a coupon were only 99 cents a bag, but right next to them were the organic greens ranging from $3 to $8 a container. In the fresh produce section, conventional baby carrots were priced at $2.74 and cucumbers were 79 cents apiece, but if you wanted organic vegetables you had to pay $3.49 for the baby carrots and $2.50 for one cucumber. The price difference was even steeper in the meat department, and I was not about to pay $10 for a pound of anything.
What infuriated me the most though was when I walked by the popcorn selection. A regular 12 pack box of Orville Redenbacher popcorn was $3.48, but just two rows below was a 3 pack box of Black Jewell natural, non-GMO verified popcorn for $3.99. I was appalled that this popcorn had a Non-GMO Verified Project label on the front of the box because no form of popcorn is genetically modified. The only varieties of corn on the market that can be genetically modified are field and sweet corn, so why is this company, and many others, misleading consumers with this label? As a consumer, if you are spending extra money for non-GMO products because you believe they are safer (even though there is zero proof non-GMO is safer or healthier for you), be aware that there are only nine genetically modified products on the market, which you can learn more about from GMO Answers.
All throughout the store, I kept finding huge differences in prices. There is an entire section in Hy-Vee dedicated to healthier choices, and almost every product on those shelves contained an organic or Non-GMO verification label. Eating organic and non-GMO products does not constitute as a healthier meal; there is zero evidence stating it is healthier yet there is an abundance of evidence that GMO products are safe. As consumers, we should be aware of what we are buying and stop paying more for scare tactic marketing.
Illinois State University