Monday, March 7, 2011

How You Vote Every Week and May Not Realize It

At the end of the film “Food, Inc.”, we are reminded that every time we as consumers buy food at the grocery store, we are essentially voting with our wallet and choosing the way we want the food industry in our county to go. A perfect example of this reality happened to me this past weekend when I went to wholesale store Costco. I was drawn there by the allure of more affordable new tires for my car. While they worked their magic, I had some time on my hands and wandered around the store.
The last time I shopped at Costco was probably in the 90's with my mom, stocking up on Bagel Bites and Chicken Taquitos . Let me tell you, a lot has changed since those days, and I believe that it has everything to do with customer demand.

Every aisle held surprises as I noticed a startling amount of healthy foods: bags of frozen fish fillets, huge jars of almond butter for $5, bags of steel-cut oats, and organic chicken and beef. The samples we tried (always the best part of a Costco trip) included free-range chicken meatballs, fruit smoothies made in a Vitamix blender, and Organic Tuscan Italian dressing (made with sea salt) on vegetables.

This was a far cry from the Whitecastle frozen mini hamburgers I remember being offered on childhood visits to Costco. While the store may still stock the freezers with Bagel Bites, they are also adding a lot of health-conscious selections. At least where this business is concerned, the voice of the people is being heard and catered to. So never underestimate the power of your vote for organic/local produce and free-range/grass-fed/sustainable meats!

And in case you’re wondering if the Costco hot dogs taste better now than in the past, the answer is sadly: not really. But I had to check just in case, because hey, $1.50 with drink included is hard to turn down. I never learn.

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