Grocery Choices Matter

fair-trade-bananas

We know there are more options than ever before when it comes to deciding where to spend your grocery dollars. But there is one place that is uniquely different: your Co-op. Yes, YOUR Co-op – you own it!

We’re frequently asked: “Why should I shop at New Pi?” or “Why would I pay more?” Those are questions we love to answer. We enjoy seeing the “a-hah…” moment on peoples’ faces!

Why should I pay more to shop at the Co-op?

The easy and truthful answer is: you are not paying more. When you truly compare apples to apples –

or organic milk to organic milk – New Pi’s prices are the same or less. We do our own price audits with our competitors to make sure.

To compare an organic gallon of milk to a conventional gallon of milk would not be a fair or accurate comparison, since they are not the same product, but we’re often put up to that unfair comparison. When you buy that gallon of organic milk, you’re buying milk free of rBGH growth hormones, from an animal that is humanly raised and organically fed (no GMO feed). Conventional (cheap milk) is the exact opposite – the animals are confined, likely never feeling the warmth of the sunshine on their backs, they are fed growth hormones to produce greater yields and antibiotics in their everyday feed to counter their unhealthy living conditions, and they’re fed GMO grain. These are not ingredients I want to put into my body and certainly not my childrens’ bodies.

Many stores claim to be some variation on “your local neighborhood grocery.” They’ll also claim they support local farmers, or claim they have humanely raised meats or 100% sustainable seafood. But for many, those claims are simply green washing.

How are we more of “your neighborhood grocery” than anywhere else?

Let’s start with the fact that you are an owner of New Pioneer Food Co-op. You all OWN IT!! Our community owns 100% of this business – and any community member who wants a voice in this democratically-controlled grocery can buy a Co-op share and provide direction in what we become! Every owner has equal say – an equal vote. Over 35,000 people believe so strongly in our mission (see our mission statement inside the front cover), they’ve invested $60 to buy a lifetime share in the business and ensure they have a community-controlled grocery to shop. These equity shares are invested in the business to allow us to make capital improvements. This is how co-ops work. And because it is a share in the business, anyone can sell their share back to the company and receive their $60 back.

How do we support our neighbors better than anywhere else?

New Pi partners with over 130 LOCAL farmers and producers (and by “local,” we mean the state of Iowa or within 250 miles of our stores, not South Dakota or Ohio) – as honest partners. We work with them year-round, and our local produce is from many of the same growers you see at the farmer’s market – and at the same prices. We make sure our growers and producers are paid fairly for their work, at prices they help set.

We give their products preferred placement on our shelves, and put local producer profiles on their products (not on products that look like theirs but are actually from California, like our competitors have been known to do!) to push local products over others. To further encourage purchases of local items we give New Pi owners a 5% discount on many local items, every day!

Local producers rely on us to sell their products and when our sales falter, so do theirs. Turn to p. 14 for the inside story. Our local producers are feeling the same hurt that we are from the competition. For many, their products are not in the other stores – or not featured as prominently in the other stores – and when consumers shop for similar products elsewhere, the local growers ultimately take the hit. Some have been asking us how they can help, as they’re seeing their sales decline.

More important differences:

Our product selection is focused on local and organic. We care how the earth is treated in the production and development of food. We hold our products to high standards, and standards matter!

Our meat is all humanely raised (ALL – not “most,” or “some”), with no antibiotics or growth hormones, ever!

100% of our seafood case is sustainable – 3rd-party certified sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium – the highest standard for 3rd party seafood certification. Similar claims made by other groceries don’t usually hold true. Some grocers self-certify the sustainability of their goods – which aren’t typically as high of standards as 3rd party certifiers hold. Don’t believe everything you are told; ask questions! Ask us!

Yes, our ribeyes and salmon are going to cost more. Why? Because they are higher quality, plain and simple.

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