Is buying organic still the right thing to do if you have it delivered to your door by a truck, packed in a cardboard box, surrounded by paper?
I would venture to say no. But Groupon was offering a $25 for $50 worth of food deal at OrganicDirect a couple weeks ago so I jumped on it. I mean, thats $25 of free food!
One thing I’ve found with Groupon, is that the businesses usually are unprepared for the onslaught of thousands of new customers. Like Bikram Yoga, OrganicDirect seems to be struggling.
I placed an order a week and a half ago on Wednesday, but couldn’t book delivery until the following Monday. That was ok – I was just getting my staples and wasn’t planning on cooking a special meal.
They had a pretty good selection and I found everything I wanted. Though the range of brands was limited, I didn’t mind. (Did you know that people are actually happier with fewer choices?)
When my food was delivered, at 11:30 at night, I was missing my yogurt. Two days later, before I had a chance in inquire, they sent an email out saying that due to high volume some things were back-ordered. I would have to spend another $50 to get those items included in my next order. Sweet.
Anyway, the food was all good. It was basic organic brands that you can find anywhere: Cascade, Arrowhead, etc. Today I went to Whole Foods to do some serious grocery shopping and checked out the prices of all the stuff I bought from OrganicDirect. I wanted to see if I was paying for convenience.
Here is the price difference between Organic Direct vs. Whole Foods:
Arrowhead crunchy organic peanut butter, 16 oz: $6.09 vs. $5.26
Plain lowfat yogurt, 32 oz: $4.45 vs. $2.99 to $3.50
Organic boneless skinless chicken breast, per pound: $10.59 vs. $13.69
GT’s Kombucha tea: $3.99 vs. $3.39
Organic hummus, 12 oz: $2.99 vs. $2.99
Organic white mushrooms, 8 oz: $3.99 vs. $2.79
Frozen mixed berries, 10 oz: $10.98 vs. $2.49
Frozen raspberries, 10 oz: $5.99 vs. $2.49
That’s a lot of numbers. Let me put it in some context. If I bought these exact items every week from OrganicDirect, assuming that prices don’t fluctuate, I would spend $11.98 more per week. And this was a minimal order. My grocery shopping usually includes a lot more things than that.
Of course, this is just a sample, and not scientific. Notice that the chicken, for one, was more expensive at Whole Foods. But assuming this is a trend, and setting aside environmental concerns, would I be willing to pay at least $12 more per week to have my food delivered? If I were having a hellish week at work and could order food in the morning to have it delivered at night, maybe. But overall I enjoy going to the farmers market when I can, and when I can’t, Whole Foods can be a treat. I can see, though, how this would really help people on a diet or a budget. Whole Foods tends to route you past the chocolate and pastry section when you check out, and its aisles are packed with tasty and adventurous snacks. OrganicDirect could help you avoid the temptation.
I think the break-it factor for me was the packaging. What’s the point of having 25 reusable bags if you get stuff delivered in a cardboard box?
Anyway, I’ll have to order one more time, just to get my damn yogurt.