Grocery Shopping Secrets

I’m always on the look out for more vegan products in convenient locations, “regular” grocery stores, and for the best price possible.

Here are a few secrets I’ve learned along the way:

1. Buy in bulk.  I make a big order for baking goods, granola, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, algae powder, and snacks about every 5 months from  Their shipping cost is always $10, so I make sure to order a whole bunch of whatever I need at once.  They stock everything Whole Foods and Sprouts carry, and much more, and at a vastly cheaper price.
2.  Don’t rely on “specialty” stores to stock your fridge and pantry.  While I love Whole Foods, their products are often marked up, and their produce is totally out of my budget.  I tend to go to Whole Foods only for things like Primal Strips, Upton’s Naturals Seitan, and 365 Quick-Dissolve Soy Protein Powder.  
Kroger has become by far my favorite grocery store.  Most Krogers have an entire section devoted to “natural” foods, and it usually backs up to the produce section.  Kroger stocks LightLife, Toffuti, Daiya, Blue Diamond, Silk, Quorn, Amy’s, Van’s Naturals, Dr. McDougall’s, Boca, and Gardein brands.  They frequently have sales and often mark down products drastically, especially at smaller stores near less “cosmopolitan” areas.

Kroger also stocks  their own organic brand of canned foods, and they are under $1 per can.  Kroger offers all kinds of organic beans, peas, corn, and tomatoes.  Check out their frozen section for veggies under $1. You’ll also find tofu, tempeh, seitan, hummus, and dairy-free ice cream.

Larger Krogers offer a wide variety of conventional and organic produce, and I often find unusual items like dragonfruit, purple kale, Thai eggplant, cactus, parsnips, leeks, and fennel bulb there.  

3. Shop at farmers’ markets and co-ops for produce.  Sprouts is an excellent place for produce, but nearly every town has a farmers’ market on the weekend, and many cites like Arlington and Bedford have permanent stores that are always open.  Check out Bountiful Baskets and search for CSAs on the web to find more locally-sourced produce.  If you aren’t vegan or live with non-vegans, farmers’ markets are also a great way to get in touch with sustainable and ethical farmers who supply dairy, eggs, and meat.
4. Use inexpensive, eco-friendly recycled paper products.  You can usually find recycled toilet paper and paper towels at Tom Thumb and Walgreen’s for a very low price.  
5.  Shop for supplements online.  The Vitamin Shoppe stocks tons of vegan supplements, and has a wider variety than any store I’ve come across.  
6.  Jump on deals.  Spencer’s Market and Vegan Cuts are great ways to save money and learn about new vegan products.  I discovered my favorite vegan cheese this way!
7.  Don’t buy sprouts.  For about $20, you can get your own Easy Sprouter and a huge bag of sproutable seeds and legumes.  A pint of alfalfa sprouts alone can be $5, and sprouts are often recalled for possible salmonella contamination.
8.  Don’t turn your nose up at a product just because it’s not marketed as “vegan” or “natural.”  There are dozens of whole foods products out there that aren’t geared toward the “specialty” market.   Read labels.  Read the hell out of labels, and you’ll find dozens of ways to save.

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