Where to Buy Real Food

Cheap fruit and veg

One of the common problems people have when switching to a real foods or organic lifestyle is that it costs so much more. That can be true if you continue to buy everything at the supermarket, where organic food is horribly expensive. However, luckily there are many different options for buying real food. Here are the ones I use:

Markets. Whether you go to the normal market or the farmers market, fruit and veggies will generally be cheaper than their equivalent at the supermarket. Sometimes you can even get organic fruit and veggies for cheaper than the non-organic supermarket versions. In Brisbane I like going to the Northey St organic markets for organic fruit and veg and the Rocklea markets for non-organic.

Aldi. Aldi actually has quite a few organic products at reasonable prices. In particular I buy organic butter there for half the price of the big supermarkets, as well as coconut cream, grass-fed meat and bacon. You can read more about what I buy at Aldi here. 

Aldi beef and bacon

Supermarkets. I do still buy some things at the big supermarkets. I buy organic chicken drumsticks (I haven’t found a cheaper price anywhere else), pork shoulders, organic buckwheat (for making porridge) and a few other things.

Fruit and veg shops. I tend to split my shopping for fruit and veg between the organic market (for the dirty dozen and anything else that’s cheap) and a very cheap fruit and veg shop (for the rest). The fruit and veg shop is a bit of a drive from my house, so I tend to stock up on things like onions, garlic, sweet potato, cabbages and pumpkin, which will all keep for a while.

Butchers. For non-organic meat, I’ve found independent butchers have the best prices. At my butcher I can get 4kg packs of lamb cuts for $7.99 a kilo, which is much cheaper than the supermarket.

real food asian supermarket

Indian, Mediterranean and Asian shops. I buy things like spices, dried beans, rice, nuts, olives, buckwheat flour at these shops at much cheaper prices than the supermarkets.

Food Co-ops. I recently joined a local food co-op and have just put in my first order for coconut flakes, cacao powder, tahini, almonds, Himalayan salt, coconut oil and dried bananas. Everything is organic, but the prices are much cheaper than the non-organic at the supermarket because I’m buying in bulk. I’ll do another post about this once I’ve got my order.

Health food stores. Although they are usually expensive, you can occasionally get good deals at health food stores. Flannerys stores here in Queensland have a Super Saturday every month, where certain products are half price. I am on their mailing list, so I get an email with all of the deals. If there’s a good deal, I will often stock up, like I did on coconut oil back in July.

Obviously I don’t go to all of these shops every week. My Aldi, fruit and veg shop and butcher are all located in the same place, so I go out there and stock up about once a month. Then I probably go to the market and the supermarket once a month, and all the rest once every few months.

Where do you buy your real food?

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Comments

  1. I don’t think my Aldi’s has nearly the organic selection that yours does, but it’s improving. Not all of our food is organic but we garden so much of our produce is, and we also visit the farm market (we live in an agricultural area and I love the taste of fresh versus supermarket fare!).

    • Mine has a lot of dairy products and some meat but no organic fruit and veg. It’s interesting how Aldis vary in different countries, or even different states. Alcohol is not allowed to be sold in supermarkets in my state, so we have no alcohol at Aldi, whereas in other states they do.

      I forgot to include gardening on my list, but that’s a great way to get fresh fruit and veg 🙂

  2. What doesn’t come from my garden comes from a highway produce stand, for the most part. Supermarket produce is ridiculously overpriced in our area, sometimes 4 times the amount of what I pay at the produce stand. Even so, supermarkets do have deals on loss leader items, where the price on seasonal produce can be quite good.

    For organics, we don’t have Aldi here, but do have Trader Joe’s. Their regular items are often organic. Like their brand soymilk, only comes in organic, same with their tofu. In dried fruit and nuts, they offer both organic and non-organic, often with just a slight increase in price for the organic.

    For basics like dried beans and grains, our restaurant supply carries a wide variety, including gluten-free grains, and bean flours.

    Each area seems to have some sort of shop or two for finding whole foods, at a savings over supermarket offerings. It just takes some looking around.

    • You’re right, it does just take some looking around, although it is getting easier with the internet. After three and a half years in Brisbane, I finally feel like I know where to shop for food and also op shops (thrift stores).

      I wish I lived somewhere with produce stands. I used to buy stuff at them going to and coming from fieldwork and they always had great prices.

  3. As you have given examples of, you have to know what’s available in your area. I buy beef from a local farm and vegetables from Aldis and local gardens. I do consider organic foods, but even more importantly, I consider just working more fruit and vegetables into our diet. The carnivores in our family would eat very few of them if left to their own devices.

    • It’s definitely better to get fruit and veg, even if it’s not organic. More than half of what I eat is not organic, but it’s still better than not eating it at all. That’s great that you can buy veggies from local gardens. I’ve looked into buying local beef and lamb, but you have to buy half a lamb or 1/4 of a cow, and that’s too much for me on my own!

  4. I buy most of my fresh produce at the markets if I can, and a few other things at supermarkets (I have a liking for Aldi, too). Then maybe bits and pieces at other shops. I’m curious about food co-ops – should find out if there’s one around my area.

    • It took me a while to find this food co-op (I think I ended up finding it through facebook). I will definitely do a post about how it works once I get my order. They had a whole lot of things on offer, mostly organic, for very reasonable prices, but mostly in 5kg lots.

      • Anonymous says:

        We have a co op coming and am considering joining, but we do a lot of shopping at Aldi’s. I am wondering now, what is your experience Aldi vs co-op and is it worth the membership fee. There is just the two of us, and we have farm markets, so wondering about the co-op on the cost vs benefit side.

  5. Love these! Another idea is to check shops – when I used to work at a pizza shop, you could buy our pizza sauce or dough (both made on site from scratch) for $1. Super cheap! 🙂

  6. Thanks for this list, Liz. Ever since your “Dirty Dozen” link I’ve been slowly trying to source affordable, local organic products. Our ALDI has a surprising amount now. The IGA does, too (but it’s expensive.) I’ll check out some of the other suggestions in this list.

    • You’re welcome 🙂 My local supermarket is an IGA and it’s expensive too (catering to all those hipster uni students!). I was really surprised at Aldi as well, I just wish they would start selling organic eggs because they are pricey!

  7. Ashland Food Co-op in Oregon has something called BASIC PRICING. The top 200 bestselling products in the store are sold almost at cost. Which means that our organic fair-trade food is CHEAPER than conventional supermarket produce. I’m always shocked when I go to one of the grocery stores in our town and see how much they are marking up the organic food. No wonder people feel they can’t afford it. Shop at the Ashland Food Co-op!

    • Thanks for stopping by Jennifer 🙂 That co-op sounds amazing, I wish we had something like that here! Organic food is quite expensive in the supermarkets here too, so you have to think outside the box to get it for a reasonable price!

  8. Same Tale says:

    there’s local organic co-op for the Redlands QLD – wholesale price veg and fruit, dry goods and meat

    veggietalesorganicco.op@gmail.com

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/851516541566306/

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