A real food co-op just like the one we used to know. One where most of the work is done by working members. One where most of the produce is local. One where you can’t select from over 100 varieties of wine or countless designer beers. One where most of the food is nitty-gritty real food, affordable by ordinary people, not high end gourmet stuff.
What we have now is indistinguishable from a Whole Foods Market or a Trader Joes, except our prices are a little higher.
I’ve been a member of the Co-op since the days on Flat Street. As I’ve watched the “devolution”, I’ve watched the prices go up.
I have decided today that I can no longer afford to shop there.
I don’t cook very much at home. I live alone, and cleaning up after cooking is an unpleasant chore. As a result, I buy a lot of Deli items.
Over the last year or so, I’ve watched the price go up from $5.95 a pound for simple salad items (like edamame and corn, couscous and raisins, or wheatberry salad. etc.) to $7.95. Today I noticed the price is creeping
up to $8.95.
Price Chopper is not an option. Their Deli section sucks. The prices are cheaper (muchly so), but the selection is poor, mostly confined to potato salad-like stuff and tuna fish (what the poor folks buy).
Hannaford is a little better. They have pre-packaged stuff like Orzo-Artichoke Salad and “Cowboy Caviar” (a mix of beans and vegetables) for $4.99. On the high end they offer “Fresh Kale Superfood Salad” for $6.99
I also like fresh fruit, especially bananas and berries. Here, Aldi has it all over anybody else – hands down. The prices change all the time, but blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries (Driscoll’s) are usually in the $2.00 range. Grapes $2.95 (but you get 2 pounds). Bananas are 39¢. Organic bananas are 69¢.
I regularly buy Kefir from Aldi. As long as you’re satisfied with only blueberry or strawberry flavor, they’re $2.49, Sometimes they have other flavors for $2.69. At the Co-op, they range from $3.49 to over $4.00.
I regret this. I love co-ops and the whole co-operative movement. I wish our Co-op could be competitive, but the “nut” they have to crack in order to pay off the new building prohibits this. I predict that increasingly rising prices will create a downward “death spiral” and they will have to sell out to Whole Foods. At least the prices will go down.