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Using a community co-op to help shrink your grocery bill

By Jed Boal | Posted - Feb. 28, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utahns are spending more to feed their families, and looking for ways to save. Word is spreading about The Community Food Co-op of Utah as a new way to cut your food bill.

Liz Dale is always looking for a deal, and recently heard about the Community Food Co-op of Utah.

"I think it looks delicious," she said. "It looks great, and it's a great price."

Fresh produce, meats, bread, honey, coffee, but no dairy; the co-op buys directly from local farmers and suppliers whenever possible to get the best deals.

So, how much did Dale save? "At least $5 on the produce alone -- more on the rest of this stuff," she said.

"Initially, our prices are 30 percent to 50 percent less than the grocery store," said George Neckel, director of the Community Food Co-op.

The Consumer Price Index for all food rose 0.8 percent last year -- the slowest rate for food inflation since 1962. But this year the Department of Agriculture predicts a 3 percent to 4 percent increase.

"It's something that everyone's concerned about," said co-op shopper Kristianne Sandoval.

You'll still need to go to a store to buy your diapers, dog food and cleaning supplies. But co-op shoppers said they find just about everything they needed for their food list.

"I came for the fruits and vegetables, and then I saw the grass-fed beef, so I got some of that," said co-op shopper Amy Jordan.

"I think everybody wants to feed their family good, healthy food. The only reason that not everyone can is because they can't afford to do it," Sandoval said.

The co-op is a food security project of Crossroads Urban Center. The Monday Market grew out of a monthly food distribution program.

"The more people who participate and buy from the community food co-op, the larger our orders are and the more leverage we have to get better prices," Neckel said.

The co-op operates in a warehouse on 700 West and 1700 South. The Monday Market goes from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each week. Because the co-op is non-profit, you don't pay any food tax.


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Jed Boal


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