Friday, March 5, 2010

Speak Up. They're Listening.

So, recently, I sounded off in a post here about my frustration with Safeway over a telephone survey I participated in, purportedly to improve my local store. I was so annoyed after the survey that I fired off an email to Safeway with my list of suggestions, none of which were covered by the survey. Among my complaints were things such as not being able to buy fresh, wild-caught salmon and the unavailability of unprocessed staples like beans and rice in bulk, or at least in sizes larger than a single meal. I complained that while regular milk got several cases that were always full, organic milk got only one case that was always near empty. And I mentioned that it would be nice to have the option of buying the "most sprayed" produce items in organic instead. In addition, I told them that my family tries to eat a "real foods" diet and that we have some food sensitivity issues that make buying groceries challenging in a store filled with processed foods.

This morning, I went to my local Safeway. The produce section is right by the entrance, so I always start there. The produce section at this store generally looks pretty good. But when I got to the little organics section in the middle, I was surprised to see it fully stocked. Usually it looks pretty picked over, with the middle pretty much empty.

Now, there are lots of aisles I generally skip and today was no exception. But there were still a bunch of changes that jumped out at me. In all the aisles I shopped, organic products were front and center. In some cases, the selection of organic products had increased. I brought home a couple new things to try and I'm so thankful they were available. I was stunned, however, in the aisle where I used to frown at the puny bags of dry beans. Not only are the dry beans now available in larger quantities, but also in a much wider variety! (Rice too, I think, although I was so amazed by the bean selection that I sort of drooled over them until it became awkward and then I scurried away to finish my shopping.)

For the first time that I can recall, I was able to buy fresh, wild-caught salmon in exactly the amount I needed. And while I didn't need milk today, I did notice that the organic milk case was fully stocked.

I can't claim that my one little email brought about these changes at my local store. And it probably didn't hurt that CNN linked to my blog a week after I posted my rant. But people, somebody is listening. So when you can't find real foods to feed your family at your local store, fire off an email and let them know. Post about it on your blog because these corporations employ software that pours through social media searching for what people are saying about them. I know they do because they trolled my blog after my rant.

Speak up. They're listening.

This post is a part of Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade.


  1. That's great! I rarely shop at Safeway anymore and when I do go in find that most of my list is unavailable. The only organic milk they carry is ultra-pasturized. It's wonderful that changes are happening at your local store. Maybe it will become widespread.

  2. Marcella, I have been taking my family on a pretty fast conversion away from processed and toward real foods. But I recognize that most people would likely make a slower transition. While I have started buying more of my food from places other than the grocery store, I still think that any move in the right direction by grocery stores is better overall than if they didn't make any changes at all because it allows people transitioning at a different pace to have options in front of them. And for the rest of us, it would be convenient in a pinch to be able to go into the grocery store and have a decent selection of things we'd be willing to eat. (I know, I long is she going to fixate on the grocery store, right?!)

  3. Awesome! Glad to see some positive changes! I consider myself very lucky with regards to organic shopping options. I get home delivery from Peapod, and they carry a full line of organics. I'm also a mile away from Jewel, which does an impressive job (though I have trouble finding organic meats there), and even my local Walmart carries organic dairy and cereals. The stores can't know what we want if we don't tell them! Glad to hear you've had some success with Safeway! I hope they make the changes nationwide!

  4. I'm just getting caught up on my blog reading and found this whole adventure very interesting! Good for you for following through with Safeway. Do you have a food buying club or cooperative near you? There are a few online lists to check, Food Coops & Resources, Green People, or Coop Directory Service. You might be able to find one somewhere near you and get real foods at better prices.

  5. Shelly, You are fortunate! It seems like some areas have a lot to choose from while other areas just don't. Hopefully that's changing.

    Leigh, I have recently joined a buying club that will give me access to pastured meats and poultry at better prices than I have otherwise found. Generally. I've actually been doing a line by line comparison of the items I'm likely to buy and there are a few things that are cheaper to buy where I've been getting them already. But I will check out those resources you posted because there are some things I'm still looking for better sources of and I'm always looking for a better price! Thanks for posting them!

  6. It might depend on the Safeway store, as to whether they stock natural/organic items. We have 2 Safeways nearby, & I have been disapointed because the one I usually go to hasn't had certain things, even things that were advertised. I asked about it, & it turns out it's because they haven't been upgraded or upscaled, they said they other Safeway that recently got a face lift would have those items.

  7. Goldnrod, Thanks for posting this info. I don't think our store has been upgraded, but I'm not sure. I've only been shopping there for two years. It seems kind of sad that only "upscaled" shoppers might have access to natural/organic items. All the more reason for anyone who wants access to them to say so! I suppose Safeway etc assume only high income folks will pay the extra price.