Monday, June 22, 2009

Single Dad Grocery Shops

This past Saturday I met Brian, an entrepreneur and single dad of two young boys, for a shopping trip around Whole Foods.

Like lots of people, he feels "whole paycheck" is an apt nickname for WFs.

In other words, he thinks it's too expensive for the budget-conscious, and because of that, he hadn't perused the store and done a cost comparison.

Instead, he just assumed WFs prices would be higher than King Soopers, where he usually shops.

Brian is a self-professed creature-of-habit -- his reason for never having tried grocery shopping at WFs. Plus, he doesn't cook, and he's all about convenience and low cost.

So many of the tips I share on this blog site for saving on groceries and cooking simple-gourmet meals, were not of interest to him.

But he said that he does like to eat nutritious food, hence his love of the Zone-Diet, and he said he is trying to be conscious about the food he eats-- whether it's organic or conventional -- and the food he feeds his boys, who spend three alternate nights a week with him.

After hearing about his desire to eat healthily, I was a bit concerned to learn that Brian will sometimes drink three, fruit soy milk, & protein-powder smoothies a day rather than cook a meal.

That seems like a lot of cold, raw food to me. However, smoothies are convenient food because they're easy to make, easy to eat, and you can pack a lot of nutrients into them with supplemented powders.

Brian feeds his boys differently: he'll make them eggs and sausage for breakfast and a ready-made, frozen meal for dinner, or he might grill them fish, bratwurst or hamburger served with cooked, frozen broccoli florets, which the boys love.

With his habits and patterns in mind, I wandered around WFs with Brian, looking at the prices of the food he likes to eat and the food he chooses to buy for his children.

As we stood in produce, he confessed that he didn't buy fresh veggies (I grimaced) and only occasionally fresh fruit, like apples, and then only for the boys who like apples. (I'm sure I grimaced again.)

Then he volunteered that he wants to eat more greens and more organic fruit and veggies. (Maybe he saw me grimace--twice.)

Moving from produce into dairy, he found that WFs 365-brand cage-free eggs and 365-brand soy milk (pic above) are cheaper than King Soopers (he was surprised & pleased).

But WFs frozen fruit was considerably more than KSs where he buys 3, 4lb bags of non-organic frozen fruit for around $8.

In addition to his smoothie for breakfast, he'll sometimes make steel cut oats, which he prepares in bulk in advance, scooping a serving from the prepared batch each morning and adding nut butter and chocolate protein powder.

WFs bulk-aisle organic oats were priced lower than what he's used to paying; he was surprised & pleased.

Remembering that he said he likes to grill fish for the boys and that they especially love salmon, I pointed out WFs, fresh-frozen Whole Catch fish. Because he stressed the convenience of having frozen foods on hand, for when the boys are with him, I thought the Whole Catch option would work for him. And it did! He liked the price: $8.99 for 2, 6oz fillets.

Considering the convenience factor, I pointed out that he could buy any fresh fish and have it skinned, marinated and steamed while he waited -- a service WFs offers at no extra price. I could see I'd alerted him to a service he'll probably take advantage of at some point in the future.

Because fish is something he likes, his boys like and something he will cook and eat with his boys, I also introduced him to WFs 365-brand tinned tuna and salmon. He couldn't get over the great price on the tinned salmon. He bought several tins, saying he could cook up eggs and tinned salmon for a new a different breakfast for the boys, and for himself.

As we finished up, he commented that his egg and fish purchases were about to increase, and that except for their price on frozen fruit, WFs prices were competitive to the extent that he would change his pattern and shop at WFs maybe twice a week, and King Soopers once a month for his frozen fruit.

Tomorrow, I'll post some meal ideas for single dads, who like Brian, are short on time, big on convenience and not that comfortable in the kitchen, but adept tossing a burger on the barby.

1 comment:

JulieAnnStorr said...

Good one Louise! I have witnessed Brian's dietary habits at the office (as a colleague) so I know what you were dealing with!

As a busy entrepreneur and single dad, convenience and low prices are top priority for Brian, so it was great for me to read (and hear first hand from him) how his shopping trip with you to Whole Foods changed the way he thinks about shopping for and preparing healthy meals for him and the boys.

Thanks for all your great tips and upfront, honest's changed the way I shop and cook too and now I only go to Whole Foods.