Shopping » Some Salt Lake valley shoppers say buying food at co-ops helps them save money and help others.
What’s available » All the fruits and vegetables at the co-op are organic, purchased through the same suppliers who sell to Whole Foods and Sprouts, Zel-Pappas said. Eggs, milk, poultry and grass-fed beef that are either organic or locally-produced are available, along with yogurt, tea, honey, granola, peanut butter, sauces, chips, crackers, tortillas, dried food, olive oil, coconut oil and hummus. The store also offers products for those who eat vegan or gluten-free diets.
Shop » Just like a regular grocery store, the public can shop at the co-op during regular business hours (See below). Customers who want to ensure that they get organic produce every week can pre-order either online or in person a special produce baskets, priced between $12 and $26.50. The largest basket contains about a week’s worth of fruits and vegetables. Baskets can be picked up during regular business hours.
Giving back » After paying rent and utilities — there’s no payroll — all the profits are donated to a different Utah charity each month. The co-op also offers people with special needs job training through volunteering.
Director comments » The mark-up on items ranges from 5 to 25 cents above cost, Zel-Pappas said. That saves shoppers "25 to 90 percent" over grocery store prices. "Because it’s affordable, people can make healthy choices and still be on a budget," she said.
Shoppers say » Since Ashley Palmer and her husband started buying the weekly produce basket, "we’ve cut our grocery bill in half and we weren’t even buying all organic before." The Midvale resident said the produce is always fresh and the basket offers a good variety. "It’s more than enough for me and my husband."
Adds regular shopper Barbara Koppang: "When you can eat good healthy food, even when you are poor, it helps bring you up. You have more energy and your family doesn’t get sick as easy." Koppang, of Murray, also likes that her money goes to charity. "It doesn’t just help me, it helps someone else."
Requirements » There are no requirements to shop at the Utah Co-op, Zel Pappas said. "But if you fall in love with the co-op, we ask that you tell at least two people a year about it.
Online » utahcoop.org