MONEY groceries

This Grocery Shopping Habit Could Be Making You Fat

grocery-bag-junk-food
Katrina Wittkamp / Digital Vision

What's good for the environment might be bad for your waistline.

Eco-friendly grocery shoppers beware: Toting a reusable bag to the market can be a diet destroyer, new research finds.

The study, conducted by Harvard and Duke business school professors, suggests that when people do something that feels noble, they’re then subconsciously motivated to seek out a reward—often in the form of junk food.

“Grocery store shoppers who bring their own bags are more likely to purchase organic produce and other healthy food,” write the authors, “but those same shoppers often feel virtuous, because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way. That feeling easily persuades them that, because they are being good to the environment, they should treat themselves to cookies or potato chips or some other product with lots of fat, salt, or sugar.”

This effect seems to be stronger on non-parents than parents, perhaps because people with children are more influenced by what their kids want than what they themselves want, the authors suggest.

Generally speaking, these findings seem to support the classic wisdom that grocery runs are best done with the aid of a shopping list to keep you on track. Other studies have found that shoppers are easily (and intentionally) led to buy extra groceries because of carefully engineered store layouts, among other retail tricks.

And—in any case—there’s some good news: Those lightweight plastic bags at the grocery store might not be as bad for the environment as you thought, after all.

Read More: Here’s How to Save Hundreds on Groceries

This Is America’s Favorite Supermarket

Whole Foods Is Accused of Overcharging Customers Again

MONEY deals

Summer Price Break! 6 Things That Are Actually Cheaper This Summer

Blessedly, bacon and cheese are on the list.

For the most part, consumers are accustomed to seeing prices for a wide range of goods go in only one direction: up, up, and up. Often, this is simply the result of inflation and regular price increases. There are also freak price spikes like the current situation with eggs, which have risen dramatically of late thanks to the bird flu outbreak. And more costly eggs have in turn begun causing price increases everywhere from diners to bakeries.

Thankfully, from time to time consumers get to benefit from the occasional price decrease on goods and services—including some of their favorite treats. Here are a half-dozen things you’ll actually pay less for this summer.

  • Bacon

    Plate of bacon
    Alamy

    While bacon prices aren’t cheap by historical standards, they are significantly cheaper than in the summer of 2014, when they spiked amid low supplies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a pound of bacon as of May 2015 was below $5, compared with $5.50 at the start of 2015 and more than $6 last summer. Overall, bacon prices fell 18% over a 12-month span.

  • Gas

    gas prices
    Elise Amendola—AP

    After surging steadily through much of the spring, gas prices have dipped of late, hitting a national average of $2.77 for a gallon of regular at the start of the week, according to AAA. Drivers in nearly all states are paying at least 75¢ less per gallon compared with a year ago, and AAA estimates that cheap gas prices in 2015 have helped Americans collectively save $65 billion on fuel costs thus far this year.

  • Last-Minute Hotels

    Luxury Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip
    John Kellerman—Alamy The Las Vegas Strip

    Overall, hotel rates in the U.S. are expected to be up 5% to 6% in 2015, and in some cases are up more than 10%. But in certain cities and under specific circumstances, prices can be much cheaper compared with this time last year. Data from the last-minute hotel booking specialist HotelTonight indicates that some Fourth of July weekend rates booked right now are bargains compared with the 2014 holiday. Average rates in Las Vegas are 39% cheaper versus last year, and July 4 hotel prices are also down in destinations such as the Berkshires (down 29%), Tampa (20%), and Williamsburg, Va. (12%).

  • Other Pork Products

    sausages on grill
    Slawomir Purgal—Alamy

    The same rise in the nation’s pork supply that’s caused bacon prices to retreat is lowering prices for pork chops, hot dogs, and the like. The American Farm Bureau Federation recently estimated that the cost of a typical July 4 cookout that feeds 10 people is 3% cheaper than it was a year ago. One of the reasons why this is so is that two of the main dishes—hot dogs and pork spare ribs—are 2% to 4% less expensive than they were in 2014.

  • Airfare

    plane flying over field
    iStock

    At the start of the year, researchers from the likes of Expedia predicted that flight prices would fall in 2015, if for no other reason than airlines would finally have to lower fares in the face of dramatically cheaper fuel prices. And while airfare prices depend on a range of factors—route, timing, demand, etc.—data from the flight search Hopper.com show that overall, domestic flights in the spring and early summer were 8.7% cheaper compared with the same time last year. The site also predicted that the trend will continue through the summer, with the average flight selling for $18 (or about 6%) less than in the summer of 2014.

  • Dairy Products

    Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, Denver, Colorado
    Brennan Linsley—AP

    The USDA reports that national stockpiles of butter, cheese, and milk are all up significantly compared with a year ago, and prices for most dairy products—including yogurt, ice cream, and blocks of cheese—are down as a result. Bear in mind that some of the price decrease is based on how expensive dairy products were for much of last year. Butter consumption, for instance, has been increasing for years, and prices spiked to near record prices last summer through the fall.

MONEY groceries

Why the All-American July 4 Barbecue Is Cheaper This Summer

hot dog on paper plate at July 4 bbq
Lauri Patterson—Getty Images

Costs decrease for a holiday weekend feast.

Feel free to fire up the grill for the Fourth of July weekend. You can afford it.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the cost of a typical summer cookout that feeds 10 people is 3% cheaper than it was a year ago. The total cost of a barbecue feast, including eight burgers, eight hot dogs, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, watermelon, plus drinks, condiments, and buns, comes to $55.84, or a little over $5.50 per person. The estimate is based on price checks at supermarkets in 30 states, and the total cost is lower than it was in 2014, when the same barbecue cost an average of $57.57.

This year’s lower cost comes as a result of decreased prices for many items on the shopping list. The price of ribs, hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, hot dog and hamburger buns, and American cheese all inched lower this year, collectively shaving a couple bucks off the total.

Rising production of pork and dairy products is the main reason that hot dogs, spare ribs, milk, and cheese prices are all on the decline. Bloomberg News noted that wholesale pork prices have dropped 28% over the past year, while milk production in the U.S. hit a record high in May 2015—causing the retail price of American cheese to fall by over 8%.

The same group that does the July 4 cookout estimate also puts together an annual price roundup on the cost of a standard Thanksgiving dinner that’ll feed 10. Interestingly enough, Thanksgiving is cheaper than the barbecue—about $50 versus $55.

While pork and dairy products have gotten cheaper this summer, not all items on the cookout shopping list are less expensive. Ground beef prices are up 2% compared to last year.

Still, thanks to falling pork prices, you might be more willing to splurge with some bacon on your burger. As of May 2015, bacon prices were down 18% year over year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The average price of a pound of bacon was over $6 last summer. It dropped to about $5.50 at the start of 2015, and now it’s down under $5.

MONEY Kids and Money

7 Bad Money Habits You’re Teaching Your Kids

135538286
KidStock—Getty Images

Instant gratification isn't always a good thing.

Nobody’s perfect.

And if you are a parent, you’ve probably seen some of your imperfections in broad relief as your child imitates them. Where did he learn that tone of voice? Did she really just tell the pediatrician her favorite food is french fries?

Kids and teens are watching everything we do, and they pick up on how we manage money. And much as we want them to develop good financial habits, telling them about budgeting and compound interest is unlikely to make up for showing them that we buy on impulse and (hopefully) still manage to keep a roof over our heads. Because we presumably want to do a good job teaching our children healthy attitudes about money, what should we be doing?

Sam X Renick, entrepreneur and financial educator, has some ideas — and he reached out to other financial experts for input as well.

Renick said the overriding goal is to teach kids to be thoughtful about what they do with money. We want them to understand money is one of the tools you use to make dreams come true. What can you do with money? You can save it, invest it, spend it or give it away. And managing money well has the potential to make your life happier and less stressful.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but some parents make it even harder by accidentally modeling the very behaviors we hope our kids will avoid. Here are some of the bad money habits we may be inadvertently passing onto our kids.

1. Shopping without a list.

This is an invitation to waste money — and groceries, and a lot of us don’t need an invitation. It also makes us especially vulnerable to impulse buying. After all, what’s one more item that’s not on the list? For children, especially, it blurs the line between planned purchases and impulse buys. (And lists in general help people stay organized. Teaching children to use lists can help in many areas of life.)

2. Buying on impulse.

We don’t do well at teaching delayed gratification. Advertisers make it even harder. Ever seen an Internet “flash sale” that lasts only a few hours? Or notice the price changes on an item you HAVE been watching. It’s frustrating to see that deliberating a bit might mean paying more. Of course, long term, these “flash sales” will tempt you to buy things you probably don’t need and likely didn’t plan for because you couldn’t stand to miss the killer deal. The Internet and TV work hard to tempt us to buy on impulse. Show your child how advertisers try to manipulate us to make decisions that might not be in our best interests long-term. “Sleep on it” is a great habit to encourage.

3. Teaching entitlement.

Why are we going out to dinner and letting you order anything you want? Because you are a great kid! You… told the truth, got a good grade or got a soccer-participation certificate. Or you didn’t, and now you’re disappointed. Either way, a treat is in order. (Treats are not wrong, by the way. You can explain to your child that treats are in your budget. But the people who are most experienced handling the money and who have the most knowledge of the family’s finances will make the major decisions. Translated, this means the adults pick the restaurant and tell the children which entrees they may choose from or what the price limit is.)

4. Focusing exclusively on the now.

Even if you are putting away money for vacations, if that is invisible to kids, they are not learning about it. “Let’s eat at home and save the difference in what it would cost for vacation,” can help make your intentions clear. You can even save the money in a jar so they can see it. It’s easier to say “we can’t afford it,” because YOU know that you can’t afford both lots of dinners out and a trip to Disney, but your kid may understand only that you can’t afford to go through the drive-thru, rather than that you are consciously choosing to direct your money toward something else — that you are delaying gratification.

5. Speaking in terms of dollars, not percentages.

Renick says it’s important for kids to learn that not only is a nickel worth more than four pennies, it’s worth 20% more. It’s easy not to care about a penny, but 20% seems worth worrying about. And it is. Would they prefer to earn $20 for a chore or just $16? It’s still 20%, and it’s worth saving. “The concept is if you get in the habit of taking care of small details (financial choices) the habit and behavior will carry through to larger financial choices,” Renick said. Go ahead and save where you can — and show your kids that little things add up. (And hopefully, when they are in the workforce, that 401(k) match offered by your kid’s employer will seem too big to pass up.)

6. Giving them “spending money.”

The idea behind this can be smart — hoping they will learn to prioritize. That’s a good goal, certainly. But Renick would suggest giving them money to manage… and rewarding saving if they show some restraint. He gives as an example a child with $100 to spend (or save) at Disneyland. What if you told a child that he or she could KEEP any money not spent at the park? Do you think he or she would care more about getting the most value for the money and would check carefully to see what concessions cost before ordering?

Routinely giving them the money may be a problem as well. Kids can earn money. Renick said his father used to tell him that he could have anything he wanted — as long as he was willing to work for it. Having to work can also help teach the value of money, when you begin to think about whether thing you need or want is really worth the time you’ll spend earning the money to buy it.

7. Indulging in spendy habits, like a daily Starbucks or cigarettes.

Despite what we say, we show them that the gratification today is more valuable to us than the sacrifice involved in putting some of that money in a 401(k) or saving it for a family vacation.

What Should We Be Teaching Them?

Talking to kids about money can feel awkward and difficult, especially if our own parents didn’t tell us much (or overshared, resulting in kids worrying about money).

Tim Hamilton, founder and managing director of FinancialFamilies.com, a fee-only service on Ohio, said it can also be difficult if the parents are not on the same page. “I work with the occasional couple where one spouse was provided for endlessly as a child and the other spouse occasionally, or regularly, went without. . . . At the very least, the couple needs to effectively communicate their perspectives on an ongoing basis,” he said in an email.

On one hand, you don’t want children to become so worried about money that they cannot spend. Another financial educator told Renick that her sibling, who has a high income now, still shops at thrift stores and often wears ill-fitting clothes as a result (not taking those clothes to a tailor, either), because spending is uncomfortable and upsetting. Nor do you want them to not give money a thought — seeing a credit card as a license to spend and failing to budget or save.

So what does a healthy attitude look like? Renick asked financial educator Leslie Girone, and here’s how she defines financial success: “doing something you love, having supportive family and friends, and not worrying about money 24/7.” Hopefully, we can model that, too, while we’re trying to explain the magic of compound interest, the pitfalls of too much debt, or the importance of keeping up to speed on your credit.

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MONEY groceries

Whole Foods Is Accused of Overcharging Customers Again

whole-foods-overcharge-customers-new-york
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York investigators say it's the "worst case" they've ever seen.

Turns out there might be a reason Whole Foods is not America’s favorite grocery store.

New York City investigators have launched a probe of the chain after finding that local stores have regularly overcharged shoppers over the last five years, according to a report by the Daily News.

The investigation comes just a year after Whole Foods had to pay an $800,000 settlement in California because inspectors found the chain caused customers to overpay for food that was priced by weight.

In New York, consumer protection agents say they found violations that included inaccurate weight labels on pre-packaged food and adding tax to non-taxable items.

“Our inspectors told me it was the worst case of overcharges that they’ve ever seen,” New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin told the News.

A spokesman told the News the chain never intentionally mispriced items, and other industry representatives have pointed out that mislabeling is often the fault of manufacturers packaging foods—not grocers. And the News also found that mislabeling sometimes actually works in a customer’s favor.

One takeaway?

It’s a good idea to check food weights using grocery store scales, even on pre-packaged items.

It also pays to compare prices for your favorite foods at different chains: MarketWatch has found that items like hummus can be less expensive at Whole Foods, while many others like produce and cheese are cheapest at competitors like Trader Joe’s, Target, and Safeway.

Finally, if you’re a Whole Foods die-hard, shop smart; the best sales are apparently on Wednesdays.

Read More: Here’s How to Save Hundreds on Groceries

 

MONEY Food & Drink

Why You’ll Be Paying More at Diners and Bakeries This Summer

eggs and bacon
Duston Todd—Getty Images

Menu prices will rise, if they haven't already.

The bird flu outbreak, which has killed 48 million chickens and turkeys over the past few months, began affecting the price of eggs sold by supermarkets and wholesalers starting early in spring. In some cases, the price of a dozen eggs at the grocery store doubled in about a month, and the USDA anticipates that shoppers will see record high prices by the end of the year.

The Whataburger fast-casual chain decided to scale back its breakfast hours in order to cope with an egg supply that was both limited and expensive. But for the most part, restaurants and other prepared-food sellers have steadfastly tried to maintain their same menus, at the same prices, while waiting for the impact of the bird flu to subside.

Based on recent reports, however, it looks like we’re reaching a breaking point. Diners, restaurants, and bakeries throughout the Midwest are slowly scratching egg-heavy items off their menus, or they are considering adding a surcharge of 50¢ to $1 for orders that feature eggs, the Associated Press reported. “I’m absorbing it right now, but I am due for a price increase,” one Nebraska diner owner said of the fact that the wholesale price for a case of eggs has more than doubled since mid-April.

Likewise, after talking to the owners of bakeries, caterers, and restaurants, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted, “the rising cost of eggs might soon result in more expensive meals for customers.” The cost of preparing pies, cakes, pancakes, and of course egg dishes have all gotten much higher for local businesses, and at some point in the near future these costs will be passed along to customers. One bakery said that it has temporarily eliminated angel food cake from the menu because it’s too expensive to make. The item can still be customer-ordered—but only at a price much higher than usual.

“I have never seen this type of egg increase in the 19 years I’ve owned Wedding Wonderland,” said Michael Temm, the owner of a cake shop specializing in weddings and upscale events.

Read next: How the Bird Flu Outbreak Is Affecting Your Grocery Bill

MONEY Food & Drink

When Buying in Bulk Is a Big Waste of Money

H.J. Heinz Co. ketchup sits on display inside a Costco store
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Moderation is underrated.

Personal finance experts frequently tell shoppers to save money on food by buying in bulk, watching out for sales and cooking food at home. But according to a new study in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, those tactics could cause you to spend more money in the long run by encouraging you to buy more food than you’ll eat.

“Surprisingly, findings show that strategies used to save money — such as buying groceries in bulk, monthly shopping trips, preference for supermarkets and cooking from scratch — actually end up generating more food waste,” wrote Gustavo Porpino, Juracy Parente, Brian Wansink and John S. Dyson in the report. “This mitigates the savings made during the purchasing phase.”

Too often people buy more food than they can eat — especially when they buy in bulk — and then throw it out once it’s past its expiration date. People also tend to stock up on unnecessary items just because they’re on sale, the study authors found after following the shopping habits of 14 lower-middle income families in Brazil. “Families reported that some foods were not consumed because they were bought in abundance and past their expiration dates, or because they had forgotten to prepare it,” wrote the authors. “These products are usually the ones more prone to be bought on impulse, such as powder for preparing gelatin, cake mix, sauces and canned food.”

The authors also found that people frequently waste money by cooking more food than their family can eat, storing food improperly and, in some cases, refusing to eat leftovers. They also tend to buy what they think they need based on memory rather than a shopping list and overspend as a result. “Despite income constraints, the families studied tended not to plan grocery shopping and in several cases the amount of food they purchased seemed to be greater than they needed,” wrote the authors.

A separate study published June 10 in the open-access journal PLOS One also found that people frequently underestimate how much food they waste. According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, 56 percent of consumers claim to throw out less than 10 percent of the food they buy, while 13 percent insist they never throw out food. Meanwhile, 73 percent believe they waste less than the average American household and a majority say they regularly take steps to reduce their waste.

For example, more than half of respondents to the survey claim to regularly check their pantries, estimate what they need and draw up a list before they shop. And yet, research shows that an estimated 31 to 41 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted. More than two-thirds of consumers also insist that they rarely buy too much food because of sales or tempting packaging.

“Based on what is known about wasted food in the U.S., it is clear that respondents as a group are substantially underreporting their waste levels, and they may also be overreporting their effort levels,” wrote study authors Roni A. Neff, Marie L. Spiker and Patricia L. Truant in the report.

How to reduce your waste
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the amount of food you waste — and still save money by clipping coupons, cooking at home, scanning sales and buying food in bulk.

The key is to spend more time planning your meals, sticking to a shopping list and keeping a close eye on what you bought. If you find an item on sale, make sure you have a plan for how you’ll use it — and don’t buy bigger packages if you don’t think you can swiftly use them up.

Rather than buy a whole lot once or twice a month, you may also want to visit the store more frequently and buy only what you’ll cook that week.

If you spot a sale for more produce or meat than you can quickly use, go ahead and freeze it. Separating the meat and packaging it individually can also help reduce waste by ensuring that you only cook what you’ll eat that week.

“Fortunately, most of the factors that lead to food waste can be easily remedied by simple changes in food buying, preparing and storing,” noted researcher Gustavo Porpino in a news release.

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MONEY groceries

Look for Major Grocery Price Wars Coming Soon

Aldi shopping carts
Peter Byrne—AP

Upstart super cheap grocery brand expands in a big way.

There seems to be no stopping Aldi. If you haven’t heard of this supermarket brand, you probably will very soon.

Aldi is a super cheap grocery chain that’s owned by the same company as Trader Joe’s, and that has an unusual business model that keeps grocery prices incredibly low due to small store size and limited selection—including almost no national brands. Like TJ’s—named recently as America’s favorite supermarket chain—Aldi’s inventory is dominated by private label brands (a.k.a. generic store brands) you won’t see in any other store.

Based on how quickly Aldi has been growing, the model seems to be resonating with shoppers. Aldi had around 1,200 stores in the U.S. as of 2013, and it’s up to 1,400 now. This week, the company announced another huge expansion, with its first location in southern California set to open in March 2016, and as many as 45 more stores planned for the region by the end of the year. Altogether, Aldi has set the goal of opening 600 or so new stores around the country by 2018, which would bring its location total to roughly 2,000.

Despite its success, Aldi clearly isn’t the supermarket for every kind of shopper. The limited selection, particularly in terms of produce and perishables, pales in comparison to the wealth of options at Wegmans, Whole Foods, or Publix—chains that always score highly in consumer surveys. Aldi only recently began accepting credit cards in addition to cash or debit cards, and shopping carts are available only to customers with a quarter handy: You must insert a 25¢ coin to get a cart, though you get your money back when you return the cart. Aldi keeps staffing (and overhead) very low through techniques such as this, which essentially makes customers do the work that’s normally handled by an employee.

The tradeoff for Aldi’s quirks is pricing that’s rarely seen outside of “Extreme Couponing.” A box of cereal is rarely over $2. The price of a gallon of milk is often $1 or more cheaper than at traditional supermarkets. Aldi was named America’s third-favorite supermarket brand in the latest Market Force Information report, and it received the highest overall score in the “Value” category.

What’s perhaps most interesting is that the expansion of Aldi will even benefit grocery shoppers who will never enter its stores. Next year, shoppers in southern California can expect “a pronounced price war” at grocery stores thanks to Aldi’s entrance into the region, Burt Flickinger III, managing director of consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said to the Los Angeles Times. “Aldi has been Wal-Mart’s worst nightmare. It will be tough on Costco as well as all the established food retailers.”

What’s more, Flickinger explained that “Aldi has always done best with markets with the highest cost of living,” and “California has the highest cost of living in the continental United States.”

MONEY groceries

6 Crazy Facts About the Bird Flu Outbreak

A notice that the price of eggs will be rising soon is seen on June 4, 2015, at a Giant grocery store in Clifton, Virginia.
Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images Egg prices are expected to hit a record high due to the bird flu outbreak of 2015.

Record-high egg prices will hit grocery shoppers.

“Why Aren’t We More Scared of the Bird Flu?” a New Yorker headline wonders this week. As early as mid-May, some were referring to the spread of avian influenza in early 2015 as the “worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history.” Back then, roughly 30 million chickens and turkeys had been killed. The toll is now up to 47 million birds and counting. And there is much uncertainty about how or when the danger will dissipate.

“If there is any disease that’s incredibly humbling, it’s influenza,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, explained to the Minneaspolis Star Tribune recently. “Every time you think you know it, you are reminded that Mother Nature is in charge.”

According to the CDC, the bird flu virus has been detected in chickens and turkeys in 15 states. “No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time,” the CDC notes, and that is the simplest answer to the question posed above by the New Yorker.

Nonetheless, there is still cause for concern about the bird flu, if for no other reason than its impact on your grocery bill. Consider the following:

• More than 47 million chickens and turkeys have died as a result of the bird flu.

• For the first time since 2008, domestic egg production will decline this year.

• The bird flu has already caused egg prices to soar this spring. In some cases, supermarket prices for a dozen eggs have more than doubled since May. And the USDA forecasts that prices will hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• American consumers will wind up spending roughly $8 billion extra on eggs this year, a 75% increase over last year.

• U.S. companies will soon be importing eggs from Europe for the first time in more than a decade as a means of coping with the domestic egg shortage

• The U.S. government budgeted $410 million to battle the bird flu and compensate farmers for their losses, and it looks like that won’t be enough—it’s likely that more than $500 million will be spent.

MONEY groceries

Former Trader Joe’s Exec Opens Super Cheap Nonprofit Supermarket

Doug Rauch has brought The Daily Table a non-profit grocery store to Dorchester. The store will offer produce, nutritious pre-made meals, and other groceries.
Jonathan Wiggs—Boston Globe via Getty Images Former Trader Joe's president Doug Rauch is the founder of Daily Table, a nonprofit grocery store in Dorchester, Mass.

Tons of items are under $1.

On Thursday, June 4, a new not-for-profit grocery store called the Daily Table opened in Dorchester, Mass. The new store is notable for two main reasons: 1) It’s the baby of Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, which was recently named among America’s favorite supermarkets; and 2) The prices of many items are incredibly affordable.

Here is a sampling of expected prices at Daily Table, according to the trade publication Supermarket News:

8-ounce frozen okra: 29¢
8-ounce frozen corn: 39¢
Can of tuna: 55¢
Box of cereal: 70¢
Dozen eggs: $1.19

In a story last month in the Boston Globe, Rauch explained what his new venture is all about, and why the focus has been on inexpensive, healthy food rather than profits. “Our job at Daily Table is to provide healthy meals that are no more expensive than what people are already buying,” Rauch said. “We’re trying to reach a segment of the population that is hard to reach. It’s the working poor who are out buying food, but who can’t afford the food they should be eating.”

The goal is not only to offer affordable groceries in poor communities like Dorchester, but also to sell healthy ready-to-cook meals and hot grab-and-go items at prices that compete with “cheap” fast food. Entrees will be priced starting at $1.79, while side dishes range from 50¢ to $1.

“Our healthy meal options will be priced to compete with the fast-food alternatives in the neighborhood,” Daily Table’s website states. “We’ll be doing all of this by recovering food from supermarkets, growers and food distributors that would otherwise have been wasted. Hunger & wasted food are two problems that can have one solution.”

Though the Daily Table concept has just been launched, Rauch hopes to open more stores in the Boston area, plus locations in cities such as Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

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