When it comes to raising my four kids, I’ve learned that good food matters. And that’s one reason why I’m excited about the ASPCA and their focus on the welfare of farm animals as well as adoptable pets. I want my kids to learn to make healthy choices as well as how to make the most of their food and that starts with being a savvy shopper.
Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.
- Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. I love grilling and fresh fruit in the summer for example. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too!
- Shop Locally – CSA’s and local farmers’ markets help support local, often smaller scale, farmers and ranchers who are producing outside of the traditional factory-farm system. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your local farmers’ market and start asking some question – this guide will get you started. This can be a fun family activity too!
- Conquer Labeling Confusion – Marketers create confusion with their flashy labels and clever catch-phrases. But unfortunately, sometimes they care more about finances than transparency. Words like “natural” or “humane” often don’t have any oversight to actually tell you as a consumer anything concrete. However, some phrases and labels do have regulations associated with their use, and that’s what you can start to look for as a savvy shopper. Here’s a guide to labeling to get you started.
- Be Careful to Minimize Waste – One of the ways we can treat the animals used for food respectfully and humanely is by making the most of the food we purchase. Purchase only what you know you’ll use and serve the right sized portions to avoid wasting what your family buys. For example, I love using leftovers in the crockpot for new meals sometimes to prevent waste!.
- Look for Certifications That Mean Something – Unlike marketing gimmicks there are certain certifications and awards that have true meaning. For example the USDA Organic label shows that the produce grown (or fed to the animal) didn’t use banned pesticides. Others include Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane.
See The Good Groceries Guide for more information about how our shopping habits impact the lives of those around us – animals included. Find more resources for savvy shoppers at the ASCPA Shop With Your Heart website!
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