How Natural Grocers Is Focusing On Affordable Meals Amid Rising Food Costs

You don't need to read the news compulsively to know that a global food shortage is looming. With factors like record-high inflation, climate change, the war in Ukraine, and lingering supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic at play, grocery stores are ramping up prices on common items like eggs, bread, beef, and fruit juice to stay afloat, even amid widespread food insecurity, per NBC News. According to a May USDA report, the U.S. is seeing its highest jump in food costs in over 40 years. However, higher prices may just be one reason why the food inflation crisis is so concerning.

Shoppers are doing their best to hack soaring prices by "store-hopping" for the best deals, which for one shopper means driving nine miles to H Mart just to score affordable produce, per The New York Times. Some grocery chains, however, are trying to save customers from devising their own bargain-hunting plans. One of them is the Colorado-based health food chain Natural Grocers, whose good4u Meal Deals — first introduced in April 2020 — are part of the chain's "broader effort to fight food insecurity."

A chicken dinner for four for under $13

In a September 2021 news release, Natural Grocers deemed its good4u Meals Deals program a central tool in its "efforts to fight food insecurity and bring nutritious meals to everyone." The program, which aims to "provide customers with simple, affordable, and nutritious recipes for themselves and their families," features five meals meant to feed families of four to six. There's a grilled chicken meal for under $13 that includes a Mary's Free Range "humanely raised whole chicken," russet potatoes, and seasonal vegetables; a burger meal for under $12 with Thousand Hills ground beef, Rudi's hamburger buns (or gluten-free buns), mixed lettuce, and beefsteak tomatoes; a sausage and veggie bake for under $10; a chicken drumstick dinner for under $8; and a frittata meal for under $12. 

Natural Grocers advocates for low-income families outside of the program, too. Per Eat This, Not That! (via MSN), the chain's in-house brand "gives families an additional low-cost option," on top of a free customer loyalty program that gives members discounts and other perks. Given the fact that low-income families can seldom afford to shop at stores that tout sustainably sourced and organic (read: expensive) foods, the chain's dedication to keeping its organic products affordable in a food crisis is a pretty huge deal.