Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Psychology of Quest: A Shopping Experiment

As the food security project is beginning to get underway, trying to convince almost 400 social service agencies that it would be easy, healthy, very cost-effective and just plain smart for them and their clients to use Quest’s food programs, I thought I should really begin to see, and feel, how the programs work for myself. So, faced with the challenge of buying groceries for ourselves for a two week period with only $50 each, my co-intern, John-Michael, and I headed to the Quest low-cost grocery store to see if we could each honestly pass this test.

I have to admit that I had a few doubts quietly resting in the back of my mind as we walked through the door. I am a salmon eating vegan with a soy allergy and to top it off I’m a bit of an obsessed label reader; I’m always making sure that I am getting enough fibre, iron and protein without getting too much saturated fat or sugar. I am a sincere pain. However, once I began the shop-a-thon I realized that even I, with my confusing, picky and contradictory diet, could buy just about everything I buy in my regular weekly shop at a big grocery store chain. Here is what I achieved:

 3 lbs of salmon for $8.55
 8 pears $1.65
 8 apples $0.60
 5 tomatoes $1.18
 1 onion $.25
 1 large squash $1.40
 2 heads of cauliflower (I love it!) $1.20
 1 head of cabbage $.60
 1 head of lettuce $.60
 1 yellow pepper $.35
 2 containers of hummus $3
 Happy Planet juice (946 ml) $.75
 1 litre vegetable soup broth $.50
 Mustard (250ml) $.60
 Case (12) of 1 litre containers of organic sweet potato soup (deal of the day!) $4
 Porridge oats $1.75
 Bran Flakes cereal $2.10
 Oatmeal muffin mix $1
 Gypsy Love tea $1

 Seven grain bread $.80

…and the grand total is…. $30.88

Unbelievable! I could easily buy what I normally buy for about 80% cheaper! My resting doubts have definitely been ousted and absolute support and confidence in Quest’s programs have taken their place. Not only is the food inexpensive, but I felt happy during the experience and had a few laughs with other shoppers along the way too. If I can shop at the low-cost grocery store and find everything I need then everybody can.
Until next time!

Julie Petrynko
Marketing Representative Intern
Quest Food Exchange
Reducing Hunger with Dignity, Building Community, Saving the Environment.

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat
can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.

-Adelle Davis (born February 25, 1904, was an American author and pioneer
nutritionist. She advocated whole unprocessed foods, criticized food additives, and claimed that dietary supplements and other nutrients play a dominant role in maintaining health, preventing disease, and restoring health after the onset of disease (wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelle_Davis).

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