Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stonyfield Yogurt - A Small Company with Big Dreams

Today, I was granted an opportunity to go to an informational session on Stonyfield Farm products and organics in general. It was a very informative and educational experience (even though my kids acted nutty the entire time - I'll blame that on feeding them too much processed food! ;) ) For starters, they were promoting a new 3-in-1 YoBaby Meal. It was a 6 oz. yogurt that had pureed vegetables and fruit in the yogurt. I tried the apple and sweet potato one. Although the texture was a little off than "traditional" yogurts, I thought it tasted pretty good. It seemed a little big for babies and even my toddlers. I would like to see it in a smaller size - like the ones that the 6-pack yogurts come in.

Gary Hirshberg, President and CE-Yo (ha ha...get it...CEO (YO like yogurt?...hee hee! ha ha!) talked about how the company started up as an organic farming school. I thought Gary and the Stonyfield team was very, very down-to-earth. I was very surprised honestly (where were their Birkenstocks and hemp necklaces?!?). They left me feeling with a more positive feeling of the word "organic." They made me feel a lot more sympathetic for local farmers - and yes, I do promote Massachusetts Farmers Markets on my blog because I do want people to support local and small farmers, but honestly, I haven't been to one yet all summer! I'm just a lazy hypocrite with two toddlers. That's my excuse. But I'm going to go to one either tomorrow or Saturday. Mr. Hirshberg inspired me.

As most of my faithful readers know, I'm not all super gung-ho organic or anything. At least as far as the "organic" label goes. But in my defense, I have bought a bunch of organic products in the past year at the grocery store. For instance, I have noticed a few times, organic carrots and grapes have been on sale for the same price as their "non-organic" equivalents. So of course I bought the organic brands. Why wouldn't I? PLUS!! I have my garden in my backyard! I've successfully grown tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and lots of zucchini. When I had slugs, I made pesticide with Tabasco sauce and garlic! I could be Queen Organic if I wanted to be...but I'm not. One time someone said I was turning all organic with my gardening. Ugh. It made we want to puke (and eat a Pop Tart). I prefer the term "Earthy" or "Home Grown". "Organic" just sounds too Whole Foodsy for me.

I have to say, I think 92% of the reason why I don't buy all organic stuff is price. For the most part, organic stuff is more expensive than non-organic stuff. Or at least I assume it to be. Some google search spouted off that on average, organics cost 10-40% more than their non-organic counterparts. Although, organic prices have been coming down in recent years (at least on the produce level - I don't even look at the packaged organic stuff). I think I will look more closely at the price differences at the grocery store.

I think 7% of my reason is that I have this bad taste in my mouth for "organic" labeled products. Despite my frugal ways, I can admit, I've been in Whole Foods more than a dozen times in my lifetime. I've never had a "great" experience at one (just the parking lot at the Walnut St. Newton, MA location will send the most sane person to the loony bin). This one time, I was pregnant with my first son, I walked up to one (Brighton, MA!) and bought some dried mangos. I was behind the rudest lady in the world. She treated both the cashier and bagger worse than I would treat a dog (oh, and I'm not really a "dog person"). I guess, I associate "organic" with Whole Foods. I associate Whole Foods with this lady. Bad, I know.

And my last 1%. I'm sorry. But some organic stuff (mostly packaged stuff) is just down right nasty! I'll blame this on my upbringing on Hamburger Helper!

As I wrap this post up, I just wanted to tell anyone who might read this to check out Stonyfield Yogurt's website and products if you haven't done so already. I have bought some Stonyfield Yogurt in the past (thanks to coupons and sales). I'm personally not really a yogurt person, but I ate it. It was good. My husband is the "big" yogurt eater in the household. At least one container a day. Since this is a "bargain" blog, I need to provide coupons! - CLICK HERE to print coupons for Stonyfield Yogurt products. Also, since this is a New England blog, I'll have to promote their visitor center! Located in Londonderry, NH, you can enjoy some yogurt samples and learn about organic farming and nutrition. CLICK HERE for more information on tours and whatnot. Here are more Stonyfield Links:

Many thanks again to Mr. Hirshberg, the Stonyfield Team, Christine Koh of Boston Mamas, 360 Public Relations, The Boston Children's Museum, and the many others who helped put on a fantastic event.


Kara said...

It was fun today! As for the size of the YoBaby 3-in-1 - my 15 month old can polish one of those bad boys off and still beg for a banana afterward. I always found the YoBaby 6-pack yogurts a tad small... or maybe my kids are pigs.

I'm grudgingly converting us to more organics, but youch, the price... it's hard to get past the price difference on some things. The Wild Harvest store line at Shaw's is fairly competitive with non-organics price-wise.

Bargain Becky said...

We're mostly Yoplait eaters here - I told my husband about "organic yogurt" and I believe he said "just don't get that crap you bought a few weeks ago." Speaking of some organic stuff I got at BJ's (by the way, most of it got thrown away due to dislike and refridgerator malfunction). It wasn't Stonyfield (which he has had and didn't complain about).

I just got back from Shaw's. I was only able to scope out grapes - $1.99 for "normal" green grapes vs. $3.99 for organic green grapes. I don't even go down the Wild Harvest isle.

Anonymous said...

Becky, I admire your honesty, truly I think organic just costs too much too!

Paula said...

Wow you are so lucky to go to an event like that. I don't like yogurt but want to learn to cook with it and disguise the

As for organic I mostly agree with you. I have been trying to do a bit more organic but like you have tried to do it from my garden, look at price comparisons and more. I will pay a bit more for certain items that I want for a recipe but if I can get it cheaper and trust a bit in the brand fine. I do like whole foods but we dont have one around bad experiences but I do find that some organic food sucks but that goes back to packaged more natural and we probably wouldn't get that...we have some local health food stores and it is expensive..I wouldn't buy fruit there because it always appears to ripen fast.

There are more coupons coming out, and we have some local grocery stores that have better organic sections.

Overall I think organic is fine if you are smart about it, and do what is right for your family. I believe you and I have taken the biggest steps in organic by simply growing our own food items. :)