Product Selection Guidelines
At People's, we thoroughly research the food we sell so you don't have to. We consider these product selection guidelines to be at the very heart of what we do.
People’s Food Cooperative’s
PRODUCT SELECTION GUIDELINES
The following principles are those that all our department buyers prioritize and promote. The second half of the guidelines provides department-specific information.
ORGANICALLY GROWN Organically grown and produced food products will be prioritized and made available by the co-op. We will always carry organic unless one of the following factors tips the balance in favor of non-organic:
1) Locally grown/produced;
2) Ecological/cultural/ political factors;
3) Lack of availability of a comparable organic product, yet consistent with the rest of the Product Selection Guidelines.
4) Lack of availability of an organic option that fits a specific dietary need.
VEGETARIAN INGREDIENTS People’s does not carry any meat, poultry, fish, or any products that which contain meat for human consumption, or any products containing animal by-products for which an animal must be slaughtered. This was determined by a vote of the Co-op membership. Pet food is the only exception to the 100% vegetarian policy.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED & ADDITIVE-RESISTANT People’s prioritizes whole foods, those with a minimum of processing and refining. People’s Food Co-op makes every effort to provide our customers with products that, to the best of our knowledge, do not contain genetically modified ingredients; and to provide customers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. The Co-op will not sell products containing artificial coloring, preservatives, or flavorings.
PREFFERED RELATIONSHIPS People’s will prioritize products produced and distributed by companies whose politics and procedures are in harmony with our mission statement and sustainability definition. When a company's practices are in clear contradiction to these principles, we make every effort to find alternative sources for their products. We prioritize Fair Trade products, especially when we know there is a history of exploitation within a particular crop or commodity. We support other collective and cooperative businesses.
PACKAGING ISSUES People’s promotes low-impact living by prioritizing bulk, organic and/or local products, limiting the number of products sold in non-recyclable or energy intensive packaging, and encouraging recycling and use of recycled containers. In addition to these in-store practices, we will encourage manufacturers and distributors to make products available in recyclable and reusable packages. The co-op seeks to carry products with packaging that is non-offensive and accurate.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS FROM SPECIFIC DEPARTMENTS
PRODUCE DEPARTMENT People’s produce buyers endeavor to promote local, sustainable farming by maintaining a network of growers who sell produce directly to the co-op. Almost all of these farmers are certified organic. On occasion, we will work with local growers who are not certified organic but adhere to growing practices allowed under the National Organic Program. The produce from these farms is the only produce accepted by People’s Produce Buyers that has not been certified by a certification agency, and this produce is always labeled accordingly. (Federal organic standards prevent us from applying the term “organic” to anything not certified.) All non-local produce is Certified Organic. The department also works to limit packaging whenever possible.
BULK DEPARTMENT People’s Bulk department prioritizes organic whole foods, fairly priced staples, locally grown foods, sproutable seeds, nuts and grains. and freshly milled flours whenever they are available. Any product that is not organic is sourced from a reputable supplier. We value local vendors we can form relationships with, enabling access to accurate and detailed product information. Our bulk herbs and bulk teas are each chosen with particular care for quality, geography, growing and harvesting practices, and cost. We will almost always prioritize herbs and spices from local farms (with organic practices) and local ethical wildharvesters while also carefully considering the quality and cost to our customers. Bulk teas are almost never grown and processed locally so we prioritize fair trade organic teas with quality harvesting and processing practices. Some small farms do not receive organic certification, but when their practices are excellent we love supporting them.
NON-FOODS DEPARTMENT People’s Supplements buyer emphasizes food and herb-based products for maintaining health. In Personal Care, we emphasize products that use organic ingredients and that come from local companies. We refuse to carry products containing synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, or any products that have been tested on animals.
GROCERY & FROZEN DEPARTMENT People’s Grocery and Frozen Departments aim to carry products that compliment the produce and bulk department, without excessive overlap. The Grocery & Frozen Departments focus on competitive and accessible pricing, in addition to BPA-free canned goods whenever possible, Fair Trade & organic, bulk frozen fruits and vegetables, and raw food specialty items.
DAIRY & PERISHABLE DEPARTMENT: People’s Dairy Department pays careful attention to animal-derived dairy products and ingredients that are cruelty free, organically raised and fed. If possible, we support farms that kindly integrate animals into the overall landscape. We have a preference for milk, cheese and butter products that are organic and pasture/grass fed with the exception of farms that are local to People’s Food Co-op. Because we give special preference to farms in our own bioregion there may be exceptions to the farm being certified organic, but the farm must show utmost care in how the animals are fed and treated. Our choice for eggs is that chickens are allowed to range freely and not be caged. Due to economics and the competitive nature of marketing, there are exceptions here as well. In order for us to provide a full range of economically accessible foods we may compromise this standard but it is in no way our first choice. Thus, we emphasize eggs in bulk from small flocks that are allowed to wander and eat a natural, pesticide-free diet.
BEER & WINE DEPARTMENT The wine and beer we sell is from small distributors and companies that focus on vegan preparations. Our beer is manufactured by small breweries that often utilize local grains, herbs and fruits, and contain no animal products. We endeavor to sell only wine that uses no animal products in its production, and give preference to wine made with vegan production methods.
QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR PURCHASING GUIDELINES
OR ABOUT A CERTAIN PRODUCT?
Please call or email the co-op and ask for the department buyer.
By phone: 503.ORGANIC or 503.674.2642