If you've ever sought out new health foods, you may have found that these products are not always readily available at your standard grocery store. Perhaps you live in an area where there aren't a lot of large grocery stores or markets nearby. Maybe the product you're seeking is so new that it hasn't hit supermarket shelves yet. And often, specialty health foods simply aren't sold in stores (even the large chain markets) and can only be purchased one way: online.
New market research reveals that online grocery shopping is increasing by 9.5 percent each year and is expected to grow to $9.4 billion by 2017.
Of course, there are many healthy foods available in most grocery stores and markets. Whole foods, such as whole fruits and vegetables, raw meats, poultry and seafood, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, cheeses and eggs. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is your best bet for finding unprocessed, whole foods. Sure, these foods aren't new, but they are the foundation of a healthy diet, which is always in style.
Buying locally certainly benefits our environment, provides a sense of community, and could positively impact our wallets and waistlines as well, but for those who are searching for that hard-to-find health food product, there are quite a few resources for purchasing these items online.
Some Websites to Check Out
Netrition.com - This company provides a full description of each product, including the nutrition facts and a picture. They have a wide variety of nutrition products, including, but not limited to, supplements, low-carbohydrate items (great for diabetics) and gluten-free foods (for those with celiac disease). Another great aspect of this website is that they have a flat $4.95 shipping fee in 48 states, no matter how little or how much you order. Their products are also delivered very quickly.
Vitacost.com - This website sells a plethora of health and wellness products, generally at discount prices. They offer over 30,000 products, ranging from health foods and snacks to natural household supplies and everything else to suit your nutritional needs. An added bonus--shipping is free if your order is over $49, but if it's less than that, there is just a $4.99 flat-rate shipping fee.
AzureStandard.com - This is a great resource that helps you find local organic, bulk, and natural foods. Although this company won't technically deliver products directly to your home, they have "drop points," which are pre-determined locations on delivery routes where their products are delivered. You simply pick up your products at the drop point closest to you.
NaturalGrocers.com - This website carries over 13,000 products, including organic groceries, specialty health food, vitamins, supplements, and bulk items. They offer competitive pricing and also provide health education via articles, recipes and newsletters.
ShopOrganic.com - ShopOrganic offers a variety of high-quality organic, GMO (genetically modified organism) free, eco-friendly and natural foods. You can shop by category and then by sub-category, all featuring excellent photos. A quality unique to this website is that they have a category of organic gourmet foods available for purchase online.
Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and school-aged children. If you would be interested in working with Kari one-on-one, sign-up for FitDay Dietitian.