Have you ever thought about subscribing to the organic produce subscription service, Full Circle? Did you ever wonder how the prices compared to your local grocery store?
I’ve put my Full Circle Organic Farm Box prices head to head with the prices on organic produce from my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (Kroger) to find the most cost effective way to get that nutritious, organic produce.
Several years ago Todd and I wanted to eat more organic produce, especially fruits and vegetables that are a little more special, fun, and hard to get up here in Alaska. A co-worker told me about Full Circle and I thought it sounded perfect; I subscribed to Full Circle (FC) starting in 2014 until 2017. It was my hope that the FC produce would be a bit fresher than the stuff we get at our stores. Alaska is a long travel for oranges and oftentimes they don’t enjoy the arduous trip from Texas.
As health-conscious vegans (most of the time), Todd and my diet is heavily whole food plant-based. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies so I opted for the FC box that feeds 2-4 people; it ended up being the perfect size. I really loved how you’re able to customize your boxes, switching out apples for blueberries or adding Field Roast Chao ‘cheese slices’, etc. However, I eventually began to see a decline in produce and found myself writing to Full Circle every week about super wilted lettuce or slimy cilantro or rotten avocados and it just got the point that it didn’t feel the price was worth the product any longer. Full circle always kindly refunded me and halting subscription is super easy.
I appreciate that the poor produce could have been due to many factors. It may have been the produce itself or, more likely, it was the storage of box. At the time, Full Circle was shipping their boxes pre-packed from the States to a location in my town where I picked them up. Right before I halted my subscription they stated they were changing how they shipped and stored the boxes. They would be packaging them locally in Anchorage, Alaska then shipping them to the local locations. As of today, however, I see that you can have the boxes delivered straight to your house and strangely it was slightly cheaper to do so rather than picking up your box at a location in your area!
I wanted to try out FC again, hoping the poor produce/storage issues had been fixed. As signed up it occured to me that that now (as opposed to 2014) I can easily compare prices from Full Circle to my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (FM). Both show their prices on their website for produce. I decided to do a little cost comparison of the Full Circle box I had arranged and the same ‘box’ of organic items at Fred Meyer.
Some items I would have loved to add to my FC box but they were considerably more than the FM items. On the right side of the screen are some examples I would have liked to add to my FC box but reconsidered after seeing the lower FM prices. Full Circle is on the left and Fred Meyer on the right. Cremini Mushrooms are almost double the cost!!
Most of the items I put in my FC box were only slightly more expensive than the FM counterparts. Below you can see that the Full Circle total is $44.39. It will be delivered to my house and all the items are organic. Fred Meyer wants $30.26 for those same organic items and in the same quantity. However, if I want to have this ‘box’ delivered to my home I would need to order these items online for a $4.95 service fee then incur a $9.95 delivery charge for a total of $45.16. Alternatively, I can just pick up my ‘box’ of produce pre-shopped from the store, all ready to go, for $35.21.
To conclude, Fred Meyer is a about $15 cheaper than Full Circle (who delivers to my house). If I want to pick up my pre-shopped items at FM then it is still about $10 cheaper than FC. If I want to have FM deliver the items to my house it’s about the same price, $45.
Some items were about the same price and that’s what I added to my FC box. If I had added items to the box that were considerably more, like the mushrooms, there would be an even bigger discrepancy. Is it worth the extra money to have it delivered to your home? That’s subjective. For me, no. Even with a full-time job and a two year old, we still make it to the store every week and usually enjoy the trip as a family outing (yes, we lead quiet lives, lol). Sure, there are times I absolutely do not want to roll through a packed store with a screaming toddler but more often than not, it’s a pleasant-ish affair. If I am ever in a time crunch I can just order the items online, have them pre-shopped for me, and pick-up them up at the store.
In addition, I like to support our local agriculture at small farmers’ markets and stands. FM also carries some local produce like carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. We have a Safeway/Carrs too; it carries a decent amount of local produce, however they have a very limited selection of vegan offerings and those they do offer are really expensive. I don’t shop there often except for local produce occasionally. Alaska has no Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We do have a local natural food store but it’s a 50 mile drive and their prices are truly shocking.
I won’t delve into the quality comparisons between FM or FC, or the differences in selection (for example FM doesn’t ever offer sunchokes or Maitake mushrooms). That would be difficult to do and suspect to change I imagine, as well as dependent upon personal preferences. I did really enjoy the vast array of interesting fruits and strange veggies Full Circle offered but living on one income and being able to get the same organic staples locally for less… in the end pragmatism won over novelty. For now at least.
However, that doesn’t mean Full Circle isn’t right for you! I really do love what they are doing and their customer service is fantastic. I hope this information doesn’t steer you away from them if you are at peace with paying a little bit more for your organic produce. I hope this helped you, and of course prices for both entities change over the season and depending upon your location.
Anyway you can get your family to eat more produce is wonderful in my book! It’s better for the planet, the animals, and our bodies. <3