The Nutrition and Education Committee’s Monthly 3-Question Survey Report

Produce Section

December’s Survey Topic: Produce

Each month, the Nutrition and Education Committee (NEC) asks you about your buying habits, concerns, and opinions. Your answers help determine what is stocked in our store, so please do take the Three Question Survey and weigh in!

This month’s survey focuses on the Produce Department. With the largest selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables, it is a source of pride for our members. Please give your opinion on this month’s survey and help us make it even better!

As a weekly worker in the Produce Department, I cannot understate the Department’s positive contributions to the Co-op community. My time working in Produce is spent doing tasks like stocking lovely-smelling citrus fruits or bagging triple-washed spinach pillows. We always have fun music playing in the produce work room, and the Staff and Member-Owners are a friendly bunch. The cull box right by the work room door has people stopping in on a regular basis to see what they can eat that day for free. We also compost whatever cannot be offered for cull. Recently, there was an enormous amount of culled strawberries, much more than could fit in the small work area of the Produce Department. They were brought to the Prepared Foods Department, who gladly accepted the fruit to make wonderful food for all.

I spoke with Matthew, one of the Produce managers, asking him what would be helpful to learn from our Co-op community. He told me about the challenges of a department where food has to be constantly rotated, and where buying decisions are greatly affected by season, weather and the changing needs of whoever walks in the Co-op that day. What and when to stock produce is our topic this month. So, please, take the survey and weigh in on what produce you want to see beautifully stacked for your viewing and eating pleasure when you first walk in the door of Honest Weight.

October’s Survey Results

Thank you to all who took our survey in October. We had an all-time high of 100 responses, which increased our understanding of what matters to you. The topic was about websites you use to keep informed about products and health, why you use them, and how frequently. Related to this, the Co-op is looking into providing a kiosk that would allow shoppers to access information about what we sell. Although we are always working on providing helpful shelf labels, a kiosk would allow everyone to stay up to date, especially those who do not own smartphones.

The majority of respondents said they do not use a website to find product information. Of those who do, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) was the clear front-runner. The EWG was cited as providing “reliable information.” People who did use their website only used it “sometimes.” The next most commonly used website among respondents was Seafood Watch. Both of these websites are also regularly used by the Nutrition and Education Committee, which is responsible for writing the Co-op’s Food and Product Manual.

The comments from October’s survey were very enlightening. Many of you did not know such websites existed, and simply being involved in the survey has now brought it to your attention. Thanks to the person who wrote in requesting we add links to the sites mentioned. (Why didn’t we think of that?!)

Our hope is that everyone will check out the web resources named in the survey to help keep informed about what they are eating. Some people said they read labels carefully and do research themselves. But many comments were about trust in what our Co-op stocks, and conversations with department managers and staff while shopping. As one Co-op shopper stated, “I love to shop here mostly BECAUSE I don’t feel like I have to spend time researching everything I buy.”

Thank you for your trust in Honest Weight! We on the NEC take our job seriously to ensure our shelves are stocked with the healthiest foods for you and your family, based on the most current information available. To check out the October survey results, please click here.

Rebecca Angel Maxwell has been a proud member of the Honest Weight Food Co-op for thirteen years, recently joined the Nutrition and Education Committee, and is a member worker in the produce department making all those displays look pretty for you. She also has an alter-ego of TeaPunk sharing her obsession with tea.