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Product Selection Guidelines

At People's, we read the labels so you don't have to!


The following guidelines were approved by People’s Board of Directors to help us stock our shelves with the best products available - and to help create a demand for these important values. The Co-op staff responsible for product ordering strives to serve the grocery needs of our community members by following these guidelines. You are invited to contribute to the monitoring and evolution of product selection policy through the suggestion box, interaction with our staff, or proposals to the Board for amendment to these guidelines. You own it!

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.

People’s Food Co-op will make every effort to provide our customers with products that, to the best of our knowledge, do not contain genetically engineered ingredients; and to provide customers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

The Co-op’s produce buyers endeavor to promote local sustainable farming by maintaining a network of growers who sell produce directly to the co-op. Some of these farmers are certified organic, while others are not. An application process is required for those trusted growers who are uncertified but whose farming practices still meet our standards of sustainability. The produce from these farms is the only produce accepted by the buyers that has not been certified by a certification agency, and is labeled accordingly. The phrase “People’s Produce” was chosen to alert customers to the fact that this produce is local and has gone through a selection process. (Federal organic standards prevent us from applying the term “organic” to anything not certified.)

The Co-op will endeavor to promote 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 issues, we will encourage manufacturers and distributors to make products available in recyclable and reusable packages. In the non-foods department, we will carry primarily biodegradable products; post-consumer recycled and non-dyed paper products; low and no-phosphate detergents; and health and body care products which are not tested on laboratory animals.

The Co-op 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 will make every effort to find alternative sources for their products.

Besides environmental impact, there are two other significant packaging issues. The Co-op will not carry products which make false or misleading nutritional, environmental or ingredient claims on the package. The Co-op will not carry products whose retail packaging is deemed exploitive or oppressive. Such determination may be made by the department manager or the staff as a whole. Packaging may be considered exploitive or oppressive if the graphics, narrative or product name use or promote harmful stereotypes.

The Co-op supports other local, collective and cooperative businesses through the purchasing and promotion of their products when appropriate. In some instances, the Co-op may refrain from carrying certain products or product lines in order to not compete with other small local retailers.

The Co-op is committed to carrying products which reflect the diverse dietary needs of our members, including wheat/gluten free, non-dairy, raw foods, alternative sweeteners, etc.

The Co-op will prioritize whole foods, those with a minimum of processing and refining. The Co-op will not sell products containing artificial coloring, preservatives, and flavorings.

By a vote of the Co-op membership, People’s will not carry any meat, poultry, fish, or any products which contain meat for human consumption, or any products containing animal by-products for which an animal must be slaughtered. (Pet food is the exception to the 100% vegetarian policy.)

The goal of our vitamin and supplement department is to provide the membership with the products they need and want to supplement a healthy diet. We will carry additive-free vitamins and supplements including non-allergenic and sugar-free products. We will carry reputable lines and refrain from making unfounded or questionable health claims.

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