Grocery Shopping – Name Brands 101

Eating is a part of being human, one that I truly enjoy. Most of us get some of our groceries at a grocery store. And most of us get a bit confused about the options. When switching to a healthier diet it can get a bit overwhelming to understand what is what. Let’s narrow it down a bit.

In America, there are so many loose labeling regulations. We are not always sure about what we are getting regardless of what a label might or might not say. Organic for example does not always mean organic. The only way to know it is truly organic is to:

  1. Grow it yourself
  2. Get familiar with a local farmer that you can trust
  3. Use product labeling to narrow down your options in a grocery store

Look at Your Grocery Store Labels

“Organic” is not always organic. Just because a label has the word “organic” on it does not make it so. There are many companies that choose not to go through the process of becoming “Certified Organic” yet their products are pure and wonderful. The problem comes in with the companies who are not legit and they also use the word “organic” on their labels. Unless we know the companies, we will not know the difference between the legit ones and the marketing scams.

USDA Organic has its own label that is clearly on the label of certified organic products. It usually is not practical to place this particular label on individual produce. For example, you usually will not see it on an apple, yet you might see it on a bag of apples.  Things in jars, cans, bags, and boxes will be able to display this label. If it has this label, you know the manufacturer has had to adhere to specific ” certified organic” guidelines. When we are not growing our own food, sometimes this label in a grocery store can be a guide to getting closer to clean pure food.

Look for this USDA Organic label. It usually is green like this but sometimes it is in black and white. By no means is this the answer to choosing all good food. It is a great place to start.


Look at USDA Organic Label as a Basic Guideline

While in a grocery store and unfamiliar with brands, using the USDA Organic label can be your basic guideline. Whether you are buying soup, beans, oil, mustard, coconut milk, or any of the hundreds of options in a grocery store, look for the USDA Organic seal. This also applies to dairy, eggs, and meat. Eggs and meat are a bit trickier but for now, let’s just stick to the basics.

Read more info from  USDA Organic labeling.

Non-GMO labeling is also important. If something is already certified organic then that should mean that it is also Non-GMO. There is a Non-GMO label that provides extra comfort that we are not consuming any GMO’s.

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. Scientists and consumer and environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs.

Read more info from Non-GMO Project.

Name Brands

Name brands can also help with your basic healthy food selections. There are some tried and true brand names that many grocery stores sell.

Oil & Vinegar

Buying oils can be tricky online because of damaging heat exposure. I purchase oils online only in the winter so that I do not risk a delivery sitting in a vehicle or on my front doorstep in the heat of summer. The heat makes the oils go rancid which causes health problems, inflammation for one.


Spectrum Organics – Quality brand name for buying oils in grocery stores.

Spectrum Organics makes many different quality oil products: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, mayo, flax oil, and apple cider vinegar. They also offer a fish and flax oil in capsules to take as a supplement in case you are not getting enough Essential Fatty Acids in your diet.





Braggs – Quality brand name for buying oils in grocery stores.

Braggs offers many different quality products; olive oil and various salad dressings. They also offer something called “liquid aminos” that is the healthy soy-free option to soy sauce. Braggs also makes an excellent general seasoning to season food with healthy herbs and spices.



Quality organic dairy is hard to find online because it is so perishable. The shipping expense usually is not worth the purchase.

Quality name brands that you can usually find in your grocery store. Organic AND grass-fed are ideal.



Dairy — Organic Valley dairy products in grocery stores. Organic Valley makes many different quality dairy products; milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, half-and-half, sour cream, cream cheese, eggs and even some produce. Organic Valley offers milk. The best choice would be organic “grass-fed” Vit D whole milk.


Dairy — Horizon Organics dairy products in grocery stores. Horizon makes many different quality dairy products that usually are in grocery stores; yogurt, sour cream, heavy cream, half-and-half, cottage cheese, butter, eggs, egg whites, eggnog, and milk. Horizon offers milk. The best choice would be organic “grass-fed” Vit D whole milk.


Kerrygold name brand butter and cheese, made in Ireland, is another favorite. This is where it gets confusing because it is not “organic” but it is grass-fed. Kerrygold made with natural, grass-fed, hormone-free cows’ milk on cooperative dairy farms. Kerrygold grass-fed butter is the most widely available healthy source of butter in the United States. Find it at your local grocery store or order here.

Nuts & Seeds

Spectrum name brand (as mentioned above for oils) offers chia and flax seeds. Try your grocery store and see if they offer a quality brand that is certified organic.

Every step toward quality food is a victory. Don’t get stressed out while learning the ropes. Have fun with real food.

Maribeth Baxter, MBEC (Certified Mind-Body Eating Coach)

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Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.


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