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The Secret Behind Thrive Market's Affordable Organic Products

Families can spend hundreds of dollars on groceries every week. When cheaper alternatives are available on the shelf, those are often scooped up to save a few bucks here and there. However, these alternatives aren't always the healthiest options. Sadly, lower prices can sometimes suggest more processing or less than natural ingredients which isn't always great for our health or the planet. That’s why Thrive Market is aiming to give people healthier foods at a cheaper price,  and consumers are already on board with their approach.

Gunner Lovelace, one of the founders of Thrive Market, always wondered why healthier options came at premium cost. This sharp increase in food and personal care items that are organic, natural, or non-GMO can be particularly hard on families who are low-income or operate on a strict budget, making it difficult, if not impossible, to make healthy choices while being fiscally responsible. 

As he explained to Danica Lo at Extra Crispy, "I grew up really poor with a single mom. I remember living on rice for six weeks—or a couple of a months at a time. When my mother remarried my stepfather, we became part of an Ojai hippie community where I saw, firsthand, the power of group buying and a way to make food more affordable."

So, how does Thrive deliver healthy food at low prices? The key components are group buying and membership fees. To shop with Thrive, consumers pay a monthly membership fee of $5 (billed as $60 annually). This is similar to wholesale stores, like Costco, that offer discounts on products through a membership. However, the options at Thrive are only organic, non-GMO products.

Doing this helps Thrive Market cut prices anywhere from 25 to 50 percent off when compared to local stores. Two-day shipping is free when customers reach an order of $49 or more. Even better is the company’s ability to help out those that can’t afford a membership. Their program, “Thrive Gives,” offers free memberships to low-income families, college students, and veterans.

Categories include snack items, meals, cosmetics, medicine, baby products, home cleaning supplies, and more. They also have their own brand to promote healthier living, such as a variety of medicine, peanut butter, salmon, coffee beans, onion powder, and much more. Unlike some store-brand options, these are aimed to supplement customer options, not undercut the competition.

Lovelace tells Extra Crispy that he’s looking to expand Thrive Market to include a variety of breakfast options, explaining, "The American breakfast is a really important place for us to talk about and work on processed foods and sugar. So we have these really super-cool coconut flakes—like corn flakes, but made from fair trade coconuts. We have another cereal that’s all sprouted granola and Paleo-friendly sprouted nuts. It’s the best granola I’ve ever tasted.”

At the moment, Thrive Market ships to the continental United States and hopes to go to Hawaii, Alaska, and other places in North America in the future. Certain items are not eligible to be returned, like perishable and cosmetic goods, but they are willing to help out anybody that has a problem with their order up to a week after receiving it. Without a doubt, Thrive's model suggests that consumers are eager to buy organic when it can fit into everybody's budget, which is a great thing for our health and the planet.

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