How to Make Higher-Quality Choices at the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping can be stressful when there are so many options, especially if you’re making a conscious effort to make high-quality food choices while you shop. Arming yourself with a plan and plenty of information can help you make smarter choices and feel good about the meals you prepare for your family.

According to the Food Marketing Institute’s Power of Meat Report, 62% of consumers are looking for better-for-you meat and poultry options. Consider these ways you can pick up higher-quality products on your next trip to the grocery store.

Make a list and stick to it. Going shopping without a plan is a surefire way to make the trip to the grocery store less productive. Creating a list and identifying high-quality products that fit your needs can help you avoid impulse purchases. Plus, list-making can also help save money if you plan meals that let you use ingredients across multiple recipes for minimal waste.

Pay attention to labels. Food labels contain insightful details that can help you make well-informed decisions about the foods you buy. Especially when it comes to fresh products, like protein, you can learn a lot about how the food was raised, simply from its label. For example, Perdue’s “No Antibiotics Ever” label is the gold standard when it comes to reducing antibiotic use in chicken farming, compared to the “no hormones or steroids” label, which shows adherence solely to federal regulations.

“You can feel good about purchasing our products labeled No Antibiotics Ever knowing they were raised and fed in such a way that no antibiotics were ever needed,” said Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president of technical services and innovation at Perdue Farms. “In order to achieve No Antibiotics Ever raised chickens, we worked hard to change our feed and care approach over the last 20 years.”

Know how to select fresh foods. If you find yourself overwhelmed when it comes to selecting produce and fresh meat, you’re not alone. When choosing fruits and vegetables, you generally want produce with a consistent color that is firm but not hard to the touch. Many fresh fruits and veggies emit an appealing fragrance at their peak ripeness.

When it comes to meat and poultry products, you can use a similar approach. For example, if you’re shopping for chicken, press down on the chicken in the package. If it’s plump and somewhat resilient, reverting to its shape, it’s a fresher pack. Also be wary of excess liquid in the pack, which can dilute the flavor or contribute to a soggy texture. You may also wonder which cuts are best. For a formal family meal, consider cooking a whole bird, which offers white and dark meat to please all appetites and can serve as a beautiful mealtime centerpiece.

Take some shortcuts. Even if you aim to prepare fresh, home-cooked meals most nights, there are sure to be some evenings when you need to squeeze in a quick meal around work, school and extracurriculars. Having a few simple go-to recipes can help. For example, an easy stir-fry with fresh chicken and frozen veggies can shave off prep time while still providing a hot, well-balanced meal. If you’re meal prepping for the week, marinate pre-cut chicken thighs or legs in different spices and seasonings to make cooking throughout the week simpler. Or try an option like Perdue’s Short Cuts, which include a variety of ready-to-eat, roasted, perfectly seasoned chicken breast strips.

Shop the store’s perimeter last. In most stores, fresh foods are located in refrigerated sections around the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find produce, fresh meat, poultry and dairy, giving you most of the essential ingredients for wholesome, well-balanced meals. Saving this section of the store for your last stop can help ensure perishable items spend less time away from refrigeration before you check out.

Find chicken recipes and poultry shopping tips at

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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