Local co-op selling healthy foods for less

Posted at 6:48 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 18:48:08-04

Hundreds in Tampa are switching from their neighborhood grocery store to Carlita's Bowl Fruit & Vegetable Co-op. The owner, Carla Horning says you could cut your grocery bill in half.

Every Tuesday, more than 80 customers arrive to one of the co-op's four pick-up location. They leave with a bin full of fresh fruits and veggies.

After four years, Horning has a total of 220 customers picking her over their local store. Horning gets her produce from restaurant suppliers, meaning she can get her customers the cheapest and freshest produce.

"We live in a culture where we go for what's easy and we're sick because of it," said Horning.

She's working to change that culture around. Those living in low-income neighborhoods typically don't have the luxury of picking the healthiest of foods. That's why Horning started her business. She wants people to know you can have a small budget and still eat healthy.

"I love the co-op," said customer Christy Cunningham while picking up her bin, "I have a family of six, it costs a lot of money to feed them."

ABC Action News put Horning's promise to the test, by grabbing a shopping cart.

We compared one of Horning's bins to the same amount and variety of produce at a local grocery store. To get the same amount of produce as the standard price $25 bin, you would have to dish out $32.84. Meaning, her bin was 27% cheaper. Horning says her customers typically save between 30% and 50%.

Like most co-ops there is a one year fee of $30 to cover labor, but customers insist it's worth it.