Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Angel Food Ministries Review

The Challenge: Does Angel Food Ministries really save money? If so, how much? And more importantly, is the food any good?

Methods: Angel Food Ministries is a not-for-profit organization that buys food directly from suppliers at substantial volume discounts. As a result, they are able to provide consumers with approximately $65 worth of food for just $30. They have locations in 45 states. Angel Food Ministries does NOT sell out of date or inferior products. This is quality, nutritious food – just like you’d get at the grocery store.

About the Food: Each month's menu is different. They offer fresh, frozen and packaged food. Because they make a variety of nutritionally-balanced food available at a significant discount on a regular basis, budget-conscious consumers can put food on the table and use the savings to get ahead financially. There are neither purchasing limits for Angel Food, nor any applications to fill out, nor any other qualifications to purchase through them. You can order online, or in person at the pickup location near you. They also accept food stamps.

Study Design: Our family of 8 usually spends about $1000 per month on groceries. So I ordered 8 Signature Boxes of Angel Food containing food similar to the one on the left.

Because one Signature box is enough to assist in feeding a family of four for a week, I figured our mega-sized family would need 8 boxes to provide a month’s worth of food. I ordered online and used coupon code “ZOOMFEEDBACK” to save an extra 10% off. (This reduced the price by an extra $24!) So our total cost for a month of Angel Food was just $216 (+ $2 online ordering fee) = $218.

To provide an incentive for our kids to comply, we told them they could use any money we saved to plan a family vacation of their choice. With the understanding that any takeout or restaurant meals would also be deducted from the food budget (which they renamed “vacation money.”) Incidentally, the Angel Food Budget test had an amazing effect on the reducing the overall “whine factor” for fast-food and takeout. Only once, throughout the entire month, did any of our six children ask for takeout. (Typically at least one of them will ask every day!) In this case, he was quickly reminded by his siblings that it would “waste” vacation money. Then they followed up with words I never thought I’d hear them say “Anyway, there’s food at the house!”

Results: The food was very good. The kids liked it and so did my husband and I. We tabulated the costs at the end of the month and we had spent $580 total on food instead of the usual $1000. Angel Food had saved us $420 in just one month! And we still had plenty of food left over. (Our kids are little and still have small appetites; in retrospect, we probably could have gotten by with just 6 Signature Boxes.) Anyhow, it turned out that we only needed to grocery shop to replenish milk, butter, lunchbox staples, fresh fruits and vegetables. For the first time in years I was able to use the express checkout lane! To make sure I saved as much as I could I also used free printable grocery coupons on each trip to the grocery store. But I suspect we would’ve saved even more if we had ordered the “Just for Me After School Boxes” and the “After School Fruit and Vegetable Boxes” to pack the kids lunches.

Doing the math, using the After School Boxes for the children’s lunches would’ve cost just 67¢ per lunch! (We’re definitely ordering those this month – despite the fact that school is out for summer, they’ll still need to eat!) Our kids liked the food from the Signature Box (and the savings) so much that they actually asked if we would order again so they could save for a longer, better vacation!

How can Angel Food Ministries afford to do this?

There are two major components that explain how they are able to provide restaurant quality food at such a low price. (Keep in mind, this is NOT Scratched or Dented, NO out-dated food, NO donated food, this is quality, fresh food like you’d get at the grocery store.)

Because Angel Food Ministries is so large, they are able to purchase from manufacturers in bulk, this reduces costs. Then by utilizing local churches or non-profit organizations and their dedicated volunteers to distribute the food, they avoid many of the expenses that grocery stores or discount warehouses incur. (No mortgage, no payroll, no utilities, etc.) This fact alone significantly reduces overhead expenses in getting the food to consumers. Angel Food Ministries cuts out several “middlemen” and buys from manufacturers in bulk so they can pass along substantial savings to consumers.

Conclusion: Angel Food Ministries is a great option to reduce the cost of providing food for your family. If you are struggling financially, or just want to start saving money wherever you can, we found it to be an easy, affordable option to reduce the amount we spend on groceries every month.

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