Fare For All has been part of The Food Group since 2002  — but around for even longer! — and for more than 20 years we’ve been providing affordable, quality produce and meats, many of them locally made, at up to 40 percent off retail prices every month in our mission to help families stretch their food dollar and put nutritious food on the table.

At The Food Group, we value community engagement and ongoing dialogue to shape our programming. Recently, we wanted to refresh, and so we asked our Fare For All customers: How did you find us? What do you like about the program? Which sale locations do you frequent most?

And, perhaps most importantly: What can we do to improve Fare For All?

Hearing from the community and reading people’s stories of how this program has impacted their lives motivates our team every day. We wanted to share this feedback with the rest of our community and the ways that Fare For All makes a difference.

How People Find Us

When we asked customers how long they’ve been shopping Fare For All, answers ran anywhere from just a couple of months to 22 years or more! Many of our customers first heard about Fare For All through friends, family members, neighbors, and churches and other community programs. Others discovered us on social media, with our Facebook page being the primary source of sale information. Some couldn’t remember exactly how they first learned about the program, only that they’ve been a customer ever since, which we love to hear.

“I was taking a class at Animal Humane Society several years ago and you were there,” one survey respondent said, able to recall precisely how they learned about Fare For All. 

Another customer told us, “I originally learned of FFA in nutrition classes at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.” 

Why People Shop Fare For All

Something we always want to learn more about from FFA customers is why they initially decided to attend our sales, and why they keep returning month after month. The most popular response was, not surprising, the great deals we’re able to provide on quality meats and produce. Simply put, our monthly sales help people get more bang for their buck when it comes to groceries! Many people who participated in the survey added that they’re retired or don’t have money in their budget to otherwise shop for fresh produce and meats.

“I started as a way to normalize thinking outside the box and using available services for my disabled child — this is a way for my disabled adult child to get great food at a great price,” one customer told us. “Now, I do it because I love the produce, monthly specials, and the prices.”

“Now that I’m on social security, it helps stretch the budget,” another respondent said. “Early on, it helped me feed my kids. Now, it helps me feed me.”

Feedback from other customers included:

“There are many months where Fare For All is my main source of groceries because I can’t afford local grocery stores. Given the prices for boxes and items has stayed relatively the same, I can plan and count on FFA.”

“I am using Fare for All to reduce food costs, stretch my income as far as I can, and have wholesome meals for my family that might otherwise be out of reach.”

With four kids, the ability to get groceries at a discounted price makes it so much easier on my wallet.”

“Even with two incomes, our family has had struggles, and it’s nice being able to provide quality food.”

What We Can Improve

When asked for feedback and recommendations in terms of what we could change about the Fare For All program, respondents suggested sale hours outside of the traditional 9-5 work week for folks who aren’t able to get away from their jobs during the day. Other feedback included a wider variety of product offerings month to month, new sale locations, and adding pack options for people who either live alone and don’t need as much produce (and don’t want it to go to waste) or who have different dietary restrictions or preferences.

This feedback is important, and our team is working on how to incorporate changes and improvements based on survey responses.

How People Feel About the Shopping Experience

Finally, participants were asked what they like most about their Fare For All shopping experience, whether they’re a regular customer or only stop by every once in a while. In addition to our low prices and affordable offerings, respondents highlighted the friendly volunteer staff, the ease and convenience of shopping, the food options, and the non-judgmental environment they find at our monthly sales. 

“It’s fast, easy, and everyone is so incredibly nice,” one customer told us. “Just the best experience.”

“The volunteers are always extremely pleasant and very helpful,” another added. “I also really like the Hot Buys and new additions I’ve seen as the years go on.

Responses from other customers included:

“Sometimes I can try a new-to-me product without spending a lot of money.”

“I have not met an unfriendly person.”

“It is quick, convenient, and gives me healthy options for meals.”

“I like the emails ahead of time to know what will be there.”

We’re so grateful to everyone who participated in the survey and will be revisiting everyone’s responses as we continue to improve and evolve the Fare For All program! 

Sign up here to get monthly newsletters alerting you to upcoming Fare For All sales and pack menus. You can also follow Fare For All on Facebook for weekly location updates.

We Value Nutritious Food
Working with our community partners, The Food Group buys, gleans, grows, and processes fresh produce.

Food Bank
or Food Shelf?
The Food Group is a food bank that supplies other hunger relief agencies with fresh produce, frozen meat, grocery staples, and other household necessities. Food shelves distribute free food to individuals and families in their local communities.

The Food Group believes in food equity. They believe in culturally specific foods. They believe in meeting people where they are at. And most of all, they believe in dignity.

The Food Group volunteer and donor

Did You Know?
Over 20% of Black households and 19% of Latinx households report food insecurity, compared to 10% of white households.

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The Food Group

We’re a nonprofit working at the intersection of equity and access to fresh, sustainable foods. From farming to distribution, we provide fresh food across MN and WI.

The Food Group is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. EIN 41-1246504 Contributions are tax-deductible to the full amount provided by the law.

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