Our Standards

GreenStar’s Product Selection Policy

Our Buyers Use a Set of Guidelines to Select Products for GreenStar

These Product Line Selection Guidelines are designed to reflect GreenStar’s Ends and to comply with our bylaws as well as past member referendums that apply specifically to our product line. Our system for product selection is designed with consideration of commonly accepted business practices, and products may be added to the line if they perform well in the natural foods sector or are requested by a substantial number of customers. GreenStar will not sell products and ingredients that are excluded from the product line by our selection rules.

Read our Product Line Selection system.

Please note that products that are special-ordered by GreenStar customers are not subject to GreenStar’s Product Line Selection System.

GreenStar emphasizes the following:

At GreenStar, healthy foods means foods that are minimally processed and free of preservatives that are demonstrated to be potentially harmful. Minimally processed or unprocessed foods include fresh, dry, or frozen fruits or vegetables, grains, legumes, meat, fish, and milk. Only preservatives classified by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) are permissible in GreenStar’s product line, with the following exception: Preservatives are permissible in products that are required for participation in the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Program) or are categorized as Specialty (belonging to a specific cuisine) when no suitable alternative is available. 

GreenStar supports access programs for low-income people and families, including WIC and our FLOWER food access discount program. GreenStar also offers many products at a lower price as part of its Co+op Basics product line.

GreenStar emphasizes sustainability. Sustainable products reflect at least one of the following qualities: 

  1. Locally or regionally grown or produced for reduced distance of transport.
      Local: within 100 miles of Ithaca.
      Regional: within 300 miles of Ithaca.
  2. Organic: Organic foods labeled USDA Certified Organic (at least 95%) or Made with Organic Ingredients (at least 75%).
  3. Sustainable Growing Practices: May be Certified Naturally Grown or verified by GreenStar to have comparable standards.
  4. Sustainable Sourcing: Products with major ingredients verifiably sustainably sourced.
  5. Reduced Packaging: GreenStar chooses recyclable or compostable packaging when feasible and carries a selection of bulk products to reduce the need for packaging. 
    • No Plastic Water Bottles – GreenStar will not sell still drinking water in plastic bottles which are less than one gallon in size.

GreenStar does not sell dairy products that use growth hormones, nor does GreenStar sell body care and cosmetic products that are tested on animals.

Prior GreenStar member referendums apply to the following animal products:

  1. Red Meat: GreenStar prioritizes local and organic red meat. Red meat sold at GreenStar must be free of hormones or antibiotics and packed without artificial additives or preservatives, including nitrites. Suppliers must be farming locally or regionally, or organically/sustainably and must be compliant with GreenStar’s standards for fair and reasonable treatment of animals as confirmed by third party certification or direct verification by GreenStar, based on reasonable evidence. Information is displayed in stores next to red meat.
  2. Fish and Seafood: Seafood that is sold at GreenStar must be sustainably farmed, organically raised, or open-ocean- or wild-caught.
  3. Poultry: Poultry sold at GreenStar must be certified organic or sustainably farmed without hormones or antibiotics and packaged without artificial additives or preservatives including nitrates.

Exceptions may be made when fish, seafood, or poultry are listed as an ancillary ingredient.

Would you like more information about our red meat & poultry suppliers? CLICK HERE for a list that outlines the name, location, and farming practices of our meat suppliers. 

Any evidence-based allegations of vendors or suppliers treating their workers or workers in their supply chain in a way that does not comply with International Labor Standards will be investigated. and products for which allegations are verified will be removed from GreenStar’s product line.

GreenStar sells products that are grown or produced by cooperatives.

GreenStar makes an active effort to continually develop its product line to be accommodating of the needs of people with diverse diets, such as those influenced by food allergies or sensitivities, religious constraints, or dietary preferences.

GreenStar prominently features beer, mead, and hard cider that is produced locally and organically. 

How Do We Inform You?

We’ve designed symbols that appear on our shelf tags to provide relevant information about our products. 

View our Shelf Tag Symbols

Shoppers will also find a pamphlet displayed next to red meat that identifies the name, location, and agricultural practices of the suppliers. 

We encourage shoppers to always read product labels and exercise their own judgment about products or ingredients they prefer to avoid. By law, product labels must contain company contact information, and you can call the manufacturer for a full ingredient disclosure.