What is organic?
According to the Soil Association, it’s a way of farming and producing food that aims for high-quality, tasty food that is good for the whole food system, caring for animals, people, ecosystems and soil.
It’s a protected term that’s strictly regulated and all organic farms and companies are checked yearly by certified bodies. So if you’re buying organic, always look for the proper symbols.
Why is it more expensive?
There’s a bunch of reasons organic food is pricier. Top of the list is that it’s more labour intensive because of the lack of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic producers also tend to be smaller so don’t benefit from economies of scale.
Less obvious reasons are the cost to get certified, specialised land and equipment, and expensive non-synthetic ingredients. Some also argue that there’s a hidden cost to non-organic food in things like environmental damage and even our health.
Food for thought? On to our 5 reasons to eat organic:
1. Taste the difference
Only you can be the judge of what tastes good to you, but many consumers choose organic for flavour. So why might it taste better? For starters, it’s grown and produced as naturally as possible allowing the food to taste as it should.
Also, organic produce is often sold locally, making it fresher and seasonal – always a good bet for better flavour. With British Food Fortnight coming soon, run your own taste test with some local apples and a quick recipe (download the ActiFry app).
2. Less pesticides, additives and no GM
A big reason shoppers choose organic is to avoid the chemicals associated with conventional food. Pesticides are bad for bees and other insects, and organic food won’t contain controversial artificial food colourings, sweeteners and preservatives.
Genetically modified food is a hot potato – and one that organic food systems won’t touch for environmental, health and social reasons. If you want to steer clear of GM, organic is a safe bet.
3. Antioxidant boost
With less pesticides to kill off bugs, organic crops produce more of their own antioxidant compounds to fight the damage. Great news for consumers as these same antioxidants can protect us from harm too.
Studies have shown that organic food con contain as much as 68% more antioxidants than non-organic food, which is the same as eating extra portions – winner! Sweet potatoes serve up a good dose, try them in this delicious dhal (download the Cook4Me app).
4. Good for our planet
Because harmony with nature is fundamental to organic farming, it’s not surprising that it’s better for the planet. Grown with no harmful chemical fertilizers and fewer pesticides, production has minimal impact and allows wildlife to flourish.
Also, organic farms normally use less energy and produce less CO2 by using locally available resources like manure and compost. On top of that, it’s thought that the healthier soil can store more carbon.
5. And animal welfare too
Strict standards mean that organically reared animals are well cared for. Access to indoor and outdoor space lets them move around naturally, which reduces stress, disease and the need for preventative antibiotics and practices like beak trimming.
As well as being free-range by nature, animals also enjoy a high-quality diet that’s GM free and as natural as possible. All in all, organically reared animals tend to have a better and longer life which gives noticeable results in the quality of the meat.
If organic food isn’t on your menu, one or all these reasons might just tempt you. And if cost is still a sticking point, try these great tips.