The Importance of Eating Organic Food
We all too often hear about how important it is to eat organic food, whether it’s people on the news or activists on the streets around the Houses of Parliament, and yet we have become a little too relaxed about our organic food habits with less and less people buying organic produce. Common complaints are “it’s too expensive”, “it looks funny”, and my old favourite, “it just doesn’t taste as nice”.
And often, I agree with the cynics. Organic food is unbelievably expensive, and those on a tight budget, be it students or families with hungry mouths to feed, just can’t afford to buy the organic stuff, opting instead for the cheapest fruit and veg they can find. Take, for instance blueberries at the well known British supermarket of Sainsbury’s. Their basic blueberries cost £9/Kg, yet their ‘So Organic’ range blueberries cost a hefty £20/Kg. That’s a difference of £11/Kg for the same fruit. How can that even be possible? How is that legal? How is it that the price is increased so much just because it’s not been sprayed with pesticides?
I asked Sainsbury’s to enlighten me on this matter, and here is their response:
The growing of organic crops requires the provision of what is essentially as bio shield to protect the product from the elements and naturally occurring pests.
In place of pesticides, our organic growers use fungicides, spraying these three times a week, rather than three times a season as with regular crops. Organic fertilisation materials are more expensive as they contain less mass manufactured elements such as Algas, a sea algae. The cost of specialised fertilisers can be around 30% more than conventional products.
There is also increased husbandry in the plantations as pickers will remove all flowers from the plant to stop any botrytis spreading and prune with more care all in an effort to reduce the risk of infection and disease which would normally be protected by chemicals.
There will inevitably be a lower yield with organic produce and sometimes greater waste so growers also factor this into their price per kg as well.
Whilst we try to absorb these costs as much as possible, we do have to reflect this in our pricing. Please be assured that we will take your comments into consideration as we work to provide great quality, great value products for our customers.
In the light of claims that the government has told people that non-organic food tastes just as nice as the organic stuff, and is just as nutritious, I attempted to do a bit of research on the subject. According to the Soil Association, organic food offers better nutrition, and other studies suggest that there are up to 17% more antioxidants, up to 69% more flavanones, in organic food. There are also no ‘nasties’ in organic food, such as aspartame or MSG.
However, other researchers have told the public that there is no evidence to actually support the claims that organic food is more nutritious, or that it’s tastier. They claim that the evidence proves ‘inconsistent’. So is the British government right to discourage families from buying organic? Well, they could have a point. If there are the same nutritional values and it’s cheaper, why should families fork out extra pennies to buy organic?
For the reason that organic food is better for the environment, simply put. When pesticides are sprayed on to food, they harm the natural environment around us, including wildlife and animals. The pesticides can also drain into local rivers and lakes, killing water life, and, even scarier, getting into water tables for human consumption. Whilst this is a food blog dedicated to all the tasty, healthy nutritious food out there, the environment is worth a mention in this instance.
I have therefore come to the conclusion that, whilst organic food is ridiculously more expensive and fraught with myth and illusion, it will be better for the general world to eat as much organic food as we can stomach. In terms of cost, demand and production are low, so prices are raised. Therefore, the more that people buy, the higher the demand will be, and the lower the costs will be.
Phewf. Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest and have hopefully enlightened a few of you about the importance of eating organic food.