Is Organic Food Worth the Price?

Tanantha Couilliard August 4, 2010 15

Photo credit: Tanantha Couilliard

The number of organic consumers has increased. Whether it’s from better education or higher health-consciousness, it’s a good sign. Going organic is a new food trend that consumers should consider carrying on.

According to the website, www.organic.org, “organic” is defined as “produce and other ingredients grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.”

Well, that’s fine, but does it have to be so pricy? Going organic isn’t cheap. Often times, organic produce costs more than conventional produce. A few factors can help explain. First, organic farmers do not receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Second, the cost of environmental cleanups is added. Third, it requires more labor and intensive care. And lastly, the demand and supply system is the key to driving the cost. By those means, if demand is low, a cost of supply will be high. It’s an obstacle to have economies of scale in place for the organic side. Start with one person, the other will follow, and so on. It will soon drive costs down and force retailers to offer more organic food to meet our demand.

On the consumer end, there are several reasons and justifications behind pricey produce. These include nutrition, flavor, environment, ecology, mistreated animals, and future generations.

Nutrition and flavor: Organic food contains more nutrition, and has a better taste with true flavor free from chemicals. For instance, grass-fed beef has a sweeter and firmer taste than antibiotics and growth hormone beef. It’s a taste that nature offered to us. If you work in the corporate world, the term “grow organically” is often used. It refers to a true growth for the core, and pure growth.

Environment and ecology: Good soil conveys better water and air to living creatures including human beings. It’s forming a circle and that will lead to less pollution.

Mistreated animals: Growth hormones and byproducts are used to develop animals faster and to produce a larger volume of product for sale. It changes the animal’s physical structure. Some of the animals can adjust to the genetically-altered physical state while others cannot.

Future generations: Consumers have a right to create a valuable diet circle — a circle that doesn’t harm the environment, creatures, and people.

A practical tip to “go organic” is to gradually change your pantry list by considering the source of each product. Consider that you not only eat animal meat but also what they intake. If they are raised humanely and fed free of chemicals, nutrition is passed through the meat. Milk is also a good example – what cows eat will be passed through the milk. For ingredients that affect us indirectly, such as flour, you could leave it out until later when you’re ready to go entirely organic.

Is it worthwhile? Think of it as a return on investment (ROI). The return rate is high. You won’t see it now, but it will pay off in the long term with a good interest rate. You invest in your health, diet, family, and environment. Many good quality restaurants and chefs tend to use organic ingredients nowadays because they believe that it conveys a better quality of food.

We are what we eat. Let’s go organic!

15 Comments »

  1. Lazaro August 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm -

    Well written, informative and enlightening. Bravo!

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm -

      thank you for the inspiration Laz!

  2. Magic of Spice August 6, 2010 at 4:04 am -

    I am so glad that you wrote this article… Absolutely agree with every word. The more we buy organic the more price friendly it will become. There are already many signs that this is taking place. Exceptional as always…love your articles:)

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm -

      Thanks Alisha! Yes, we all should help fasten it!

  3. Nancy/SpicieFoodie August 6, 2010 at 9:47 am -

    Great article Tanantha! I have been wondering and having a debate about organic products. Great tips on how to gradually go 100% organic. I wasn’t aware that the animals were also treated better that is a big plus for me as animal cruelty is a big concern of mine. Keep the great informative articles combine.

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm -

      Thanks Nancy! Yes,that’s my big concern too. I’m not ready to go entirely organic because of the costs. Changing my pantry list gradually does help!

  4. roxan August 6, 2010 at 11:41 am -

    Great article T! ROI… Are you in the financial services industry?

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm -

      Thanks Rox! No, I’m not but I know investment :=)

  5. Stella August 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm -

    Wonderful Tanantha! This is an enlightening article with so many important points that I think most people care about, but we just don’t always know exactly how to make a difference in the world in reference to them. Your’e right though-going organic is one of the first, if not the first, step in changing our personal health & our world!
    Oh, and your point about organic as an investment in health is such a real truth too. I can count off so many health problems and weird issues I used to have that have just disappeared since I’ve gone organic…

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm -

      That’s good to know Stella. We all should help change the food system for our health!

  6. lequan August 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm -

    Great article Tanantha! With kids, I definitely think twice about what I’m buying at the grocery stores these days. Although it is pricey to go organic, if you think about it, you’re spending that money on fresh, clean, natural food. If people can give their cars supreme gasoline, why not give their bodies the same?

    • Tanantha August 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm -

      I really like how you think LeQuan! It’s so true and you used a great analogy! I totally agree.

  7. Emily August 7, 2010 at 11:05 am -

    Hi Tanantha,

    Firstly, what a well-written article!
    I totally agree with your practical tip to “go organic” as I’ve started this process early last year. Mostly I’m concern with the level of hormones and antibiotics in meat. Despite cringing over the significant price difference between organic and non-organic meats, I’ve decided on going for quality over quantity (plus there’s no harm in eating less meat anyway).
    For the sake of the health and wellbeing for our future, I think everyone should make a conscious effort to go organic. If we all wait for others to make the first step, there’s no way the demand will ever surpass supply.

  8. FOODESSA August 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm -

    Most of us are well intended…however it is not truly realistic to think that this is practical enough…especially in a country like the U.S. for things to change so much that prices will go low enough to turn things around. Volumes such as these are very difficult to achieve.
    Education in schools should reflect this new way of thinking so that the generation coming in will push forward with healthier habits which don’t always include organic products. Baby steps and realism will help us balance the good and the bad from our food chain.

    Tanantha, thank you for such a great effort and doing your part to bring this subject to the forefront.

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  9. denise @ quickies on the dinner table August 15, 2010 at 2:47 am -

    Tanantha – thanks for caring enough to make some noise about something, people in higher places who actually HAVE the power to turn the tide, SHOULD care about, but sadly don’t.

    The onus has been pushed to the consumer, who’s power is limited to the size of his wallet. This is a sad state of affairs and one that will take generations to change, despite the best of intentions, IF enough noise is made about it.

    What really chafes me is that my generation ate completely organically when we were children and it was not a big deal, just the natural order of things…… and we didn’t have to pay a premium for it. I want that back, but probably never will have it in my lifetime.