What You Need to Know About Organic Foods

Organic food is in high demand nowadays. Not only are they nutritionally better, but also better for the environment on the whole. Generally, Organic refers to something that is made or grown using natural products instead of chemical substitutes. Organic produce is grown without the use of artificial chemicals, making them a cleaner option. However, choosing the best Organic product can prove to be a complicated task if you don’t have the necessary information at hand. Therefore, we are sharing with you all there is to know about going Organic in the following paragraphs.

Table of Contents

Why is Organic Food important?

Read below to know why organic food is important:

1. Promotes Ecological Balance
2. Increases Biodiversity
3. Boosts Soil Productivity
4. Reduces Pollution
5. Uses Renewable Resources

As mentioned above, Organically grown fruits and vegetables are better not only for human health but also for planet Earth. Explained down below are some of the most important factors to push you to go Organic!

  • Promotes Ecological Balance – Organic farming is the oldest and most sustainable form of agriculture. It brings farming in harmony with nature using eco-friendly growing techniques. These techniques include using manure and compost as fertilizer instead of harmful chemical fertilizers, natural insect deterrents such as traps, barriers, insect predators, etc., instead of pesticide and insecticide sprays, etc. This kind of chemical abstinence safeguards the eco-system, allowing the natural topology of life to play their proper roles.
  • Increases Biodiversity – The decreased usage of chemicals for weed removal, insect and pest removal, and enhanced crop growth through fertilizer leaves the soil less polluted. This supports the growth of wildlife in the surrounding areas, whether it is plants or animals, as there is more food to consume for both.
  • Boosts Soil Productivity – Organic farming uses the technique of crop rotation. Different crops take different nutrients from the soil, and crop rotation ensures that the soil is not completely leeched off due to the continuous growth of one crop. The break period allows the soil to refurbish itself with the lacking nutrients before the next cycle.
  • Reduces Pollution – Employing Organic growing methods decreases the use of artificial chemicals by a lot. This prevents pollution in the soil through chemical fertilizers. At the same time, the lack of pesticide and insecticide spray keeps both the air and soil free of pollution. Lastly, decreased consumption of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides result in decreased production of such products, reducing air and water pollution.
  • Uses Renewable Resources – Practices such as using manure and compost, crop rotation, etc., are all renewable resources, as well as using the natural wildlife in the surrounding to control the insect population, and planting filler crops in the offseason to keep the soil fresh and nutrient-dense, are all part of renewable resources.

How to check if food is really Organic?

Here are few things to check if a food is really organic:

1. PLU Label
2. 100% Organic Label
3. USDA Organic Label
4. Made with Organic Ingredients Label
5. Transitional Label

Now that you have some idea about the importance of consuming and growing as much of the crop organically as possible let’s take a look at how to find out if your product is really Organic.
The first and most important step is to check the label of the product you are buying and read through it carefully.

  • PLU Label – Loose fruits and vegetables sometimes come with a PLU (price look-up) sticker on them. For organic produce, the PLU sticker features a 5-digit code, beginning with 9.
  • 100% Organic Label – Foods with a label of ‘Organic’ feature a 100% organic composition. This percentage can be measured by weight or volume and does not include salt and water.
  • USDA Organic Label – Products with this label are made with at least 95% organic ingredients, excluding water and salts. USDA Organic’s green and white seal label can only be given by any of the 50 accredited certified USDA agents.
  • Made with Organic Ingredients Label – ‘Made with Organic Ingredients’ label certifies that the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients in its composition.
  • Transitional Label – Fruits and Vegetables with the label of ‘transitional’ indicate that the farmer is going through the 3-year long process of moving from conventional farming to Organic farming.

Other Factors to identity Organic Food

Apart from the label, there are some other factors that can be used to identity Organic food such as:

1. Shape
2. Size
Smell

  • Shape – Things growing in nature come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, if the produce basket in front of you has the same shaped fruit, there is a big chance that the food is not grown organically. This is also because organic farming does not take help from chemical fertilizer to boost the growth of the crops. They only rely on the best organic fertilizer for vegetables.
  • Size – Since organic food is not boosted with chemical boosters, rather allowed to bloom freely, the size of the product is not uniform. Not only that, compared to conventional produce, the size of Organic produce can be smaller, as the crops are not boosted to reach their maximum potential.
  • Smell – Organic food is not covered with preservatives or genetically engineered to stay fresh for longer. This means that they can start deteriorating faster than normal conventionally-grown produce and may give off a smell.

Why is Organic Food More Expensive?

Here is the reason why organic food is more expensive:

1. Low Production, High Demand
2. High Production Cost
3. Cost-Ineffective Manufacturing and Marketing

Many people complain about the hefty price tag that accompanies the label of ‘Organic’ on any product. However, the comparatively high prices are completely justified, because of the benefits you get, as well as due to these factors.

  • Low Production, High Demand – Due to the care and work it takes, most farmers only plant small batches of a crop every season. However, the demand for organic food is higher than ever. Therefore, the costs are driven up to ensure they are only available to some people.
  • High Production Cost – Due to limited space, crop rotation, and other such practices, organic crops are not grown in a big batch like conventionally grown crops. The high production cost is also influenced by the higher input rate given by farmers for organic crops, like weeding and tiling by hands.
  • Cost-Ineffective Manufacturing and Marketing – Regardless of the small batches of fresh produce produced, the post-harvest processing and transportation costs remain high, making it difficult for farmers to make a profit with a low-cost margin. The small volumes of products ensure that the marketing and distribution chain costs remain ineffective in terms of profit.


About the Author

Nashia Ajaz

Nashia is an Author and Blogger. She joined the Organic Aspiration website in 2017, contributing to the research on organic consumer products, writing and editing the content on the website to be up to date.