As consumers become more aware and choosy about the products they take home from the supermarket, the organic produce selection has soared in popularity. Choosing organic can be a statement, personal choice or health reason. Whatever your reason behind choosing organic or thinking about going organic, understanding why it’s different from other products is important. Knowledge is power. Therefore, understanding the various reasons why organic is different makes sense.
Organic products are made working with (not against) nature; this means better animal welfare, less pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the lands, which is better for the world.
Organic is different
Farming methods really do make a difference to the quality of the food we eat. According to the Soil Association, the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use, research has shown that there are significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic farming (published in the British Journal of Nutrition). A team at Newcastle University found in 2014 that organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally grown crops.
A new study, published in the same journal, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced produce. These studies, led by Newcastle University and an international team of experts, are the largest systematic review of this kind.
According to the Soil Association, organic milk and dairy contain slightly higher concentrations of iron, vitamin E and some carotenoids while organically produced crops of cereals, fruit and vegetables contained up to 68% more antioxidants than non-organic crops. Also organically grown fruit and vegetables contain lower concentrations of pesticides and the toxic heavy metal, cadmium. (Soil Association)
Even if you don’t believe in these figures, what makes organic a good choice for everyone is the fact that you can know what exactly is in your food! All organic food is completely traceable from farm to your plate, so you know what you put in your mouth or on your family’s plate. The standards for organic produce are cemented in European law, so any food labelled organic must meet strict rules.
Certified organic produce is always GM free, hydrogenated fats and unnecessary artificial food colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards. Also, certified organic farming bans routine or preventative use of antibiotics, which helps you to avoid any unnecessary antibiotics.
What to look for?
In the UK, in order to know that the food you buy is really organic and certified, look for the Soil Association logo, as this means the food has been produced to the highest possible standards.
As this blog only covers a few of the many benefits of going organic but you’re not yet convinced that choosing organic makes sense for you, doing a little bit of research couldn’t hurt.