Demand for organic food is falling as household budgets are squeezed. Are you finding there are fewer organic options in your local supermarket? Have you been priced out of buying organic?
According to a report by the Co-op, the demand for organic food has apparently dropped by more than a fifth since the recession began. I have to say I’m not very surprised.
Even when I was a student many, many years ago, I bought more organic products than I do currently, because I felt strongly about the potential health implications and impact on the environment. I think that these days, organic food is a bit too expensive to be an option.
I now opt to do my food shopping in local stores, not only to support local businesses, but because I find it’s actually cheaper than buying from supermarkets.
I’m also eating more fruit and vegetables than I used to, and I buy most of my fresh produce from local stores where organic options aren’t available. I’ve chosen to ignore the alleged risks that come with food that has been grown with inorganic pesticides.
Instead, I grow my own food when I can and don’t use any pesticides at all, apart from the occasional smattering of slug pellets. I just pick out the bugs with my bare hands.
Ethical eating on the up
Interestingly though, although spending on organic food has fallen by 21% since the downturn, the report says that we’ve been buying more ethical produce. For instance, sales of free-range eggs, sustainable fish and fair-trade products have all increased.
I’m one of the consumers who isn’t cutting back on these ethical products. As eggs, fish and fair-trade products make up less of my shopping basket than fruit and veg, I feel I can afford to contribute to making the world a better place by focusing on these ethical purchases.
Without certainty about the health benefits of organic food, including whether it provides more nutrients or protects me from potentially harmful chemicals, it’s hard for me to know if it’s worth making other sacrifices to fit organic food into my monthly budget.
Would I go back to organic food if I could afford it? Yes – absolutely. I might even make the extra sacrifice now if I strongly believed it would make a big difference to my health.
Have you changed your purchasing habits of ethical and organic products since the recession began? Are you bucking the trend?