Do you think organic food is healthier or lower in fat? Not only are you wrong, you’re also not alone. So when exactly is it worthwhile to buy organic?
What goes through your mind when you see the word ‘organic’ on food? Is it healthier? More expensive? Low in fat? Or are you just left a little confused?
There’s been a rash of research into organic food lately, and confusion seems to be the key word coming out.
What research tells us about organic food
Last week’s big news was that one in five people think the term organic means the product is low in fat. In the same study, nearly a quarter admitted they were unsure what the term even means.
Rewind a few weeks to a Belgian study investigating consumers’ knowledge about organic vegetables. After questioning people on their knowledge about organic farming, researchers concluded that consumers could benefit from more information.
It’s an area we’ve researched in the past, too. We found that people buy organic for a number of reasons – one being the perception that it’s nutritionally better than conventional food. But the FSA busted that myth last year with a study that showed organic food provides no significant nutritional or health benefits compared to conventional food.
It’s not hard to see why people are confused. Stick the word organic on the packet and convenience food feels a lot less guilty. I should know – I’ve fallen for it enough times.
So when should you buy organic?
The FSA says ‘eating organic food is one way to reduce consumption of pesticide residues and additives’, so if you’re concerned about the environment it’s a worthwhile investment.
For me, it’s a matter of taste. I buy organic carrots and tomatoes purely because they taste better. But I can’t afford to shop exclusively organic, so if it doesn’t taste any different I stick to the conventional version.
But are these reasons enough to make you buy organic? Organic sales declined by 13% last year, but the Soil Association expects them to grow again by 2-5% in 2010.
That’s a lot of people who still buy-in to organic lifestyles. Let’s just hope they know what they’re getting.