Q. Glen, Is Organic Food Worth the Cost?
A.Seems like everywhere you turn these days people are talking about the big “O.” They want to know if it’s really good, if there’s a way to get it fast and how much they’ll have to fork out to get in on the action. The big “O,” otherwise known as “organic,” seems like a healthy choice. Well, the time has come to get down and dirty and dish up the dirt on the organic craze.
Just a few years ago, organic foods mostly hibernated in natural food stores. Today, conventional supermarkets and mainstream stores have caught on, stocking their shelves with organic products. According to a market research firm known as Packaged Facts, organic products now account for 49 percent of total retail sales, about the same as natural food stores (48 percent).
In the past, finding a clear definition of organic was a task in and of itself. In June 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture finally implemented the first National Organic Program. Now the organic seal must adhere to federal standards. The USDA defines “organic” food as food grown and processed without using most conventional pesticides, without fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, without biotechnology and without ionizing radiation.
Consumers may wish to buy organic for a variety of reasons, but the most common apprehension against the big “O” products usually concerns the price.
“Much of the added expense of organic is from the higher production costs -- growing and harvesting of organic food is more labor intensive and requires more land,” says nutritionist Susan Burke. The average price difference between organic produce and non-organic produce is around 20 percent.
Is it worth it to dish out a few extra dollars to buy organic? “The tolerance level for pesticides contained in organic foods is low, only 5 percent. Nevertheless, pesticides may be present," Burke says. “There is more than one reason to eat organic. Organic farming is more ecologically friendly. The use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer affects the environment, often killing all insects and pests and sometimes affecting non-targeted animals.” According to Burke, whether you choose organic or conventional food, what really matters is the nutrient content and overall balance of your diet as a whole
“If you're buying organic, remember: Even organic white flour and refined grains and organic sugar are not your best choice. Choose whole grains, whole-grain breads and crackers,” she said.
The demand for convenient meals in today’s fast-paced lifestyles is high, but so is the need for balanced nutrition. With the growing concern for the environment and the mounting awareness of the importance of healthy food, many of the same people, who are switching to organic foods, are also becoming vegetarian because it matches the kind of low-fat, high-fiber diet recommended by dieticians. Luckily, because of the rising number of consumers basing their shopping decisions on these concerns, natural and organic food company’s are standing up to the plate and serving up tasty organic convenience.
Top brands such as Amy’s Kitchen, Cedarlane Natural foods, Kashi and Van’s International foods are making it easier than ever -- offering consumer quality, convenience and tons of variety. Amy’s Kitchen, the nation’s leading natural frozen-food brand, for example, has created more than 80 frozen meals, including pizzas, pocket sandwiches, pot pies, entrées, snacks and whole meals.
Whether they're natural-food lovers, vegetarians or those merely seeking taste and convenience, millions are enjoying the tasty convenience created by Amy’s Kitchen. The family-run company, named after the youngest child in the family, started in 1987 and has flourished ever since. For consumers seeking top quality natural foods, Amy’s Kitchen is hard to beat.
The development of these great-tasting, convenient meals that are reasonably priced has resulted in greater public demand, which has, in turn, resulted in higher availability of organic food. From natural-food stores to conventional supermarkets, the range of natural food options continues to grow. With a higher annual market growth and greater mainstream market retention than ever before, researchers predict it’s going to keep growing.Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
Any questions? Ask Glen!