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More people than ever are putting organic products into their shopping trolleys

The designations “organic” and “bio” or “eco” are now legally protected. For consumers this means that if a label says “organic” then they can expect the product to conform to specific organic standards. Organically produced fruit and vegetables are sometimes smaller than conventional ones. “Organic” ready meals and processed foods may taste different to people used to eating food containing flavour enhancers.

Foods produced in accordance with organic standards often cost more than conventionally produced foodstuffs. This is largely due to the different production methods. Most fertilisers based on mineral oil, for example, are forbidden. Fields are kept weedfree by mechanical means, often by hand, rather than through the use of herbicides. This involves higher labour costs, which are reflected in the prices. Organic farmers also do without synthetic insecticides to ensure that risky chemical residues in organic products are kept as low as possible and that the environment is also protected. This results in lower crop yields, which again tend to push prices up

“Organic” guidelines set higher welfare standards for the animals kept for meat, dairy and eggs. This means animals are farmed more extensively and each animal has more space than in many conventional systems. Furthermore, animals are not pushed to reach slaughter weight as fast as possible. Higher animal welfare is another reason why many people are choosing to buy organically farmed food.

“Organic” doesn’t have to mean expensive. Here are a few tips for people wanting to buy organic without overstraining their budgets:

  • Watch out for special offers: you can often buy yesterday’s organic bread at half price, for example.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables when they’re in season.
  • Buying in jumbo packs is usually a better bargain than in small packages.
  • For basic foods like pasta or rice organic grades are often not much more expensive than conventional products.

Source: In Form