(*by organic food I mean food that is produced by honest organic producers whose aim is not only comply with “95 % organic allowance norm”, but to insure that their food is nutritious, healthy and not treated with any dubious solutions).
It’s a very widespread opinion that organic food is unreasonably overpriced.
Some people think that the absence of expensive chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers makes organic food cheaper than non-organic. On the contrary, this primary difference makes organic food more expensive.
In this post, I would like to concentrate on 8 reasons that organic food is much more expensive than non-organic produce.
- No chemicals
Farming that involves no chemicals makes your food more expensive despite the popular opinion mentioned above because it involves more labor. Weeding in organic farming is not a question of a regular spraying, but a real labor-involved action – weeds are removed by hands. Destruction of pests such as aphids and leaf miners, is sometimes done by hand squashing if other organic methods have failed, too.
- Higher loss
Due to absence of chemicals in organic farming, pests become a real problem. Companion planting, beneficial insects, nematodes, plant-based oils and other different organic solutions can be not very effective in some years due to specific weather conditions and higher activity of pests. Therefore, organic farmers can loose more crops than non-organic farmers who are not affected by these issues.
- Shorter shelf life and storage time
Organic food doesn’t last forever like those apples that you buy in the supermarket and then accidentally find a year later in the same shape and look as you bought them when you decide to clean your fridge.
- Soil efficiency
Organic farmers have to use companion planting and crop rotation to keep soil healthy and reduce the number of pests. They also need to avoid crowding (typical problem of intensive farming when very dense planting leads to the spread of deceases) because there is no place for antibiotics in organic farming. Therefore, organic farmers use their soil less efficiently and give it a rest, so it can recover and be rich in nutrients. Conventional farmers don’t bother with all this stuff.
- Speed up growing
Time is money. Organic food grows (slowly) naturally, whereas chemical fertilizers and growth hormones expedite conventional food and livestock growth. This actually is one of the main reasons that non-organic food tastes ‘empty’.
Because of the lower demand and much shorter shelf life organic foods are shipped in smaller quantities but more often, which dramatically increases the cost.
- Higher standards
Organic farming is controlled by governmental organizations, which implies higher standards for livestock living conditions. For instance, conventional feed can be twice as cheap compared to organic feed for the livestock.
- Organic certification
Organic certification is not easy to obtain. It requires a lot of effort, time and money. Organic farms pay additional certification fees to be able to operate in the same sector.
Do you still think that organic food is unreasonably overpriced and it’s just a trick of producers to attract brain-washed consumers? Or do you think that covering cancer treatment is cheaper than eating carcinogen-free food?
I don’t think so. But it’s always up to you how would you like to allocate your budget.