The Rise of Organic Food in Today’s World
Since the beginning of the 2000s that consumers have been paying more attention to organic food. Concerns regarding their health, diets, and the environment are the main reasons.
The reality is that more and more consumers pay attention to labels and are demanding transparency. After all, they want to know what they are eating and drinking.
While at the beginning of the 21st century, organic products were seen as just another small niche meant for hippies and health nuts, this reality and perception have changed. In fact, millions of Americans are already buying organic food regularly.
Interesting Facts About Organic Food
One of the most interesting facts regarding organic products is that you can already find it in many different places. From club stores to supercenters, and even traditional grocery store chains already have many different organic foods for sale. Large retailers like Carrefour, Woolworths, Walmart, Kroger, and Costco, are just some examples.
As you can easily understand, as organic products become more available, more consumers will buy it. According to this survey, more than 80% of Americans are already buying organic food. Nevertheless, what is interesting is the fact that despite this increase, organic food sales are less than 10% of all food sold in the United States.
Why is organic food so expensive?
One of the main reasons for this low percentage is that organic products are still very expensive. According to this report, organic food usually costs 20% more on average than traditionally produced food. So, even if you want to buy only organic food, your budget may not allow it. This means that you may need to buy only a part of the food organic and the other part traditionally grown.
Up until this moment, we have been only looking at the price from the consumer point of view. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that the whole organic market needs to grow. It needs not only to have a larger offer but also to be able to offer different organic products. As you can easily understand, this implies more organic farmers.
In what concerns the United States, for example, the country has about 2 million farms, according to this report. While the number may be more than enough, the truth is that less than 1% are organic farms. In addition to this, the US farmland division is not favoring organic food either. After all, two-thirds are exclusively dedicated to growing biofuel feedstocks like soybeans and corn, and growing animal feed.
So, if part of these two-thirds of farms were converted into farms dedicated to producing organic food, the quantities and diversity of organic food would increase drastically. Not only consumers would benefit from a price reduction as we would all be contributing to the protection of watersheds and soil health.
We need to talk about the climate change!
The environmental and climate benefits of producing more organic food are also diverse. For example, if a farmer decided to raise dairy cows organically, for example, the cows had to graze on pasture for at least 120 days every single year. This would clearly decrease their methane emissions. But there’s more. Another huge advantage of organic farming is that it consumes a lot less energy (about 45% less) than conventional production. This is mainly due to the fact that it doesn’t use nitrogen fertilizers. Besides, organic farming emits 40% fewer greenhouse gases because farmers use cover crops and composting, practice crop rotation, and eliminate fossil fuel-based inputs.
The main challenges for Organic Farmers
Another interesting fact about organic farms is that they are mostly midsized or small and farmers are usually younger than conventional farmers. The Challenges For Organic Farmers
It’s easy to assume that new farmers should become organic farmers to increase the amount of organic food available. However, this is easier said than done. When a new farmer wants to become an organic farmer, he needs to first have a 3-year transition period to cleanse the land. This would all be great but during this time, farmers can’t label their products as organic. But they still need to follow all organic standards such as learning how to manage ecosystem processes and forgoing use of harmful chemicals. This means that during this period also, farmers’ results in the short-term tend to decline.
As you can see, farmers have almost no gain in becoming organic farmers. There isn’t even good federal government support to aid them. But this doesn’t need to stay this way. For example, the Arizona State University’s Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems issued a report where some actions can be taken by the Biden administration are identified. It’s also important to acknowledge that while the government spends billions of dollars every year in support of agriculture, about two-thirds of all this money goes to the hands of the top 10% richest farms. Well enough of the challenges, now lets us focus on the benefits of consuming organic products!
Uncovering The Benefits Of Organic Food
As we mentioned above, organic food has many benefits. The truth is that how your food is grown has a huge impact on both your mental and physical health but also on the environment. Here are some of the main benefits of organic food:
1: It Contains Fewer Pesticides
Conventional agriculture usually uses many different chemicals including insecticides, herbicides, and synthetic fungicides. The bad part is that they all leave residues in the food that you eat.
2: It’s Often Fresher!
Since organic food doesn’t include preservatives, it doesn’t last long. This means that it is usually sold near the place where it is grown.
3: It’s Usually Better For The Environment
One of the main reasons for consumers to prefer organic food is related to their concerns regarding the environment. The reality is that organic farming usually conserves water, increases soil fertility, may reduce pollution, and usually uses less energy.
4: Organic Milk And Meat Are Usually Richer In Specific Nutrients
According to a European study dated back from 2016, some nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.
Overall speaking, organic food has been rising since the beginning of this century. However, it is important to keep in mind how much it can still evolve.
We at Origen Hispania offer high-quality Organic food and beverages such as Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil, Organic Wines from Spain among other food products. Contact us for more information.