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Does organic food cost more?

The cost of organic food can stop some people buying it, but poor purchasing habits are usually more to blame for high supermarket bills. Here we look at organic food cost, and the true cost of eating well.

  • Not all organic fruit and vegetables are more expensive

Organic produce isn't always more expensive than non organic options, and sometimes it can be even cheaper. One consumer report found organic lettuce, carrots, cheese and maple syrup were all the same price, or very close, when compared to non organic options. Shop around, and observe specials. You may be surprised to find the organic section you consider to be too pricey is actually very reasonable.

  • Organic market stalls keep prices low

Many organic grocers and markets are able to keep their prices down thanks to the lack of permanent shopfront costs. This allows them to sell organic product for a reduced cost, ensuring you get chemical-free produce without breaking the bank. Plus, you're supporting local growers, which reduces your carbon footprint thanks to decreased chemical use, plus the lack of transport required.

  • You're probably wasting 1/3 of your non organic purchases anyway

If you buy up big in the non-organic supermarket aisle, you may think you're saving money when really you're wasting most of it. Not only does this cause dramatic food waste, it's a waste of your hard earned dollars. Did you know:

  • 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries in Australia ends up as waste. 33% of this is fresh food.
  • Almost half of all fruit and vegetables produced are wasted (that’s 3.7 trillion apples)

So instead of buying in bulk and shunning the organic produce due to cost, buy smarter and better. This means you can treat your family to chemical-free food with a smaller carbon footprint, plus you'll be minimising food wastage.

  • Non organic produce is costing us the Earth, literally

Traditional farming is a huge contributor to global warming. In fact, the United Nations estimates the agricultural industry contributes to upwards of 20% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Organic produce farming uses fewer chemicals, contributing to fewer carbon emissions.

"The main differences between organic and conventional food production is that organic farmers are not allowed to use water-soluble nitrogen and phosphorous fertiliser, and there's environmental impacts associated with those," organic farming expert Professor Carlo Leifert from Southern Cross University told the ABC.

Not only do you need to use fuel to make nitrogen fertiliser, one of the most popular fertilisers is ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, greatly contributing to green house gasses.

Feeding yourself and your family often comes down to cost, but it's worth considering what costs you value. If you're throwing out fruit and veg, you're contributing to food waste, plus you're wasting money! Instead, choose safer, more environmentally farmed organic produce, but buy smarter and buy less. Not only can you taste the difference with every bite or organic produce, the Earth, and everyone on it, will thank you for your discretion.

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