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Posted on 04 Sep 2017 Views 2200 Comments 26

Organic vs. Non-Organic Produce!

Whilst in college, I enrolled onto an Extended Project Qualification (known by us students as an EPQ), which allowed us to study anything that tickled our fancy – providing that we haven’t studied it, or are not going to study it whilst at college.

The point of the EPQ was to learn something new as an individual instead of being taught by a teacher, providing myself with valuable transferable skills that will be very useful after college within a career or in further education. My choice of study was to focus on Organic produce (as well as Superfoods, but that is a different blog post) and I’d love to share my conclusions with you.

As you may know already by browsing the fruit and veg aisles in your local supermarket, the organic version almost always seems to be higher in price, but why is that? Well, it is because the produce has been grown without fertilisers/pesticides - simply without any ‘harmful’ artificial chemicals and more natural ways of growing them are used instead. This is more expensive to do compared to conventional farming with chemicals – as the yield will be higher due to the usage of pesticides to get rid of any unwanted nasties like aphids and caterpillars. The farmers also consider many other options in organic produce farming, such as:

  • Emphasis on animal welfare – preserving burrows, beehives, flowers for insects etc.
  • Soil status – maintaining the quality of the land for future use
  • Crop rotation – steady usage of available nutrients in the soil
  • Maintaining ecosystems – careful farming and maintenance of the farmland and surrounding areas
  • Zero use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) – not natural and artificially produced so not used in organic culture

But, little do we know – any produce labelled as ‘organic’ can still contain those artificial chemicals to a maximum of 5%, so only produce labelled as ‘100% organic’ or ‘fully organic’ are the produce that actually don’t have any artificial chemicals on them! It’s very deceiving indeed. If they do partially contain organic ingredients, these will be listed on the ingredients, but the overall product cannot be labelled as organic, rather that it contains ingredients of organic origin. 1

Are there really any benefits to your health if you choose to consume organic produce rather than non-organic produce?

There isn’t any solid evidence to suggest that organic produce has any positive or negative health impacts, and I feel that this will stay this way for a long time – as years of research would be required to finalise a result (these tests are currently in progress).

So, what other differences are there between organic and non-organic produce – besides the cost?

In fact, there isn’t really much difference. If you are able to buy organic food – it means you are helping to preserve/maintain wildlife and the environment – but as for health benefits, it’s really just the same as conventional non-organic produce. So if you are on a budget and you want the maximum nutritional benefit from your vegetables or fruit (week 13 on plan only), conventional non-organic produce will do the same job to your health as an organic variety would.

BLIND TASTE-TEST

I conducted a taste-test with friends and family to see if they could tell the difference between an organic pink lady apple and a non-organic apple of the same variety. The participants firstly ate a slice of apple A and then after washing their mouth out with water, they tried a slice of apple B and they had to say which they thought was the organic variety. The results shown by this experiment were concluded to ‘no significant difference in taste or texture’ – as only 30% correctly chose the organic variety out of the two, however, all the 30% that chose correctly said it was down to a coincidence and they had guessed their answer.

APPEARANCE

A similar test was made with the same apples before the taste-test, to see if the participants could correctly state which was organic between two pink lady apples in front of them based on sight alone. This experiment came to the same conclusion as the taste-test, which was there wasn’t any convincible difference between the two apples.

References

1 Food Standards Agency (FSA)

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120409205253/http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/farmingfood/organicfood/

Jamie JonesIs it money well spent for Organic Produce and do you even trust the supermarkets if you can't see or taste the difference? Please share your thoughts below and you might be the lucky winner of our exclusive Bluetooth Digital Scales! We will pick our favourite tip/comment on Friday 8th September 2017 at 4pm.

By Jamie Jones, Customer Care Advisor



Win these fantastic Bluetooth Scales - Log your weight on your phone!

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Comments on Organic vs. Non-Organic Produce!
Lesley Ackerman 08/09/2017 12:09
An informative article on organic/non-organic products. I have learnt something new today on buying organic products and will be aware of this when I am shopping. I will try and endeavour to visit our local markets and farmers shops to purchase locally grown products and meat. I am also very fortunate that many of my friends and colleagues have allotments and vegetable patches in their garden - so am able to have a wide range of surprising goodies!
LUCY RYAN 07/09/2017 19:43
It's a shame the cost of organic foods is so high. I buy the 'wonky veg'.
I find this not only tastes as good but lasts longer. Kids are going to moan either way, veg is veg afterall!
Elly Drew 07/09/2017 18:51
I have always bought which ever is likely to last the longest or looks most appetising, or in the case of root vegetables which ever is cheapest. Interesting to read that nutritionally I have not lost out. Thank you
Lynne Easter 07/09/2017 18:49
The reason I wont be buying the more expensive organic foods is that I'm confident that I'm safe buying “conventional” foods so there's no need to. X
Sonia Freitagh 07/09/2017 18:44
Interesting read! The only thing that has put me off buying organic is the cost especially for feeding 5 but now I've read this I think I need to look at quality rather than quantity
Becks short 07/09/2017 18:37
I personally have never bought organic produce in supermarkets, for the simple fact like many...The price tag!!! I do however have the opinion that we really do not know what chemicals are sprayed onto our veggies etc. (Are these labels true to their words?)....and my children are putting that into their little bodies. We've actually spoken about this as husband and wife and for the past 2 years we have homegrown our own veggies, my husband built a polytunnel as we were fortune with our space...We've rescued chickens and free range them in our garden....from all of these categories, we can definitely taste the difference. We know that nothing has been sprayed on them and it's as organic as you will get.....
Thanks for sharing
Mickey (Michaela) Campbell 07/09/2017 17:17
Am I the only person who read this article and thought 'well what's the point in buying organic then?' ?
I can say I've never bought organic and reading this article won't make me buy it either. Especially when your taste test didn't produce evidence of it tasting any different.
Honestly, I'd rather have something that's had pesticide on rather than getting half way through a lettuce and finding a caterpillar.
Julia Perkins 07/09/2017 17:16
Really interesting and informative article, thank you. I do believe that eating organic produce is best, for the wildlife and environmental reasons mentioned, but it is just too expensive. I have to budget for and feed a family of 6 and it's is not affordable.
I also think that supermarket labelling is often misleading, and that people do need educating as to what organic actually means. I am sure that many people do believe that organic food is healthier which the supermarkets will be encouraging I'm sure.
vikki bell 07/09/2017 17:10
interesting reading Jamie, I hope that eventually things turn back to being organic at a fair price
Kirstie Derbyshire 07/09/2017 16:50
Good read, great informative article!

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