Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no

May 25, 2015

By David Lazarus

Kristin DiMarco was heading into a Trader Joe’s in West Los Angeles the other day and knew for sure what she wouldn’t be buying: anything organic.

“I just feel like I’ve already built up an immunity to anything that might be in my food,” the 26-year-old told me.

Besides, she said, why would she want to pay a markup that can run double or triple the cost of conventional food?

“I don’t think there’s a big-enough difference in quality to justify those prices,” DiMarco said.

She’s not alone. The market research firm Mintel released a study last week showing that younger consumers — the fickle Gen X and millennial crowds — are decidedly cynical about the high prices charged for organic goods.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

23 comments on “Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no

  • One of the side effects of globalisation is hiding the country of origin from the consumer. China is notorious for over use of pesticides. How do you protect yourself other than by buying organic?

    Anti-organic people presume the only reasons for buying organic are selfish. You might buy organic to protect the soils, the protect the bees and birds, to avoid harming fish. You may be buying local to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You may be interested in humane treatment of animals which often goes with organic.

    When chains stop selling non-organic produce, the prices drop. They can bulk buy and they have less waste. The high price of organic has to do with the low volume, not so much inherent organicity.



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  • Organic food is as good as the institution certifying it. Here in the EU, just about anybody can build up such an entity and have their own products certified as organic. Even if they aren’t different in any measurable way -except price- from the “standard” food.

    And this is not surprising when the watched over is the employer of the watchmen, isn’t it?

    So: get your certifications straight, then we will be talking.



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  • I want a new mark that rolls up

    water use

    fertiliser environmental burden and half life

    food miles/non green energy use

    biocide, toxicity burden and half life

    GMO monoculture offsets etc. (this deserves a good practise stamp of its own)

    local biodiversity burden.

    Not some “natural” wooish stamp for the knitted muesli aga set



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  • I’ve always regarded ‘organic’ as a label no different than ‘fat free’. It’s a marketing label with caveats; it is becoming increasingly well known in the public, that ‘fat free’, often means sugar laden.

    Consumers trying to do the best thing they can for their health, often make ‘fat free’ choices, or buy blended ‘organic’ fruit drinks (artificially concentrated fructose) from fad shops – never understanding that fat and sugar are processed in their bodies as the same thing. Fat being stored sugar, with active sugar (at the cellular level) being Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

    It does not matter where you get sugar, be it from fruit or pork cracking, low fat ice cream or pasta, potatoes or corn – it is still the same thing to all living things (ATP). Cats from large to small live entirely on water, protein, calcium and fat.

    Human intelligence is a by-product of a high energy organ – fat is nature’s most powerful product, pure stored sugar. Fat is currency – gold for predator and prey; and Humanity learned to extract this most efficiently from plants in the form of carbohydrate sugars, and from animals in the form of fat, muscular stock.

    The main thing that is ‘organic’ in fruit, vegetables or animals that Humanity favors is ATP.



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  • I buy on the basis of eco, compassion and taste.

    For lucky western me, dietary energy needs is a few percent of my income. My overconsumption of it (energy) and my subsequent under-metabolic use of it has me prefering the three measures above.



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  • My family is mixed in its purchase choices, due both to economic factors and culture.

    I try to balance my choices on understanding complex factors so mentioned, but that is because like you Phil, I am Western. My wife, who is from an underdeveloped country (and my children by default of ‘Mothers’ prerogative’) tend to eat as she does.

    One thing that I have noticed is that I tend to select low fat, high protein meats, non starchy vegetables and low carbohydrate vegetables over starchy; while my wife, our children and her extended family, choose starchy vegetables and low protein, high fat meats.

    There isn’t really any point to my observation here, just that I notice it in my travels.



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  • The purpose of buying organic is not so much for oneself (I know the chemical residue is probably within acceptable limits for the consumer) but for the labourers who harvest our food who are exposed to considerably higher quantities on a daily basis, and for the health of our ecosystems.



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  • So this article is supposed to education or inform?

    Why does the Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science link to sub Daily Mail articles?

    Embarrassing.



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  • Two thoughts.

    First. Absolutely, there are many possible reasons to by organic, among mine being a hatred of monoculture and a concern for animal welfare.

    Second. I don’t think the price of organic is simply about volume. I’m pretty certain that the supermarkets use a premium pricing model for organics (and fair-trade), with the purpose to making as much profit as possible from those who will pay. This fits with the brainwashing whereby people think that supermarkets provide the best value (which works particularly well in towns with no grocers!). You’re certainly right, in the sense that organic only grocers are often much cheaper than the supermarkets.



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  • It does not matter where you get sugar, be it from fruit or pork
    cracking, low fat ice cream or pasta, potatoes or corn – it is still
    the same thing to all living things (ATP). Cats from large to small
    live entirely on water, protein, calcium and fat.

    Hmm, I’m not sure this is true. The time taken to break down food is generally accepted to be important. Although all sugar is eventually the same, the metabolic processes make a difference to your health.



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  • @OP “I just feel like I’ve already built up an immunity to anything that might be in my food,” the 26-year-old told me.

    Perhaps she is going to publish a scientific paper on her resistance to insecticides, herbicides, toxic effluents, and anti-biotic resistant bacteria! –
    Although, I have to admit that scientific journals don’t accept the “feelings” of the ignorant, as evidence! http://www.explainthatstuff.com/land-pollution.html



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  • Ferka
    May 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    So this article is supposed to education or inform?

    It’s usually the comments dissecting and analysing it, which educate and inform: – both on the topic, and on the superficial disinformation circulated in the media.



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  • dvbivs
    May 26, 2015 at 7:19 am

    It does not matter where you get sugar, be it from fruit or pork cracking, low fat ice cream or pasta, potatoes or corn – it is still the same thing to all living things

    Actually sugar comes in various forms.

    http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fructose-vs-sucrose-6271.html

    Fructose is called fruit sugar because of its presence in fruits. Fructose is a monosaccharide, meaning it is a single sugar molecule consisting of six carbon atoms, six oxygen atoms and 12 hydrogen atoms.

    Sucrose, also called table sugar, is a disaccharide consisting of one molecule of glucose linked with one molecule of fructose. Glucose has a chemical composition identical to that of fructose, but the atoms are arranged differently. Dietary sucrose is broken down into glucose plus fructose by an enzyme called sucrase present in the walls of your small intestine, and the two sugars are absorbed into your blood. An increase in blood glucose stimulates insulin secretion from your pancreas to facilitate glucose transport into your tissues, whereas fructose in your blood does not tend to stimulate pancreatic insulin production.

    Even commercially produced sucrose, can come from sugar-cane or sugar-beet with different agricultural regimes.



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  • Roedy. China may be notorious for over use of pesticides. China also imports a lot of the “organic” food available in US. Do you trust the certifiers in China? Organic food certification does not include any kind of residue testing or e. coli testing. Here is a link on problems with organics in China http://www.naturalnews.com/039195_organic_foods_China_pollution_nightmare.html

    You may be buying organic to reduce greenhouse gas, but if you really want to reduce greenhouse gas the best choice would be herbicide tolerant GMO food grown in reduced tillage systems. Pesticides are used in organics, many of which (i.e. pyrethrin) are toxic to both bees and fish. Again the best choice to eliminate effects on fish and bees would be GMO Bt crops.

    Organic produce is higher not only at the retail but at the wholesale level. There are several reasons for this, but it is largely because organic pesticides are more expensive, mechanical weed control is more expensive and the yield per unit of land is generally lower.

    GMOs don’t promote monoculture, mechanical harvesting does. How many of you here want your children to have a career harvesting crops by hand?



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  • I’m fortunate in that my husband and I own acreage and can grow many fruits and vegetables, so I know exactly what we’re eating. We also have chickens, which are treated humanely (in fact, they’re spoiled) and fed naturally, so I know exactly where my eggs are coming from. Whatever we can’t produce ourselves we source and buy locally from known organic producers. Our reasons are self-sufficiency, supporting local farmers and businesses, reducing long-distance transport of food which contributes to greenhouse gases, spread of disease, and exploitation of workers in other countries; and getting away from inhumane, wasteful, and polluting corporate food production. Whatever excess vegetables, fruit and eggs we produce we donate to local food banks.



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  • Sue Blue
    May 26, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Our reasons are self-sufficiency, supporting local farmers and businesses, reducing long-distance transport of food which contributes to greenhouse gases, spread of disease, and exploitation of workers in other countries; and getting away from inhumane, wasteful, and polluting corporate food production.

    The short walk from my veg-plot to the kitchen or to the freezer, is similarly lacking in air-miles and CO2 producing transport! Many vegetables can be left in the ground until they are required and then eaten fresh.



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  • So, this woman Kritin DiMarco “feels” that her body is now immune to pesticides? Wow, I keep wondering if stupidity is a conscience choice and I wonder what she’s feeding her children. She, and a few hundred million other people should take a quick look at the recent Consumer Reports list on dangerous pesticides in foods. Non organic broccoli and blueberries are pretty safe to eat. Non organic bell peppers are dangerous.

    Pesticide laden, mass produced food is for the ignorant masses.



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  • The article “informs” us what we already knew, that many people have no clue what “organic” means. The interesting information which I didn’t know was the survey of younger people who are skeptical of the organic lable.



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  • hgldr
    May 27, 2015 at 11:42 am
    The interesting information which I didn’t know was the survey of younger people who are skeptical of the organic lable.

    I would not give that cherry-picked bit from the survey much weight.

    it simply shows that the ignorant, and those who are not street-wise about deceptive labelling, have no idea about what they are buying. – but you would hardly expect better from superficial articles such as this one!

    There are many more useful details in the linked survey, than in the OP article.



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