Welcome to our organic food section at HillsandFarm! Here, we delve into the fascinating world of organic food, taking you behind the scenes to show you how we cultivate our products with respect for nature and commitment to quality. Through our blog posts, we will share with you tips on how to incorporate organic foods into your daily life, healthy recipes, and the science behind organic farming. We are passionate about healthy and sustainable food, and we want to help you understand why opting for organic can make a difference not only in your health, but also in the world. Join us on this journey through organic living at HillsandFarm.
Increasing demand for organic foods and their prices
The organic food industry is experiencing a surge in demand, with certified organic products often having higher prices and smaller sizes. The USDA defines organic as food produced using organic methods, including federal standards addressing soil fertility, pest and weed control, and animal grazing practices. However, many consumers are not aware of the steps required for a product to receive the USDA Organic seal. In 2014, a survey of 300 shoppers found that 70% purchased organic food, and only 20% could define organic. Demand for organic food is at a record high among consumers, and it is only going up. In 2020, U.S. organic sales surged by 12.4% to $61.9 billion.
Definition of organic food and lack of awareness among consumers
Organic farming was first introduced in the early 20th century to address soil erosion and depletion, and was later expanded by the Industrial Revolution. The Organic Foods Production Act in 1990 established a national standard for organic food and fiber production, which defines organic agriculture as an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.
Organic certification and availability in grocery stores
Organic certification allows for products with more than 95% organic content, while multi-ingredient products with less than 70% certified organic content cannot use the organic seal or the word «organic» on the front of the food package. As of February 2021, organic products in the U.S. can be found in nearly 20,000 natural food stores and almost 75% of conventional grocery stores.
Factors contributing to the booming organic market and lack of supply
The booming organic market in the U.S. can be attributed to several factors, including the shrinking price gap between organic and conventional products. In 2018, organic food and beverage items cost an average of 24 cents more than conventional food, down from 27 cents in 2014. Organic produce is getting cheaper due to rising dependency on fossil resources, government subsidies, and more private label retailers entering the organic food market. The high cost of organic production, as well as the lack of interest from farmers, limits the supply of organic products and keeps prices high. Over the past decade, shoppers have become increasingly health-conscious, with 54% of consumers caring more about the healthfulness of their food and beverage choices in 2020 than in 2010.
Preference for organic food due to health concerns and conflicting data
Some health-conscious consumers prefer organic foods over conventional products due to concerns about highly processed foods, artificial ingredients, and the effects of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. A 2020 Pew Research study found that 76% of adults surveyed bought organic foods for their health benefits, followed by environmental concerns (33%) and convenience (22%). However, there is conflicting data on whether organic foods are healthier or safer.
Exposure to pesticides and possible adverse health effects
The consumption of food contaminated with pesticides is a major source of human pesticide exposure, and a 2017 review in Environmental Health suggests that our current levels of exposure to pesticides may lead to adverse effects on children’s cognitive development, Parkinson’s disease, fertility problems, and cognitive decline. The average conventional apple in the United States today contains about four different pesticide residues. Science is not yet at the stage where we can say with certainty what daily exposures to four or five pesticides from food are doing to our children.
Nutritional value and differences between organic and conventional foods
Organic food does not mean that the produce is grown without any pesticides. A 2005 University of California study suggests that the negative public perception of pesticides is overblown, and that the pesticide residue in both organic and conventional crops are too low to have any adverse health effects.
Popularity of organic grains during the pandemic
There is no significant difference in nutritional value between organic and conventional crops. Organic food has between 20-25% higher levels of what’s called antioxidants, but the differences in the nutritional profile of organic foods are significant, especially in animal products such as meat, eggs, milk, and dairy products.
Need to support local farmers and consume homemade foods
During the pandemic, organic grains like rice and pasta were flying off the shelves due to their long shelf life. To earn the National Organic seal, plants cannot have been genetically modified and must be grown without the aid of unauthorized fertilizers, weed killers, or pesticides. However, there is a lack of strong evidence on the nutritional value of organic food.
Growth of the organic industry, risk of fraud and support for local farmers.
The rapid growth of the organic food market, the higher potential for fraud, and increased funding have allowed the NOP to significantly increase its enforcement staff over the past year. In conclusion, the organic food industry is here to stay, but it is crucial to support local farmers and eat more fruits and vegetables from your backyard.