No longer a food trend, organic has become an everyday choice for many people. It’s also now more widely available than ever before, from budget supermarkets to independent shops and online retailers to box schemes.
But what are the benefits of eating organic food? Organic choices often mean a higher cost, but there are ways to eat organic for less. One of the leading voices on all-things organic in the UK is the Soil Association – www.soilassociation.org – so we’ve turned to them for some of the answers to these questions.
5 Reasons to Choose Organic:
1. Happier, healthier animals. Organic means the very highest standards of animal welfare. Organic animals are truly free range and are reared without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers.
2. Knowing exactly what’s in your food. All organic food is fully traceable from farm to fork, so you can be sure of what you’re eating. The standards for organic food are laid down in European law so any food labelled as organic must meet strict rules.
3. Nutritionally different food– scientific research has found organic milk and meat contains around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than their non-organic counterparts. Organic fruit and vegetable crops have up to 68% more antioxidants.
4. Reduced exposure to antibiotics and pesticides. Conventional food production makes wide use of pesticides which can pollute water and the environment. Over 320 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these often turn up in non-organic food. Shockingly, almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU are used on farm animals – even when animals are not even sick. Worryingly, antibiotics are passed down to us through the food chain. In organic farming systems the routine or preventative use of antibiotics is banned.
5. Environment and wildlife benefits. Organic means working with nature, not against it. No system of farming does more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, or protect natural resources like fresh water and healthy soils. Organic farms also have 50% more wildlife than non-organic farms!
5 Ways to Live Well and Eat Organic For Less
1. Shop in season– Buying organic fruit and veg when it’s in season gives you the best value for money. Organic fruit/veg has less pesticides and chemicals and also contains more key antioxidants. Eat Seasonably does the hard work for you by listing all the fruits and veg that are best to eat right now.
2. Try the basics– If you’re new to organic, milk is a great place to start because it gives you lots of benefits. Widely available and good value for money, organic milk has around 50% more beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, and secures a good return for British farmers. And it’s easy to enjoy organic milk when you’re eating out– did you know that McDonalds and Pret a Manger only serve organic milk?
3. Stock up on organic essentials– As they have a longer expiry date, organic store cupboard essentials can be great value. Items like organic baked beans, pasta and canned tomatoes can often be found for the same price as the same non-organic items.
4. Look for deals online– Bag a bargain on a variety of organic foods, as prices are slashed throughout Organic September.
5. Try a different cut of meat. Eating less, but better meat is good for our health and the planet. Trying lower cost organic cuts like shoulder or belly can make a big difference to your wallet – and they have more beneficial nutrients too. Pop into your local butcher for advice on cuts, or make a weekly roast which can provide a couple of meals
Yutaka has a great range of organic products including noodles which also tick the gluten-free and vegetarian boxes too. Throughout September, we’ll have special offers on these products in Tesco so why not check them out?