You may have done your research and realize that it is time to make some healthy food choices. You, therefore, opt to go for organic foods but may be struggling with what factors you need to consider when making your purchases. You must have a good understanding about why you are making the switch.
Different people have different reasons, and it will determine how you buy the products you need. If, for example, you want to protect the environment, then you will be more interested in knowing the farm-to-fork process. If it is about health, you’ll be more interested in the ingredient list. So what do you need to know?
It is a Wise Idea to Buy Organic Food
Organic foods have several advantages that will benefit you, your family, and the environment. The whole process is chemical-free, meaning there is no use of synthetic chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, fumigants, among others. Such compounds may harm the body and could result in several health issues.
The proponents of organic food talk a lot about the nutritional value being better than what you will find in inorganic foods. This claim may not necessarily be valid. Research shows that there may not be any actual significant difference. So do your research if this is the reason why you are making a switch to organic foods.
Factors to Consider When Buying Organic Foods
1. What is your budget
You should know from the outset that organic produce will cost you approximately 40% more than what you would spend buying conventional food. Many farmers will tell you that organic farming is labor-intensive because most of the processes are manual. The cost of organic agriculture is also higher, which has an overall impact on the final price of the food. The farmer is in it to make money, and they will, therefore, have to price their products appropriately to make a profit. The production levels are also lower when you compare it to what you will get if you are using GMOs and chemicals to improve your yield.
If you do not have too much leeway with your budget, organic foods may be out of your reach. However, one thing you can do is have a small garden where you produce your organic foods. It will require that you do your research, but it is achievable. You could also rear chicken so that you get organic eggs.
2. Prioritize What You Buy
If you are shopping on a budget, it makes sense to prioritize what you buy. Research shows that organic food is especially beneficial to very young children and pregnant women. These groups have weak immune systems and may, therefore, benefit from consuming products that do not have chemicals like preservatives. If you can therefore not afford to go all organic because of the cost aspect, then be careful about what you choose.
Focus on livestock products such as milk and eggs and try and include them in your weekly shopping. For fruits and vegetables, buy organic for those that do not require you to peel off the skin. The highest nutritional value is in the skin, so you can purchase conventional foods for the ones that need peeling.
You will also find that when you buy in season, you will spend a bit less. By buying straight from the farms, you also get to contribute to the local economy.
3. You need to preserve them well or use them immediately
Organic farming will not allow for the use of preservatives. The result is that the food has a short shelf life and you will, therefore, find that you need to make constant trips to the grocery to stock up. You may want to brush up on your home preservation skills, by either pickling or blanching what you buy so that it keeps longer. The other option is to buy in small quantities and use it up immediately. The latter option may be a bit costly in the long run.
4. You May Find It Difficult To Get
Be ready to shop around, because organic food is not very easy to get. As we have already stated, production takes time and money, and many farmers will shy away from doing it. The available farmers may have standing orders, which mean that what they may send to the local stores may be insufficient. If you live in an area with a farmer who does organic farming, you should approach them and try and buy directly from the farm. It may be cheaper for you, and you do not have to fight off the competition.
5. Be Clear About Your Knowledge and Expectations
There is a lot of excitement about organic foods, and you need to be careful about buying into it. Do your research well so that you do not make the switch with unrealistic expectations. You will find so much information online; you can also check out our other articles to inform your thinking.
You will also benefit a lot by asking questions and seeking to establish the authenticity of the responses you get. It does not hurt to read the customer reviews for any products that you are not buying fresh. You get to learn a lot and most importantly know which ones you need to avoid.
6. Check the Ingredient List and Packaging Information
Look at the ingredients of what you’re buying to ensure that there is no preservative or any other chemicals. Also, check the processes and the materials used; for instance, a company that claims to be environmentally-conscious should use biodegradable or recyclable material. If they cannot be honest in the packaging, they will not be realistic about the ingredients in the organic products they are selling.
Making the switch to organic foods is a good idea because of the multiple benefits you get. Research to ensure you understand what the advantages and disadvantages are.
Have the factors we have highlighted above in mind when doing your food shopping. You can get to save quite a bit while ensuring that you remain healthy by eating the right kind of food.