Why Do Consumers Shy Away From Buying Organic Food?

Organic Food
Emeric Brard

Lifestyle Writer

Aug 01, 2021

You stand in front of the fruit and vegetable shelf in the supermarket and wonder which choice is the right one. Is it more sustainable to buy unpackaged conventional tomatoes, or is it better to buy organic tomatoes wrapped in plastic? Which variant is both healthier for the human body and more environmentally friendly for our planet?

Organic products are usually 30-40% more expensive than conventional foods. Still, six out of every ten Australian households now buy organic food on occasion. Popular products include fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry and dairy. The reason why organic products are so popular is that the buyer assumes that they are purchasing quality, health and a clear conscience. On the other hand, there are also consumers who do not place so much trust in these attributes.This group of consumers shows that, in general, trust is surprisingly low when it comes to the effects of organic products on the environment and human health. The arguments of these consumers are as follows:

  • Organic doesn’t taste good
  • Organic – nobody controls that anyway
  • Organic is too expensive
  • Organic – that’s just marketing
  • Organic contains just as many pollutants
  • Organic products are not healthier
  • Plant protection: The Bios also spray!
  • Animals in organic farms are not doing any better either
  • Organic is not better for the climate either
  • Regional is more sustainable than organic
  • Organic cannot feed the world
  • Organic – that’s just lifestyle anyway
  • Unpackaged is better than organic
  • Organic – that only works thanks to subsidies
  • Organic products also come from monocultures
  • There used to be no organic, and it didn’t harm people
  • Those who buy organic are not that environmentally conscious either
  • Organic plants are exposed to the pollutants from the neighbouring field
  • Organic products don’t have a long shelf life

fats, heart health, omega-3

In the following I would like to comment on some of these arguments.

1. Not everyone can afford organic! 

If you have little money, you cannot make a large selection in the quality of your food. Sad as it is, it is unfortunately true. While billions in taxpayers’ money flow into the expansion of industrial agriculture (including factory farming), organic farms receive only a fraction of the subsidies, and even though organic products would be much cheaper economically (organic farming protects the climate and the soil) and are produced without numerous pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The artificially low prices of conventional goods often lead consumers to avoid “organic”. Almost every citizen could have a largely organic diet.

Because even if “organic” tends to be more expensive, everyone could manage – with great commitment and meticulous budget planning – to eat organic.

2. Organic foods are not healthier

There are always studies that show that certain foods from organic farming have no health benefits compared to conventional products. The fact is: differences in taste and quality cannot always be measured. But it is also a fact that there are differences in some products. Especially when exposed to pesticides. Organic products almost always do very well here. However, organic is about more than taste and quality. An essential basic idea of ​​the organic movement is sustainability. A cultivation method that produces high-quality, tasty products, but which threatens the climate, biodiversity and groundwater, is simply not sustainable. The ecological costs of such greedy cultivation methods are not charged to customers at the checkout. They are at the expense of society, the climate and biodiversity, to name just a few.  

3. Organic is not organic at all

Huge fields that are cultivated with large machines – that does not always correspond to the image that one has of ecological agriculture. There are large monocultures in organic agriculture – and here and there environmentally harmful pesticides are also used (e.g. copper). Some farmers only manage part of their farm organically. There are organic farmers who see organic purely as a certification with which higher sales prices can be achieved. Often, however, it is also farmers who work organically because they want to work sensibly and sustainably. It is important to them to keep traditional and ecologically sustainable cultivation methods – even if that is not always possible.

4. Organic – nobody controls that anyway

The organic certification is one of the most strictly controlled food certifications. In order to be allowed to use the certification, the farmer has to be checked regularly by an organic inspection body. 1 – 2 inspections are due each year.  The fact is: there are also fraudsters among organic farmers who try to deceive inspectors. However, these businesses also take high risks. Anyone caught gets decertified. However, the vast majority of farmers produce honestly. It is they who have to suffer most from fraudsters in the industry because the bad reputation does not only hit the culprits. Organic cannot give an absolute guarantee but it is probably the best and most strictly controlled quality standard for food that currently exists.

5. Organic products often have a shorter shelf life

Yes, that’s true! One disadvantage is the short shelf life of organic foods. Since artificial preservatives are not used in the production of organic food, they often do not keep as long as comparable products from conventional production to which these substances have been added. The solution is to buy small quantities more often and always enjoy fresh ingredients.  There is hardly anything that lasts as long as a prejudice. The more often a prejudice is repeated by others or by oneself, the more it solidifies. It always seems to be getting “truer”. This also applies to prejudices against organic products. So it’s no wonder that I keep coming across the same prejudices against organic products and ecological sustainability. Most of the time, these are disguised as arguments, but basically they’re prejudices that are repeated over and over.

I like to quote the saying:

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Who does not want something, finds reasons.”

So let’s go ahead and find new ways for an environment and body that’s worth living in.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Emeric Brard

Lifestyle Writer

Emeric Brard is a writer for The Carousel and Women LoveTech.

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