Why shop organic?

blueberries

In an ideal world, our shopping carts would be full of organic foods, but there are limits. If we buy an organic kiwifruit from Italy, will it be healthier for us and the environment than an apple from a local farm? Probably not.

Vitamins in foods start to deteriorate as soon as produce is picked. Research indicates that within 7-10 days, some 70% of the nutritional value of the vegetable is lost (Food Technology, 2007). Supermarkets are also over-packaging organic foods – do our avocados really need to be wrapped in plastic?

So what is organic really? To be organic, a food must be:

  1. produced in an environmentally sustainable way
  2. free range and cruelty free
  3. free of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, hormones or antibiotics
  4. produced without impact on native animal habitats

But… just because a product has the word organic on it, does not mean that it truly is.

Certified Organic is a guarantee to the consumer the product is actually organic.

Certified organic foods are better for the environment and our health, and many people say they have a superior taste. In a recent 2014 study in the British Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that “the concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops” and “the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops”.

There’s nothing new about organics – until the 1950s, all the food we ate was organically produced. It’s only in the last 75 years that foods have been produced with synthetic chemicals and fertilisers.

The Australian Organic Industry: a snapshot

  1. 69 % of food shoppers in Australia claim to have bought at least one certified organic product in a one year period
  2. Highest growth sector is organic dairy, followed by organic beef
  3. Global sales of organic products for babies and children are amongst the most recession proof.
  4. But Australian production of organics is still only 1.25% of total production.

Source: The Australian Organic Market Report (2014)

Top tips when buying organic:

  1. Use an organic box delivery service – they buy in bulk and pass savings onto the consumer. They also know how to correctly store organic produce.
  2. Prioritise buying organic fresh fruit and vegetables*, meat, poultry and dairy foods
  3. Look for Certified organic produce (bearing the National Organic Mark) or the logo of one of the 6 Certification bodies in Australia

*The Environmental Working Group in the US releases an annual guide to pesticide residue on fresh produce (see below).  Foods with the least pesticide residue are often those foods with inedible thick skins– such as mangoes, pineapples and avocados.

organic food

To learn more about organic food and everything else related to diet and nutrition, study the Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics for Personal Trainers (10454NAT). This diploma qualifies personal trainers to become Certified Fitness Nutritional Coaches, allowing them to add personalised meal plans and dietary advice to the list of services they can offer their clients.

This page was last updated on: Monday 27 February 2017

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