Food Fears: No Need for Organic Anxiety

Walking down the aisles of your local supermarket, you've probably seen all the product packaging promoting the benefits of organic food. Everywhere we look, we’re taught that organic food is healthier, more nutritious, and free of chemical substances when compared to conventional foods. Some products even claim to protect consumers from cancer-causing pesticides. (I’ll take those in bulk, please!)

So is organic food truly a miracle? An escape from all our processed and genetically-altered products?

According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, 85% percent of Americans think so. Corporations such as Whole Foods MarketBen & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, and Wild Oats are profiting from publicity about environmental topics and our society’s obsession with food and health issues.

Many consumers assume that organic foods don’t contain pesticides or chemical fertilizers, but that may not be accurate. In most cases, organic farming is defined by what the farmers do not do to their crops rather than what they do. Even today, there seems to be little consistency in the methods of organic farming. Most of the organic movement is based on each farmer’s personal attitude, tactics, and philosophy on farming.

Some food manufacturers lead consumers to think that organic food offers nutritional benefits not found in other foods. But this isn’t true. Conventional brands have the same vitamins and minerals as organic products. Even the Organic Trade Association has published reports concluding that there is no scientific evidence that organic food provides more vitamins and minerals.

So with the expensive prices of organic foods and no extraordinary benefits, how will these businesses grow? How will they entice customers away from non-organic products?

Enter the “food fear” campaigns.

Some organic retailers design product packaging and advertisements that create broad public misperceptions, to discourage the use of products that are sometimes just as safe and usually more affordable.

This tactic seems to be working: U.S. organic food sales represent a six-billion dollar industry. And growth in certain food categories, like baby food, has increased by 110%.

So, the next time you go grocery shopping, pay attention to the marketing, and recognize it for what it is. And don’t be afraid to not go organic. Stick to foods that won’t break the bank and guarantee the same great nutrients…now that’s nothing to be afraid of.