According to the Organic Trade Association’s official website, organic food is now a $49.4 billion industry in the United States. In the last two decades organic food has quickly grown in popularity to become the idealized standard for quality food across the world. Many celebrities and activists enthusiastically highlight the myriad of supposed health benefits from eating a diet of organic foods instead of one consisting of mainly conventional produce.
Organic food is grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and other chemicals that are artificially designed to boost growth and pest resistance.
Chef Daniel Gonzales from Humber College only uses organic foods.
“I had a restaurant for 22 years and all my food was grown locally and grown organic. Maybe the food isn’t as big, but the flavours themselves are more intense.”
In his opinion, the quality of taste, along with the health benefits from being grown naturally make an organic diet the clear food choice for consumers.
“It’s good for you, you’re not ingesting some random chemicals, and I’ve been telling my students to eat all organic and they have been telling me that they feel healthier since they started.” Said Gonzales.
Chef Kire Boseovski currently works at Humber College and Woodbine Racetrack. Boseovski has been a culinary chef for 21 years and says that organic food isn’t as nutritionally superior as most people think.
“There are some notable nutritional differences, but its not major. The difference between the number of vitamins in an organic apple and a normal one is very small.”
Boseovski contends that while he does notice a taste difference between the two types of food, he doesn’t believe that the amount of extra nutrition in organic food warrants the extra price for consumers.
“Organic food is about 30-40 per cent more expensive then regular food options. Its a little bit more nutritious but I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for most people.”
While the popularity around organic food may be as prominent as ever, the discussion around the value organic food provides to consumers on tight budgets has not yet sprouted into the public conversation. Steve Savage is an agricultural technology consultant for the US-based CropLife Foundation. The organization is funded by many of industry’s largest corporations and focuses on research into farming innovation and sustainability.
Savage says that consumers often get too focused on the brands attached to their foods.
He told GH360, “I would say that as a consumer you are best off by choosing your food by things like how it looks, and how long its going to last, as opposed to whether it is or isn’t something specific.”