“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” This quote by Maya Angelou is true in many aspects of my life. I found myself thinking this just the other day, oddly enough as I was grocery shopping. Instead of grabbing the same fruit snacks off the shelf that I always buy for my children, I swallowed hard, ignored the difference in price, and reached for the organic ones. With regards to feeding my family, as I know better, I am doing better. I love to cook so we don’t rely heavily on processed foods. For the processed foods we do eat I am slowly switching to organic options, an endeavor made easier by the search feature at greenestbeans.com. This was the first time I had purchased these organic fruit snacks. In part because I have been buying the same fruit snacks for years and I know my children like them, and in part because I can buy more of our “old” fruit snacks for the same money. As much as I wish they didn’t, it’s hard not to let finances impact buying decisions.
On the way home from the grocery store I found myself thinking more and more about eating organic and how expensive it can be. I decided to look a little deeper into the topic and find out some of the reasoning behind the sometimes dramatic price differences between conventional foods and organic. I found many explanations for the cost difference between conventionally produced and organic foods, a few of which I have shared below.
* Certification expense
Whether you grow organic crops or manufacture organic foods, they cannot be labeled organic until you have successfully completed the certification process. Initial certification fees aside, there are also fees for certification renewal, inspection, land, equipment, and marketing, to name a few.
* Supply and demand
Supply and demand plays a large role in the organic market. As demand for organic products increases so will supply, which will enable manufacturers to produce items for less money. By purchasing more organic products consumers are sending a message that the properties inherent in those items are important to them. As manufacturers recognize this they will be more willing and able to produce high-quality, lower cost organic products.
* Education and training
The organic scene is constantly changing. Growers and producers of organic food must spend both time and money on educating themselves and their employees in the ever-changing organic climate. Staying current in both organic knowledge and policy can be a time consuming and costly endeavor. In addition, organic companies must ensure that proper protocols are followed in the preparation and handling of foods or they risk losing their organic certification.
* Cheap additives
While conventionally manufactured food can contain inexpensive, synthetic additives to add flavors and/or colors, or to extend the shelf life of their products, organic foods must rely on more expensive (and sometimes harder to find) ingredients.
The organic fruit snacks I bought were met with great enthusiasm by my children (resulting in a two pouch per day limit!). They like them better than the old ones, and they like that they are better for them. I like them better too. I love reading the ingredients, being able to pronounce each one, and knowing what they are. As for the difference in price, I’m happy to pay a little more knowing that I’m feeding my children more nutritious snacks made from quality ingredients. As my oldest daughter put it “Mom, I know they’re more expensive, but really, they’re better for us, that’s more important than what they cost.”