“Why Pay More?” That’s not only the marketing come-on of a major grocery chain, but a question many consumers have about the relative value of the apparent high price of organic fruits and vegetables. A quick stroll through the produce isles quickly reveals that non-organic produce is cheaper than organic produce. So, if we only consider the sticker price on the food, the answer is clear. Cost of food is the number one determining factor in food choice; the major reason people eat fast food is that it’s cheaper. Therefore, if the short term cost of food is all we’re concerned about, non-organic food is the clear cut winner, and there is simply no reason to “pay more.”
However, there are other things to consider when thinking about the price of food. An important factor is the relative value of organic food versus non-organic produce. In other words, if it could be shown that organic food is actually “better” for you than non-organic food, then one could argue that it was more valuable, and therefore worth the extra price.
A major new study has found that organic food is better for your health in two important ways. The researchers analyzed 343 previous studies and concluded that there are “statistical significant differences” in composition between organic and non-organic food. Specifically, organic food has more antioxidants, which have been linked to lower rates of chronic diseases, such as coronary vascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Organic food provides the equivalent antioxidants of one to two extra portions of fruits and vegetables each day. Secondly, the researchers discovered that pesticide residue were four times higher in conventional crops than organic crops, and that the conventional crops had higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cd, or cadmium.
“Why Pay More?” Perhaps the real question should be: “When do you want to pay-now or later?” Do you want to save money today, and pay for it later with increased risk of disease later? It’s up to you . . . The age-old maxim “You get what you pay for” is decidedly apropos when it comes to organic food.