Organic food is becoming the new health mantra. As awareness about health benefits of consuming organically grown crops, vegetables, and animal products increase, many are jumping on the bandwagon and going organic.
While it might be a healthier, chemical-free lifestyle to adopt, it is also expensive. The big question is whether you can actually afford it?
What is organic food?
Many vegetables, fruits, and animal products have been found to have higher traces of chemicals which could have an impact on our health. Organic foods grown naturally and without usage of chemicals are touted to be healthier and more sustainable.
Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids usage of man-made fertilizers and pesticides. Instead it relies on the agricultural systems of crop rotation, plant (and animal) manures and biological pest control.
Food staples made from such methods comply with standards of organic farming in order to get its certification.
Cost of organic food was found to be higher by 50-150 percent than conventional food, in an online store. Organic variants are available in most food categories – be it fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, spices and edible oils.
How much does it cost?
Organic food costs more than conventional food. The production costs for organic foods are higher because of greater labour requirements. Moreover, farmers don’t produce enough to lower their overall overhead costs.
Cost of organic food was found to be higher by 50-150 percent than conventional food, in an online store. Organic variants are available in most food categories – be it fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, spices and edible oils. For instance, half a kilo of pomegranate cost Rs 50 while its organic variant is double of that. A kilo of basmati rice costs Rs 72 and its organic variant Rs 140 – or 92 percent more. Cold pressed groundnut oil costs 125 percent more than the regular. In effect, one should prepare for a 30-40 percent spike in the grocery budget. Depending upon the income level of the household, grocery comprises anywhere between 10-20% of the overall household budget. A 40 % increase could effectively mean the overall expenses (budget) increasing by 4-8 percent.
Adopting an uncompromising organic lifestyle costs a lot. If you are taking the plunge and going organic, ensure it isn’t compromising on your key financial goals. For instance, one should continue to save 20 percent of their income for retirement and other goals. If it is not fitting, ensure you cut on other unnecessary expenses to accommodate an organic way of living. Moreover, you can also cut on the cost of organic foods by doing the following.
Buy from farmers market
Weekly farmers market is increasingly gain ground in Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai and other cities, whereby the farmers are directly selling organic produce to the consumers. It typically runs throughout the year. Their produce is not only fresh, but also provides good value as compared to those in a supermarket.
Grab the deals
If you are shopping online, avail of inaugural offers and discounts given on bulk buying. Usually in-house labels are cheaper than well-known branded products. Check for the necessary ‘India Organic’ certification.
Eat with the season
Eat what’s in the season, when prices are lower. Strawberries in winter and mangoes in summer. Avoid foods that are prone to have higher chemical residue. Moreover, eat locally grown foods that don’t travel long and are relatively cheaper. Sometimes, frozen organic foods are cheaper than fresh variants.
The task of adopting a full-fledged organic lifestyle may seem daunting at first. However, it’s difficult not to adopt it once you recognise the likely health benefits it brings. So take baby steps. Make it increasingly part of your lifestyle, as your income level improves.
A full-fledged organic lifestyle can hit your household budget. However, ensure you don’t compromise on your investing. Take baby steps to adopt an organic lifestyle and create wealth of a different sort.