Have you ever wondered why millennials and the Gen Z are preferring expensive organic foods over cheaper conventionally prepared food? When the past decades glorified and relied to production and consumption of synthetically altered foods, today these foods have started to become an alarming concern for many, therefor seeing the bloom of the ‘organic food industry’. Packaging with the labels “100% organic” and “made with organic ingredients” have started becoming sense of relief to many. Here’s why ??
When you can get the original, why opt for the duplicates?
A factor that makes organic foods highly nutritious is that they are given time to develop and are provided with the best natural conditions for growth. With technology evolving constantly, newer methods to achieve this best crop quality cheaply in the least possible time with more shelf life have been developed, which is why many farmers today choose to grow GM crops because they are bred to achieve benefits such as resistance to certain insects and diseases, herbicide-tolerance or enhanced nutritional value.
Today, almost 75% of packaged foods available on the market are estimated to have Genetically Modified (GMO) ingredients. According to National Geographic, A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an animal, plant, or microbe whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Though this is intended to improve disease or pest resistance as well as crop harvests, studies show that foods that are genetically modified (GMO) can cause allergic reactions and antibacterial resistance. Here’s an extract from the abstract of a study on the health risks of GMO foods:
Animal toxicity studies with certain GM foods have shown that they may toxically affect several organs and systems. The review of these studies should not be conducted separately for each GM food, but according to the effects exerted on certain organs it may help us create a better picture of the possible health effects on human beings. The results of most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but not for long in this case…
The effects of GMO foods don’t tend to show on the body immediately. Rather it takes time for accumulating to a certain limit before it can prove to be life-threatening. Whatever food, grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. we eat, the pesticide residues from its production stage remain on it, but, in organic food, it is in small quantities. On the other hand, conventional/non-organic food and beauty products are laden with toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, contaminants, GMOs, artificial ingredients, and harmful preservatives. For instance, there is a 48% lower chance that organic crops will test positive for cadmium, which is a heavy metal that accumulates in the kidneys and liver, which means that it is toxic. Apart from the lower cadmium content, facts about organic food benefits point out that organic crops are less likely to have detectable amounts of pesticide.
Don’t let illness make you realize the value of health.
There are many studies that show that organically grown foods can be around 2-40% healthier compared to the conventionally grown foods thanks to the high nutritional content. Organic food contains more vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial in preventing dangerous diseases like heart diseases, blood pressure problems, migraine, diabetes, and cancer. These chemical free foods have proven to strengthen the body’s immunity and control body weight, apart from being beneficial for a glowing skin. Some noteworthy benefits include-
● High antioxidant content: Organic vegetables and fruits have 20 to 40% more antioxidants than the conventional ones. This is because since crops that are grown organically are not sprayed with synthetic pesticides or high levels of manufactured fertilizer, they experience more stress than conventional crops, thus producing higher levels of antioxidants in response to that stress.
● Healthy livestock and crops: Major differences in food are influenced by factors like how livestock is raised and fed. Food labeled as “organic” must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Organically reared animals are not given any antibiotics, growth hormones, or harmful products, keeping them healthy, in turn making their products healthier than other products.
● Tastes better like no other: Since organic food is prepared with ingredients that are given enough time to grow and mature naturally, we get to experience the real taste of these foods.
● Rich in fat content: Meat and milk from animals that graze freely in the field are healthier in terms of fatty acids content. Researches show that Organic milk and meat can have around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids.
Become environment friendly
Switching to organic foods is equivalent to contributing to the continuing efforts to maintain our planet. Locally grown organic foods without a trace of harmful chemicals and toxins help reduce pollution in air, water, and soil, conserve water, improve soil fertility and save energy. Sustainable farming practices including crop rotation are adopted to produce organic foods, which promotes ecological balance and preserves biodiversity. Organic food irradiation is not processed using an industrial solvent or synthetic food additives; hence it is environment friendly. Usage of pesticides and fertilizers is minimal or null, making its production both human safe and environment safe.
In 2020, the Indian organic food market was valued at $849.5 million and is expected to grow in the upcoming years. With organic beverages, pulses, tea, and milk products having great appeal, the growth in India is impressive and is expected to increase at a 20.5% CAGR in 2021-2026 whereas the global organic food and beverages market is projected to grow at a 16.44% CAGR during 2020–2025. The stats do show that people have started realizing the importance of organic foods, but due to various reasons including limited supply against huge demand, higher production costs, and increased labor input, certified organic foods and beverages are typically more expensive than conventional products, it’ll be long before everyone joins the bandwagon. With millennials and Gen Z set to take over the future, let’s hope for better, wise and healthy decisions till then.