What Does Organic Mean? A Detailed Explanation


You’ve seen it on food labels, and in the supermarket next to “free-range” products. But what does “organic” actually mean?

Organic means anything that is grown or farmed without the use of human-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. In layman’s terms; grown or cultivated without the use of human-made chemicals, modified organisms or anything that will harm livestock, flora or fauna.

A report in 2019 claimed organic food did not offer any nutritional differences to non-organic food.

There is systematic evidence to prove that there is a higher level of vitamins and anti-oxidants in some organic fruit and veg though. This is mainly due to the lower rates of pesticides and heavy metals used in their cultivation. A recent six-year-long study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, however, found organically grown onions contained 20% more anti-oxidants than in conventionally grown onions. Therefore, they even doubted the findings of the previous report, stating that data was unlikely to be of any significant value since the time frame of the study was too short.

Making organic food widely available

One of the main issues with organic food production is the cost. Farmers and gardeners to legally be able to call their produce “organic” have to follow a stringent set of rules. Adhering to these rules can be quite expensive, especially when supermarket chains urge them to cut their small margins for a more significant stake in sales. It’s more economical for the smaller farms and suchlike to sell to the artisan, specialist marketers such as Riverford.

So what is available?

If you want to buy organic food, here are a few places you can bookmark and look at when you have time.

Ocado has in the last year, boosted their catalogue of organic food quite significantly. The Wholegood Organic range is incredibly popular. Much like “wonky” veg in other high street supermarket brands. This no-frills organic brand mostly sold in paper bags, gives you wholesome, straight from the farm food as nature intended (with obligatory dirt).

Riverford Farmers make it simple by offering veg, meat, fruit and salad boxes. They’re based in Devon and have been in business since 1987. It’s one of a few that you will probably be aware of already as they’re the largest of the independent retailers I’m featuring here. Their Quick and Easy box retails at £37.85 and contains quite a natural selection of organic meat and poultry. They also advertise a Large Everyday Box which is around the same price.

Nutritional Organic, offers a variety of meal plans, with options to feed two people or a family of four. Meat boxes, vegetable boxes, fruit, nuts, syrups are all readily available to buy too. All reasonably priced. If you want to try it as a one-off box to see the standard, at £23 for a medium meat box or £32 for a large meat box it won’t break the bank.

We’ll go through a selection of these and more at a later date.

Interested in seeing some more information on Organic Food? Why not take a look at this brilliant documentary on Organic Farming. DW Documentary explore why it makes a significant contribution to human welfare – by helping to mitigate climate change, protect the groundwater, conserve nature and promote animal welfare.


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