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Organic Supply Shortages
I am a fan of organic foods, but I don't buy everything organic. The reason is mainly price. We all know that the organic label comes at a premium. With food costs rising, we need to consider how we want to spend our food dollars a bit more closely.
In the Nutrition Business Journal Report on Organic Markets 2008, they say that demand for organic products is growing, but the supply is becoming uneconomical. To make sense of this, think about how a food gets labeled organic. In order for milk and meat to be labeled organic, the animals need to be fed organic feed. Many small organic farms cannot sustain their organic practices with the rising prices.
The Organic Trade Association has reported that organic food sales have grown in the US between 17 and 21% every year for the past 11 years. WOW! Other food sales have grown 2-4% in the same time period.
This demand is causing some companies who use only organic ingredients to look outside the US to supply their ingredients. This makes me a bit sad as an American because I like to shop locally and support my local farmers, too. One of the advantages to me of organic is that (I hope) produce is picked at it's peak of ripeness and nutritional quality and then gets right to me. If US companies have to get their organic produce from Central America, how fresh is it by the time they get it? I can't imagine that the nutritional quality is not going to suffer.
We know about the benefits, both health and environment, of going organic. Let's hope that organic farmers in the US are able to sustain without knocking us out with their prices so that we can continue to support them!
Image courtesy of howtogoorganic.com