As consumers, we’ve become used to seeing organic labelling almost everywhere – in supermarkets, in cosmetics, in skincare and even on the labels of our clothes. For many, organic is usually synonymous with ‘more expensive’ and this factor alone can be a deterrent for further investigation. It leaves you wondering; ‘Is that organic kale really worth an extra $4?’.
The term ‘organic’ is thrown around so much that as consumers we have become desensitised to it’s true meaning. It’s often associated with lifestyles that the average Australian may deem unattainable or out of touch with reality. We hear you; not everyone has time to visit the organic farmer’s markets at 6AM on Sunday morning!
If you want to understand what organic actually means and why it is better for your health, the welfare of animals, and better for the environment, keep reading!
What is ‘organic’, anyway?
Fresh produce and products labelled as organic means that the plant or ingredients in that product have been grown and harvested without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers, or genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). According to Australia Certified Organic Certification (ACO), organic does not simply mean chemical free. Instead, it is about a wholistic way of growing and handling food where soil, plants, animals, food, people, and the environment are linked.
When you view organic as a whole system designed to be kinder to people, animals, ecosystems, and the environment, it begins to make sense why the organic market in Australia is steadily growing.
There are inherent issues with massive agricultural operations designed to provide huge yields to feed the masses of populations worldwide. To ensure crop health, synthetic chemicals and pesticides are used. To make the plant grow bigger to produce more fruits, it is genetically modified in a lab and then grown in crops with synthetic fertiliser.
With the scale of such operations continually growing, there’s no doubt party that does not benefit. This can be seen in the exploitation of workers, the exploitation of the land or the mistreatment of animals.
Choosing to buy organic is an investment into ethical and sustainability practices.
Buying organic in Australia
In Australia, a mandatory central regulatory body for organic certification doesn’t exist. Instead, there are multiple private regulatory bodies each with a set of their own standards as to what they consider organic.
This can make organic claims on products a bit confusing. According to the ACCC, all organic claims on products must be able to be proven by the business. This is why many businesses opt to get a recognisable private organic certification such as the ACO. The ACO is the most prominent organic certification body in Australia.
Ceres Organics Sauerkraut with BioGro organic certification from New Zealand.
Oaty Bruce Organic Oat Milk has both ACO and BioGro Organic Certifications.
The benefits of having such a recognisable logo on an organic product is that as consumers we can trust that the product has been tested against the ACO’s high standards. You will find the ACO’s logo on a large percentage of organic products ranged at WholeLife.
There is a push for there to be a centralised organic certification body in Australia to make shopping for organic food and products more transparent for consumers. Although there is an organic ‘standard’ that is regulated by the government, it is not a requirement for businesses to adhere to the standard to claim their product is organic.
Why you should choose to buy organic
Buying organic is important for someone who values quality fresh produce and products, sustainable practices and being ethically conscious. Organic does not mean that the product is automatically ‘healthier’ in a nutritional content sense, which is a common misconception.
The difference between non-organic and organics comes with the added peace of mind that we are supporting healthier farming practices which in turn benefits the health of the soil, ecosystems, animals, rivers, oceans, mountains – the list is endless!
The more demand there is for organic, the more accessible organic will become. Think about mainstream supermarkets that now have dedicated organic sections in the fruit and vegetables section, and entire health foods aisles packed full of organic products – these certainly didn’t exist 20 years ago!
The increasing demand for full product and process transparency is pushing for more business to adopt organic ingredients in order to increase consumer trust, and in turn sales. This consumer push is not only limited to consumable items like fresh fruit and vegetables, beverages, and pantry items, but also in cosmetics and body care products.
We’ve touched on the rise of conscious beauty beforehand, which goes hand-in-hand with the values that underpin the organic industry.
Buying organic at WholeLife
We’re proud to range such a huge variety of organic products in store at WholeLife. From organic flours, seeds and nuts to organic canned chickpeas with BPA free packaging, you can find all your essential organic pantry staples under one roof.
The icing on the (organic) cake is that we have passionate and knowledgeable staff there to help you navigate the difference between your organic tamari and your organic soy sauce!
You can find our current catalogue here with plenty of organic products on sale to stock up on in celebration of Organic Awareness Month.
Featured image via Nutra Organics.