Please note: This topic is for discussions paid for by Mumsnet clients. If you'd like to have your own paid for discussion thread, please feel free to mail us at insight@mumsnet.com. If you are a start-up or student and you want to request feedback from MNers, please post in Media Requests topic.

NOW CLOSED Talk to Organic UK about about buying organic food and win a Neal's Yard 'pamper hamper' worth £100 plus 10 runner up prizes

(321 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-May-12 11:18:46

As part of the new "Organic, Naturally Different Campaign" the folks at Organic UK would like to know Mumsnetters' opinions on buying organic food for your family. Here's what Organic UK says: "The campaign wants to encourage all of us to think again about the benefits of organic, and support organic producers. We all want good, natural food and that's exactly what organic is all about."


So if you buy organic food, please tell us what you buy and why? Does buying organic only matter to you for certain items and not others? Or is anything and everything you buy organic? Why is buying organic food important to you?

If you don't buy (or don't always buy) organic food, why is this? What prevents you from buying organic? Is there anything that could persuade you to purchase organic food?

Also, are you 100% sure on what organic produce is and how it is classified? Or are you not too sure?

Everyone who adds their comments to this list will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a Neal's Yard 'pamper hamper' worth £100 and 10 runners up will each win one copy of the Discover Organic cookbook (worth £14.99).

Full T&Cs can be found here.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

Fillybuster Mon 14-May-12 12:34:47

I buy a mix of organic and non-organic fruit, veg, dairy produce and fish. I would love to buy organic (and free range) meat, but am limited in options due to religious dietary restrictions, and unfortunately this isn't available at the moment.

We get a fruit & veg box every week from Riverford. The box is always high quality, with great tasting (mostly) seasonal produce and works out as a fairly cost-effective purchase. Having said that, it only provide about 30% of our weekly fruit & veg consumption - the rest comes from the supermarket and isn't always organic.

Bananas are always fairtrade, but rarely organic unless they come from Riverford, because of the price differential. On the whole, I buy organic fruit and veg where the difference in price is fairly low, but will not spend an extra £2 on a bag of carrots if that's the only difference. Mushrooms have to be organic or I won't touch them....I don't know why, really, its just a feeling smile

I tend to buy organic cheese from the supermarket, or cheese from Neal's Yard which isn't organic but is very tasty, and Rachels yoghurts for the dcs, but am quite happy to be distracted by a really good alternative offer or BOGOF on non-organic produce in Tesco if its worth it. I almost never buy organic milk, but probably should....hmm

Finally, the organic label doesn't really convince me so much for fish...I'd much prefer to buy wild salmon, or sea trout, than the flabby organic farmed stuff. But I will buy organic farmed fish in preference to the non-organic stuff when it doesn't cost the earth.

I used to buy organic milk until I heard that the organic dairy cows were not always given the medical treatment they needed as it would compromise the "organic" label of the product.

I don't know if it is true but it put me right off the idea of anything organic as I was worried about the possible cruelty involved in achieving the label.

It has even put me off organic fruit and veg as I was worried if the animals who produced the organic fertilisers were not receiving the treatment they needed for the same reasons as outlined above.

tugamommy Portugal Mon 14-May-12 12:40:11

I don't buy much organic food now because I shop mostly at Aldi and they don't have any.

If money was no issue I would defenitely buy a lot more, not so much for taste but for health reasons.

I read recently that grapes have a really high level of pesticides, etc, so I'll try to avoid non-organic ones if I can.

So the main reason I don't buy more organic is money.

Dushenka Mon 14-May-12 12:40:29

Forgot to say, I sympathise with the mumsnetter who said she can't afford orgie fruit, this is more expensive, esp the lovely summer 'small' fruit like berries. We got around this by growing our own. Luckily we have enough space for 2 apple trees and some plum trees which we've trained along the fence so they don't take up any room. Plus raspberries, which look after themselves. Result: more than enough organic fruit, picked ripe just before eating.

Dushenka Mon 14-May-12 12:46:40

@carrotsandcelery You may want to check out the origin of the claim that organic livestock are not given the medical treatment they need. I read a similar claim but it was based on no scientific or even clinical evidence, and came from a champion of chemical and intensive ag who just stated it without evidence. Most organic herds are incredibly healthy as they are kept as nature intended, ie outside and not in crowded indoor conditions. They hardly ever get sick. If they do, they are often treated homeopathically, and farmers (both organic and chemical, who like it because it's cheaper than drugs as well as effective) tell me it usually works. If needed, orgie farmers can use antibiotics but then the animal is not sold as orgie.

hanahsaunt Mon 14-May-12 12:53:20

There was a study several years back from, I think, the Rowett and partnered with the University of Aberdeen which outlined what was better for you if organic (in terms of nutritional content) and for what it didn't matter. On that basis, I buy all organic dairy produce because, as a family, we struggle with milk and we might as well maximise the benefit of what we do consume.

When we lived in NE Scotland we had a weekly organic veg box because it was as locally produced as we could get and they were fantastic. I liked supporting the lovely farmer who we got to know over our 12 year period of using his scheme. Now that we are in Yorkshire, we have a fabulous farm shop 15 minutes away where everything is grown on site (inc the meat) and we use that. Doesn't appear to be organic certified but that's ok - it's as fresh as growing our own (nearly).

Cwm Mon 14-May-12 12:54:10

We get a weekly box from Abel and Cole, with fruit and veg, milk, juice and eggs - all organic. I think organic is better for my health - fewer chemicals used in production - and also better for the environment in terms of the methods used. I also think that it probably contains more vitamins etc, I think that maybe some supermarket fruit is treated to keep it looking nice on the shelf for longer (I may be totally wrong about this!) and the longer it sits there, the fewer nutrients it has. I also hate the amount of waste there is - fruit and veg getting discarded because they are the wrong shape etc - and I think buying organic you can counteract this a bit. I also find that buying organic especially from a retailer like Abel and Cole, you're more likely to get stuff that's in season which is better for the environment as well.

I don't always buy organic meat as it is very expensive, but would always go for a free range option if there is one. I don't usually tend to buy organic dry goods, e.g. flour, pasta etc. I'm not really sure why that is - maybe I don't notice as much of a difference in quality. The difference in quality with fruit and veg is very noticeable!

I'm not entirely sure about the classification of organic food, I usually look out for the soil association logo.

Dushenka that is really comforting to hear. As I said, I didn't know if it was true, it just put me right off. I would be delighted to think that "organic" animals were treated well and given every opportunity to be healthy that every other animal was given.

How do you know which producers do treat their animals really well? Is there a reliable way of finding out? I would much prefer to buy organic dairy if I could be sure it was produced entirely ethically.

bagelmonkey Mon 14-May-12 12:58:51

I rarely buy organic. The price difference is just too much for me to justify. I'm also unconvinced that organic food tastes better. I will look out for organic food on offer, particularly meat or dairy foods. I'd really prefer to buy organic chicken & eggs.
I'm hopeful that as organic food becomes more mainstream the price will approach that of 'standard' produce.

Thisisformatilda Mon 14-May-12 13:01:45

I buy organic fruit and veg when I can - especially for my dd. I am always trying to cut my food bills though & it can be too expensive to buy all organic.
I haven't really noticed a Difference in taste but think its a healthier option - no harmful pesticides or additives.
I have bought organic milk and cheese before & prefer to it what I usually buy but again it's too expensive to get every week.

I like buying local produce and often go my local farmers market and aldi have lots of local veg usually.

As for the classifications I thought organic meant farmed with no chemicals / pesticides so therefore more Eco friendly

WitchOfEndor Mon 14-May-12 13:06:09

I try to buy organic where possible but prices are often prohibitive. I would like to think that organic food across the board provided my family with more nutrients and fewer chemicals but I am not aware of any classification or standards which guarantees this. I would like to see organic frozen food ( veg for example ) as it would help me minimise food waste and that would allow me to afford to buy organic more often.

Dushenka Mon 14-May-12 13:08:55

@carrotsandcelery Re treating animals well, the organic standards have high animal welfare criteria, eg they gotta have access to outdoors, have enough room to move around, and be able to engage in natural behaviour, so pig stalls where they don't even have room to turn round are out. There are some 'free range' standards for eggs that are not organic, but think some of these operations need further scrutiny as, for example, the food and water is only available in the intensive sheds so in practice the chickens never step outside the door of the crowded shed. Personally I like farms that allow visitors, even if only once a month, so people can see how production is done. Our local orgie farms do have such open days.

PineappleBed Mon 14-May-12 13:16:29

I don't consciously buy organic as in many cases it's "organic" status can have very little meaning. I buy fair trade, local and seasonal and only meat which had been reared with a focuse on welfare standards (ie free range etc)

Organic annoys me sometimes as it often comes with a knee jerk "chemicals are bad" smugness which I don't agree with. And people often confuse organic with no GM (often whislt eating seedless grapes - how do they think those came about? Oh yes through GM) which winds me up as most GM is very safe and useful IMO.

Bert2e Mon 14-May-12 13:21:04

I don't buy organic at all - I can't justify the extra cost.

maples Mon 14-May-12 13:23:32

I buy a lot of organic food - most fruit and veg and all meat.

I do it because I think it is better for the environment to farm organically and better for us health wise. The higher welfare standards for animals on organic farms are also important to me.

NorthernNumpty Mon 14-May-12 13:27:42

I buy a lot of organic food . I have a veg box delivered every week. I buy it because it tastes better and I prefer to eat something that has been grown without a load of chemicals. Also organic veg from companies who care about organic tends to be better quality.
I do buy organic fruit and veg in the supermarket too from time to time. I rarely buy non-organic fruit or veg.
I do buy some other organic products where available. I always try to but organic milk and bread as well as tinned stuff where supermarkets have it. The only thing I dont tend to buy organic is pasta/rice etc because of the price. There are rarely offers on organic food in the supermarkets.
One thing I dont buy organic is cheese. The really great cheeses arent certified organic, but cheese from e.g. Neal's Yard comes with provenance, you know which farm made it. This is more important to me with specialist products than being organic. The same goes for meat. I prefer to buy local than necessarily organic.
I think the techinical requirements for organic food are too burdensome. Small local farmers must find it difficult to comply. I suspect that most rare bread or locally sourced meat is more or less organic but they cant put the label on it.

I always buy organic milk - don't like the idea of all those antibiotics etc that you get in inorganic milk. I extend this to all dairy where possible i.e yoghurts/fromage frais and cheese, though with all the marketing my kids are now nagging for munch bunch etc so don't always get away with that for the yoghurts etc.

I also buy organic eggs.

I have historically bought organic meat/chicken, but have started to find this really too expensive, particularly now I have 3 children and tend to try to do this when on offer, otherwise its definitely free range.

For fruit and veg, I try to buy organic, but again it often comes down to cost due to the size of the family. I used to get an organic fruit & veg box delivered when it was just me and DH, but I got really bored and found that the quality was so varied.

Looking at what I have written, I realise that its ironic that its really my children who deserve the better quality more, but its a fact of life that with 5 mouths to feed as opposed to two, the cost ratchets up massively.

Why did I start to buy organic? My mother died from cancer 12 years ago, and she was absolutely certain that not eating well, i.e eating food with all sorts of rubbish in it, was partly to blame. She made me promise to try to eat organic where possible, and therefore I try, but I do have to balance this with cost.

Does organic taste better? Yes, I think in general it does, the milk is creamier, the carrots more carrotty (!!!) and I know I feel better as I think the animal has probably been treated more humanely. Does it look better - not really, but I like buying knobbly vegetables etc and think its a bit boring that supermarket fruit and veg is all identical.

Am very fortunate that we have some good farmers markets near home and near my office, and I try to support them where possible.

RoscoPColtrane Mon 14-May-12 14:02:39

I always buy organic milk and carrots - I think the carrots definately taste
better than non organic ones, I used to get a regular organic veg box delivered but I've had to stop as it was getting so expensive.

I do buy organic if I see it on offer and would love to buy all organic food but I just cannot afford to.

Lilyloo Mon 14-May-12 14:09:24

We rarely have organic produce due to cost. If the supermarket reduces the organic items and the cost difference is pence then I would get organic.
We occasionally use the farm shop if we are feeling flush, it is most definitely a treat though.

dunnoreally Mon 14-May-12 14:14:11

In the ideal world I would have an organic box delivered every week. I can't afford this and therefore we buy organic dairy but normal everything else.
This is because of the cost.

My worst guilt is concerning meat and I feel that if I buy organic and welfare I can try to ensure no animals are treated in horrific ways just to get me cheap meat. I can't even afford that at the moment so we simply buy very little meat indeed.

I consider dairy to be the most important, meat next and veg next. Skincare etc comes last.

HTH {hope I win grin}

bottersnike Mon 14-May-12 14:18:17

If we could afford it I would buy nearly everything organic, as it has (generally) been produced more responsibly and sustainably, with fewer pesticides.
We prioritise organic milk, fruit and vegetables, and meat.

I know that there are different classifications of organic food, particularly outside the UK, so we try to balance buying local with buying organic. Both is a bonus!

PostBellumBugsy Mon 14-May-12 14:23:20

In my perfect world, all foods I consume would be organic - but I can't afford that. So, I prioritise meat & dairy first, fruit & veg next & everything else thereafter.

inzidoodle Mon 14-May-12 14:27:01

My only knowledge/understanding about organic is they don't use as many chemicals.....and that's it! I have reached for organic a few times but have always noticed a cheaper option and bought that instead. I think I would possibly switch to organic if I knew a lot more and it tasted better but it would all depend on price as well.

Fuchzia Mon 14-May-12 14:32:26

I always buy organic milk and reckon that it is better both for my family and the animal itself. I read that it has a higher nutrient content. I also buy carrots that are organic because they are root veg however I don't bother with organic root veg if it can't be eaten raw I.e. potatos etc. Other than that I don't bother. I can't taste the deference. We don't eat meat and I would be interested in buying organic strawberries blueberries etc if they were a bit cheaper.

Ragwort Mon 14-May-12 14:39:51

I don't consciously buy organic, can't honestly tell the difference in taste and think its a big con anyway grin. Never quite understand why farmer's markets etc are so much more expensive when they haven't had to transport food etc. Think there is a huge 'food snobbery' element going on ! Fair Trade is much more important to me.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now