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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!


LaAmanda Mon 14-May-12 14:45:13

Organic is important to me. I always buy organic milk (would love to be able to source raw milk but difficult where I am), organic eggs and as many organic fruit and vegetables as possible - unless they are stupidly expensive. To me it's important that it's grown in the UK organic (preferably locally). I'm vegetarian but buy organic meat for DH and children.

notcitrus Mon 14-May-12 14:46:17

I used to work in this area...
Org stuff in the UK has to be approved by the Soil Association who also specified standards for welfare when they were drafting their standards, so organic meat/eggs etc is also free range. I think the list of approved chemicals that the SA allow is a bit bizarre and there aren't any health benefits to organic, except for indirectly in improving the environment and that organic produce happens to often be fresher when you eat it so tastes better for that reason.

so what I actually do - we get organic milk delivered from the milkman, but about 1/3 our milk is from shops and usually not organic. I've just started getting an organic veg box again, and this time (Abel+Cole) the stuff actually tastes wonderful, but I'm sure it's the freshness rather than the organicness. Hopefully a local farmers market will get going soon and I'll be able to see if their non-org veg taste as good.

I try to buy only free-range meat (but due to health issues I also eat a fair few ready meals which tend not to be free range), and British, for welfare reasons - it's a crying shame that pressure to improve UK pig welfare standards has led to farmers going out of business as Danish bacon and pork is now cheaper, for example.

what i'd like to see is more cheap organic/free range meat available like stewing steak or pork mince. Also more informed comment on the meds and fertilisers etc that conventional farmers use and what the org alternatives are and the results - as farmers tell me, they use as little chemicals and meds as possible as they are bloody expensive! Let's move on from "chemikills r BAD, mm'kay?"!

iwantavuvezela Mon 14-May-12 14:46:41

So if you buy organic food, please tell us what you buy and why?

I have organic milk delivered every Saturday which I love. Reminds me of my childhood seeing the milk outside the door. I try and buy organic of all dairy - cheese, milk, butter and eggs.

I chose mostly organic vegetables, but sometimes I buy some that are not. However I try and buy root vegetables such as potatoes, onions that are organic.

I would only buy organic chicken. I have even stopped eating this in take aways where I am not certain of the meat, and i have noticed (gradually) that some indian/chinese restuarants are starting to list this their meat as organic.

I would (and do) eat less meat, but prefer that it is organic, or that I know where it is from. I buy alot more from my butcher / local organic markets, and I have also become much more aware of the origin of food, and therefore try and buy local as well. I have used the odd vegetable box, but often find that i cannot keep up with it, and I also like seeing what is in season, and making choices that way. But I often phone up a small store once or twice a month to book their veg and fruit box.

I use organic handwash for no other reason that it smells and looks nice!

I often buy (but i usually need to be in a health shop to do this) organic cereals .... however i sometimes need to get things in a supermarket, and so when i have to I will buy non organic. This could also be if I have less money!

I am careful in choosing coffee and chocolate now as well, but this is more to do with fair trade reasons than organic.

I suppose i think i know what organic produce is / how it is classified, but I am sure that I do not have the full picture.

afussyphase Mon 14-May-12 14:49:25

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?

I buy organic eggs (nearly always) and organic milk (most of the time). I usually buy organic chocolate, in part because it is also fair trade and chocolate has a terrible reputation for child labour (and is not essential!). I prefer to buy organic fruit and veg when it is sufficiently convenient and affordable.

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?

Convenience and cost. I work full time as does my husband, and I commute with two children; we tend to buy what is near to us when we need something! Here's an example: one side of the street has 4 avocados for 1£. Other side: each organic avocado is 1.69. I would like to make guacamole for a family of 4. The markup is just too high. If the local vendors had bowls of bananas (£1, as they do) and organic for £2, I'd buy organic. But I won't take an extra hour to make a trip to a special shop, or pay 3-10 times the price (as at this particular shop I was in yesterday.)

Also, are you 100% sure on what organic produce is and how it is classified? Or are you not too sure?
I am aware that there is such a thing as organic certification, that it is different in different countries, and that it may not always reflect food miles etc but does tend to strictly limit use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. I would not be able to remember specifics of how these certifications work.

Ephiny Mon 14-May-12 14:57:55

I don't buy organic usually, as I'm not convinced by the supposed health benefits - the environmental argument is more interesting, but as far as I know even this is controversial and some people make the point that as organic farming is less 'efficient' it requires more land to produce the same amount, which seems plausible to me. Basically not enough evidence to justify the expense, for me.

I probably would buy organic meat, if I bought any meat at all, as it seems to go together with better animal welfare standards as a general rule, though I wouldn't be too bothered about it being 'organic' per se.

What would convince me is some evidence that there's a clear benefit to eitiher my or my family's health, or environment/society, from organic produce - if there is such evidence maybe it needs to be publicised better and debated rigorously?

I admit I'm not 100% clear on organic certification and definitions, my impression is that these can sometimes be a bit vague anyway.

flamingtoaster Mon 14-May-12 15:06:39

I always buy organic carrots and bananas because we eat a lot of them and they really do taste better. If other organic vegetables are on offer then I would buy them. I buy organic dark chocolate because it's the brand we really enjoy and you only need a small piece. I don't buy organic meat or eggs because of the price - but I do buy free range.

I think I understand the organic classification system.

mendipgirl Mon 14-May-12 15:14:32

I always buy organic milk and yoghurt (yeo valley) and try to buy as much dairy that is organic, butter, eggs, cheese etc. I focus on organic more with fresh stuff and wouldn't bother with dried/canned things - pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes etc..

With most things it depends on the price as if an organic item is a lot more expensive than non-organic then I won't bother, not more than 5-10% more.

I also take other factors into consideration such as local produce, I would rather buy something locally produced that is non-organic than something organic that has travelled a great distance as I think you should consider the environmental damage as well.

I can't say I notice a huge taste difference, other than eggs, organic eggs always seem to have a yellower yolk?! I do it more for the health/environmental benefits (or perceived benefits).

I think I have a decent awareness of organic symbols, the soil association is the main one for the UK and there are other ones for outside the UK though. One concern I have is that producers have to pay to use the symbol and call something organic so some small producers may be doing things an organic was but not calling it that because they don't want to pay to call it organic. Also I think the marketing has gone a bit wrong and in the current financial climate people see organic as meaning expensive and steer clear of it.

Indith Mon 14-May-12 15:21:01

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?

At the moment I don't buy organic.

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?

2 reasons really. Firstly, money! We used to get a veg box but we moved out of their delivery area and by the time they started delivering in our new area we could no longer afford it. Secondly I think other things are more important than organic, I would much rather buy local food than organic food that has travelled from far away. For example our meat comes from a local farmer and is all well reared "happy" meat. Sadly due to both money and where we live all our fruit and veg comes from Lidl so fails on all counts really. That doesn't really sit well with me but needs must. There is a great greengrocer in town that is always packed with local, seasonal produce, several varieties of british plums, apples etc in season but by the time I'ver driven in and paid for parking it is hard to justify though I used to shop there when I lived closer.

While I agree that we need to be careful with chemicals used I'm not sure that organic is the be all and end all. There are so many factors in food production and as already mentioned I think local and seasonal is more important. When we got a verg box you sometimes used to get stupid things like NZ or SA apples when the greengrocer had local early apples, I refuse to believe that the organic ones that have ttravelled half way round the world are more environmentally sound than the ones from down the road.

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

I am not 100% sure no, especially when it comes to skincare products etc.

SoTiredoftheWheelsontheBus Mon 14-May-12 15:24:55

I don't buy organic because of the cost, however I have heard that the taste of organic fruit and veg is reputed to be better. I'm actually looking into a local veg box service as I've been told their prices are pretty good, but first I'm going to hunt out my old receipts to see how much our normal supplies cost, and how much (weight) we use to see if there is a good-cost, good-sized box that would fit our needs.

I don't necessarily believe that natural automatically equals better.

CuppaTeaJanice Mon 14-May-12 15:34:50

I buy organic milk most weeks as the price difference is small. Occasionally I'll buy organic fruit and veg if it's on offer or in the bargain bay. Strangely I bought organic carrots as DD's first weaning food as I felt they would be better somehow.

It does put me off a bit that although they haven't been sprayed with any chemicals, they have probably been fertilised with some kind of poo, so I always give them an extra careful scrub! grin

lumbago Mon 14-May-12 15:35:25

well this * is * interesting isnt it?

slalomsuki Mon 14-May-12 15:39:00

I try to buy organic fruit and vegetables if I can but in my local supermarkets there isn't always the range that I require when I want it. To be honest the range seems to be relatively small and sometimes is hidden amongst the non organic produce. I would use a box delivery system but I am not always in during the day and I cannot find one locally that delivers at a time to suit.

Regarding meat, this is hard to find in my local area and I usually buy chicken but apart from that its difficult to get organic meat locally. The local butcher says there is very little demand but will order if required but that involves preplanning which is something I am not too good at apart from Christmas.

DerbysKangaskhan Mon 14-May-12 15:55:14

No, I am not 100% sure on what organic produce is or how it is classified (I'm not 100% sure about almost anything) nor am I sure it is the highest priority when it comes to deciding on what foods to buy.

I don't buy organic food consistently and neither does my DH who does most of the food shopping these days. I think it's a mix of not being readily available, price, and going by habit rather than thinking about it. Organic milk and other dairy products are the most consistently bought as they are the most regularly available. Organic meats I've found to be the most difficult to get at Farmfoods the shops.

However, when buying new, I try to buy organic cotton clothes for my DDs as DD2 as severe eczema and skin-splitting issues due to medication. Since I have to be so careful with her clothes already, and I've found it readily available at similar prices, getting organic cotton over regular cotton isn't difficult.

mumah Mon 14-May-12 15:59:23

We would love to buy more Organic, but it really is just a bit too expensive for us to fill the cupboards with alone. I prefer to spend a little on free range meats as then I know the animals have had a better way of life. We also only buy organic milk and free range eggs.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Mon 14-May-12 16:01:48

I like the idea of buying organic, but to me that includes being local produce and no air miles. Unfortunately price is tge number one consideration for me right now. This means I fulfill my organic urges with home grown which to me is tge ultimate in organic food.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Mon 14-May-12 16:02:57

mumah but what about the carrots? Don't you care about their living conditions grin

tumbleweedblowing Mon 14-May-12 16:05:45

I prefer to buy organic where ever possible particularly because of the use of pesticides and anti-biotics used routinely otherwise. However, we moved to a not at all remote part of Scotland from the SE a couple of years ago, and it is now almost impossible to get organic meat. Some veg we can get occasionally, but not a great variety, and not often. eg this week's shop I managed some organic parsnips, and organic peppers, but they were the only veg, and there was no fruit.

I keep planning to source some online, but at the back of my mind that just feels like an indulgence. The nearest veg box delivery comes almost 40 miles, and isn't organic, so we stopped it (after years as an Able & Cole customer in London).

For some reason, it is even difficult to get organic semi skimmed milk around here, though I can usually find full fat.

Plenty of organic chocolate options though! grin

Pinot Mon 14-May-12 16:13:18

I buy organic milk and organic veg - I use Lidl too, as their stuff is v fresh and equivalent in price to normal tesco stuff.

Carrots etc I dont peel for the kids snacks, I bristle brush them so I'd rather they eat without pesticides. Bananas I wouldnt buy organic as you discard the peel.

Cost is my only concern. I'm not a green warrior or a hippy, I just think it makes sense to eat as pure a food as possible, within your own constraints.

TheProvincialLady Mon 14-May-12 16:14:52

So if you buy organic food, please tell us what you buy and why?

Pretty much everything, if I can find/afford it. I wouldn't eat eggs that weren't organic, or milk. Vegetables taste so much nicer.

Does buying organic only matter to you for certain items and not others?

I seem to prefer really bad, cadbury's chocolate to fancier organic chocolategrin

Why is buying organic food important to you? Mostly taste, but also quality and an aversion to eating pesticides, and inflicting them on the countryside.

boxyfoxy Mon 14-May-12 16:17:39

If I could afford to buy organic I would.... but I can't so I don't. I think it's equally important to buy locally grown produce though, and I do that. Basically it all comes down to price, and as sad as that is, it's the way it is for us, there is just simply no extra money in our household, and organic food is a luxury item.

MrsShortfuse Mon 14-May-12 16:21:17

I buy organic full fat milk for my cereal as I think it tastes better, but we have non-organic semi-skimmed in general. Also I buy kallo organic stock cubes as they have no ingredients that I've never heard of. That's it. For everything else I don't think paying extra is worth it. Also organic is often non-British and I would rather support British farmers.

starfishmummy Mon 14-May-12 16:23:03

I get an organic vegbox most weeks. I started getting it for convenience (stuck in the house with a disabled baby) and have kept it up for the freshness of the produce and that we are eating seasonally.

Some of my other shopping is from organic brands, but we can't really afford to buy everything organic, although it would be good if we could. Organic methods have been around for so much longer than chemical methods (pesticides/herbicides etc) and I think they are probably better for the environment long term.

I think I understand the various labelling and classifications on food etc

bobthebuddha Mon 14-May-12 16:25:25

Try to stick to a mixture of organic and/or locally produced food, but it's not something I stick to rigidly as I have to be increasingly aware of pricing & it depends on what I'm buying & where I am when I buy it. But often there is little difference - bought organic wholewheat spaghetti from Sainsbury's today & it was only 10p more than non-organic. I will always buy organic milk (doorstep delivery) as it's non-homogenised.

Most of our meat and veg comes from a supplier sourcing from local farms and it's a mix of organic, free range and non-organic (but all seasonal) & I tend to base the choice on the product rather than the production method.

MoreBeta Mon 14-May-12 16:27:17

I tried an organic veg box from one of the well known van delivery firms and found the quality poor (often went rotten after a few days) and very expensive and frankly I just could not be bothered to try and think up a new recipe for 'squash' every week. My impression was the company was just buying in rejected or surplus organic veg that supermarkets could/would not take.

I do buy organic meat from a friend who has a farm but honestly, its no better than really good locally sourced meat I also get that is not organic.

I am an ex-farmer myself so I understand quite a lot about the issues and the labelling but frankly I struggle still to truely know exactly what I am buying. I think the average consumer with little time to do research has no chance in truely understanding all the diferent schemes and labels and logos.

Overall, I think the organic movement has a very good message and objective and one that consumers want to embrace but the economic and commercial reality is that only well off consumers can afford organic and supermarkets have used 'organic' to segment those well of consumers into a higher spending category.

My own view is to buy organic where it is cheaper or only a little more expensive than good quality 'non organic'. Otherwise I buy locally sourced high welfare standard food, ideally from a producer I know, I grow some of my own veg and keep some hens for eggs. If nothing else is available, I buy UK produced food to cut down on food miles and 'free range' to ensure a good minimum welfare standard.

robotcornysilk Mon 14-May-12 16:31:03

I used to buy organic meat from the supermarket but meat from the butcher is much fresher and tastes better so I switched. I occasionally buy organic fruit, veg and milk. I used to get an organic veg box but there was far too much in it to use while it was fresh. I grow some of my own fruit and veg though - fresher is definitely tastier.

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