Do you try to eat organic food where possible? The last fifteen years have seen a huge increase in the availability of organic meat, fruit and veg and dairy products, reflecting the growing consumer interest in the benefits of choosing organic food over conventionally grown alternatives.
Those benefits include a healthier diet with less artificial additives, reduced impact on the environment from synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and better animal welfare. All great reasons to make the switch.
The Soil Association’s Organic Market Report reveals that the UK organic market is now worth £2.33 billion, and is growing at a much faster rate than the non-organic market. As consumers we’re obviously keen to embrace the organic trend – but is it really affordable?
It’s no secret that the organic food option usually comes with a higher price tag; estimates range from a 10-30% markup, which can have a significant impact on your weekly food bill. If you’d like to make the switch to organic food without breaking the bank, there are ways to eat organic on a budget. Here’s how.
Organic isn’t always more expensive
It may sound far-fetched, but sometimes the price difference between organic and non-organic is very small or non-existent, and organic can also be cheaper. Check prices carefully, paying particular attention to dry goods such as flour, rice and oats. It’s also well worth checking if you have a wholefood shop locally; these usually offer minimally packaged dry goods at very competitive prices.
Plan your food shopping
The prices of organic food can vary greatly between supermarkets, so it makes sense to do your research and shop around. You will probably need to embrace the idea of adding trips to smaller food retailers onto the big weekly shop.
Don’t assume that the discount supermarkets aren’t in on the organic trend either; they’re actually right up there with the traditional food retailers, but with the same attitude to pricing that we love them for.
Focus on the products you care about most
You don’t have to buy organic for every single item on your food list. Instead, think about which products you care most about being organic, and focus on those. For example, if your family eats a lot of meat, you may choose to focus on organic options such as grass fed beef from Graig Farm.
Grow your own
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a fantastic way to embrace organic food at minimal cost. For the price of a few packets of seeds or some small plants, you can have your own organic harvest all year round. If you think you need lots of space to grow your own, think again; a small veggie patch in the garden can provide you with crops all year round. For maximum savings, focus on growing crops that you enjoy regularly, or that are expensive to buy.
Growing your own will reduce your carbon footprint as well as your food bill – not to mention all the physical and mental benefits that gardening and connecting with nature has to offer. Growing your own produce is also a brilliant way to teach kids about where food comes from and the importance of healthy eating – not to mention keeping them active and busy outdoors!
You can make big savings on organic food by buying from local growers. Farmer’s markets, independent greengrocers and butchers, and pick-your-own schemes are all great ways to cut out the added distribution costs, while also supporting your local economy.
Struggling locally? Consider an online box subscription
Online food box delivery schemes have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and there are plenty of organic options available. It’s always a good idea to try and shop locally if you can, but if you’re struggling to find local shops an online box subscription could be a good alternative. Do check prices against local supermarkets though, and be prepared to get creative with seasonal produce to minimise food waste.
Do you have any tips for eating organic on a budget?