When to Avoid Buying Organic

by Abigail Noble

Buying organic can be costly and is not always the answer. 

American households spend approximately $550 per month on food according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Consumer Reports, organic foods are 47 percent more expensive than their non-organic counterparts.

In some cases, buying organic may lower your exposure to chemicals and artificial ingredients. In others, it may not be healthier than buying non-organically grown products.


It is also helpful to know that different organic labels mean different things- knowing the difference may help you to avoid paying premium prices for less than premium quality. When you see the following labels, this is what they really mean:

· 100 Percent Organic are items where all the ingredients are certified organic.

· Organic indicate that at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic.

· Made with Organic Ingredients refers to products where at least 70% of the ingredients are certified organic.

Although some foods are best with the big green “O”, it is just not always necessary. All organic foods are not necessarily pesticide-free either.

The idea of “organic” means that the farmer was not allowed to use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers but could use pesticides and fertilizers made from natural materials, which in some cases can be worse. That is why it is important to buy a variety of produce so as to avoid over exposure to one particular pesticide.


As for which products to avoid buying organic in order to save a buck? Consider this- we wash most of our fruits and veggies before consumption which rinses off residue that might be left over from pesticides.

For those fruits and veggies that we do not usually rinse, like bananas for example, the skin and rinds are typically thick enough to keep pesticides from the parts that we eat.

Melons, bananas, cabbages, pineapple, onions and mangoes are just a few of the foods that you can save a bit of money on by skipping the organic section. That also applies to avocados, which in a recent study of 48 different fruits and vegetables- scientists found that avocados had the least pesticides


Want to really save money? Consider having a meatless day, like “meatless Monday” and substitute protein you would normally get from meat with those proteins found in veggies, grains and legumes to give your wallet and your digestion a break.

Legumes and whole grains have high protein levels, are less expensive and have a long shelf-life. Quinoa is one grain that is high in protein and, because of its outer shell, is protected from most pesticide residues and also does not need to be purchased Organic.

If you are looking for more ways to save your money considering making a budget to see what you are actually spending and get a good look at your financial picture.


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