Organic is no longer a niche market, stowed away in health food stores and away from the mainstream. It’s a booming, multibillion dollar industry, with terms regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. According to the USDA, three out of four conventional grocery stores offer organic foods. In 2012, sales of organic products grew 11 percent year over year, representing $28 billion.
The USDA certifies all organic products through the National Organic Program. At every stage of production, from farming to distributors, certification agencies ensure each part is complying with organic standards. When the USDA organic seal of approval is stamped on a product, that means that it is composed of 95 percent or more organic content.
There may not be any nutritional benefits to going organic — research on this is up in the air — but there are other reasons people are looking for that organic seal. When buying organic, the chance the residue from pesticides remains is significantly less. There will be not additives in the products, because that does not adhere to organic certification. Another reason for buying organic is for eco-friendly reasons, because the farming methods used are designed not to harm the environment.
Food free of additives comes at price, and people may balk at the sight of the hefty dollar value accompanying organic products. Fortunately, there are ways around this problem. The following are seven ways to keep some green in your wallet while going green with your food.