Organic products have become increasingly popular over the past few years. With more people educating themselves about the importance of chemical-free products, organic products have gained momentum. These organic products range from fruits and vegetables to clothes. People prefer organic food supplies but are generally disheartened to pay double the expenses. It is an established fact that organic products, in any form, are expensive.
Various reasons answer the big question, “Why are Organics so expensive?”. It is not just one factor that makes the products expensive, but the whole cycle of it. Since organic yields are chemical-free, several other factors play an important role in growing the crop in a healthy environment and harvesting them.
We have listed a few reasons why organic essentials like fruits and vegetables cost more than their conventional alternatives.
Supply and Demand Don’t Breakeven
One of the reasons is, the supply of organic products is substantially low compared to the demand. The market for organic yields is growing more than ever as more and more people switch to healthy, chemical-free food habits.
However, only 0.9% of global farmlands are used to produce organic yields. The proportion of land to consumers has a wide gap, hence higher prices.
No Chemicals = More Time = More Labor
Fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming increase the efficiency and rate of production of yields. Since organic agriculture does not use any kind of chemicals, it is a slow process and consumes more time.
Organic agriculture also demands more labor, conventionally, the synthetic pesticides used to get the job of removing pests and weeds in the farmland. Now, farmers have to employ more laborers to remove weeds and pests. This increases the investment of the farmers and the price of the products.
Conventional fertilizers are filled with chemicals, and that is definitely not what we want on our food. But they are used anyway because of how cost-effective and are readily available they are. But organic farmers use compost and animal manure that are hard to find and difficult to be shipped. To ensure the animal manure is organic, the livestock feed should be organic. This cycle is expensive and requires effort.
Post-Harvest and Certification Cost
To prevent any kind of mishap or a mix-up, organic produce is kept separately from conventional produce after harvest. Conventional produce is shipped in larger quantities while the organic produce is shipped in smaller quantities. And ideally, organic farmlands are located far from conventional farmlands, that further increases the shipping cost.
While it takes a substantial amount of time and effort to produce organic yields, it is much harder to get organic certification. These certifications and audits are expensive, further increasing the cost of the produce.
Special Facilities and Conditions
The living conditions of the livestock employed in organic agriculture are drastically altered. These live stocks are provided with better and nutritious food, clean water, and better living conditions. This is done to ensure the manure is natural and chemical-free. These facilities and livestock feed are expensive but necessary.
Imagine putting in numerous hours of hard work and extravagant investment only to supply a narrow market compared to conventional goods. Smaller market and smaller produce quantity mean we cannot achieve economies of scale. To at least meet the breakeven point between investment and income, market prices are hiked. Which, naturally, makes organic products expensive.
These are a few reasons that make organic produce is expensive. As important as it is to eat healthy and nutritious food, it is equally important to be smart about it. We have been paying high prices for conventional produce for so long that it has become normalized. Paying slightly higher for safer and chemical-free food is way cheaper than hospitalization expenditure due to lifestyle diseases. The best way to bet the higher price for organic products is to create awareness about its benefits and hence increasing its market. This way, we encourage more and more farmers to switch to organic farming to serve this larger market. More produce means better economies of scale and reduced prices. On the other hand, we limit polluting the land with harmful chemical fertilizers.