Monday, August 01, 2005

Organic Trend or Fad?

You probably already know Atkins Nutritionals Inc. maker of products for low-carb diets, has filed for bankruptcy. We all saw this coming, right? It was a fad, not a trend. But how about eating organic? Think it's a fad too? Think again.

Research firm AC Nielsen reported back in May that organic (along with the no/low-sugar segment) has proven much better able to sustain strong sales growth. Perhaps people are coming to the conclusion that organic is just plain better for the environment and for health. It is more expensive, but it's worth it to a lot of people. Given the choice, I think most people would prefer organic over conventional products if all things were equal, especially price.

Of course it seems not every one is a fan of organic eating. I thought there was a lot of hullabaloo about eating local but the New York Times Op-Ed piece by Julie Powell of Julie/Julia fame claiming that eating organic is "elitist" has been a lightning rod for many a food blogger. Frankly I don't care if people who eat organic are elitist or not. What I care about is that more demand for organic means more producers will be looking to meet that demand and ultimately that means better availability and better prices.

Recently I reviewed the book Cooking School Secrets and mentioned that the author included a list of fruits and vegetables most likely to contain pesticide residue. Research suggests that by substituting organic versions of these items, you can reduce up to 90% pesticide residue from your diet. Forget about trends or elitism, this is just a great idea. Some of the items on the list are only availably seasonally, so this shouldn't necessarily drive up your grocery budget that much.

Here is the list:
* Apples
* Bell Peppers
* Celery
* Cherries
* Grapes (imported)
* Nectarines
* Peaches
* Pears
* Potatoes
* Red Raspberries
* Spinach
* Strawberries

I hope you'll consider printing out a wallet guide and making the change to your diet.