Food Safety
TECH FLASH

Consumers don’t buy organics for nutritional reasons

September 25, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Organic foods survey

A recent Stanford University study concluded organic foods are no more nutritious than their conventionally produced equivalents. But the results of the Stanford survey are not likely to deter consumers from purchasing organics, according to findings from a report by The Hartman Group. The report is entitled Organic and Natural 2012.

“Shoppers historically adopt and continue their purchase and consumption of organic foods and beverages for reasons that extend beyond nutritional values,” says Laurie Demeritt, The Hartman Group’s president and COO. “Organic gained prominence for the many other quality and health notions it represents, like authentic, pure and most importantly, the halo of being free from negative ingredients.”

Beyond these healthful reasons, the absence of other negatives outshines many other factors associated with the purchase of organics. As shown in the bar graph, the absence of genetically modified foods and growth hormones is also motivation for the purchase of organic foods and beverages.

While the Stanford study didn’t find any pluses in the nutritional area of organics, it did find that phosphorous was significantly higher in organic products compared to conventionally grown products, but it isn’t significant for most consumers unless they have a diagnosed phosphorous deficiency. In addition, the Stanford study did find organic milk often contained “significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids” than conventional milk. Otherwise, there was no difference in protein or fat levels between organic and conventional milk.

The Stanford study yielded scant evidence conventional foods posed greater health risks than organic products. While researchers found organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of pesticide contamination than conventional fruits and vegetables, organic foods are not necessarily 100 percent free of pesticides. Stanford researchers found pesticide levels of all foods generally fell within the allowable safety limits.

According to the Stanford study, two reports of children consuming organic and conventional diets did find lower levels of pesticide residues in the urine of children on organic diets, though the significance of these findings on child health is unclear. Additionally, organic chicken and pork appeared to reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the clinical significance of this is also unclear.

“If you look beyond health effects, there are plenty of other reasons to buy organic instead of conventional,” says Dena Bravata, MD, the senior author of Stanford study. She listed taste preferences and concerns about the effects of conventional farming practices on the environment and animal welfare as some of the reasons people choose organic products.

“Consumers are much more knowledgeable about organics today than they were 10 years ago,” says The Hartman Group’s Demeritt. “In addition, as the organic marketplace has evolved, consumers are demanding even more from organic manufacturers in terms of transparency and narratives regarding product origin. They are also now looking to retailers as docents in the product selection process.”

For more information on the The Hartman Group study, Organic and Natural 2012, contact Blaine Becker via email.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

Food Engineering

FE September 2014

2014 September

The September 2014 issue of Food Engineering explores how lean manufacturing, quality improvements and increased automation helps processors meet rapidly changing demands. Also, read how robotics, advanced machine controls, software and OEE are just a few of the tools that can boost productivity on packaging lines.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +