Why Shop Organic When Inflation is So High?
Why Shop Organic When Inflation is so High?
We have all been living it. Sky high inflation hitting us for months on end. Price increases impacting our daily living. Gas hitting nearly $7.00 per gallon in several states. Grocery bills seemingly doubling in the course of a few months. Let's not even talk about what happened in residential real estate earlier this year.
Those price increases in food and consumer packaged goods have been happening for many reasons. Inflation has hit because fuel prices have risen which impacts distribution and shipping. During the pandemic producers let go of employees because of working restrictions which meant fewer products were grown or made and they are now struggling to catch up. Certain crops have been impacted by weather and war. We've all heard about all of the supply chain issues in ingredients and packaging as countries like China struggle to keep up. It's been a perfect storm of circumstances that are driving these changes.
For me personally, I have been navigating inflation with our household expenses as well as with our business, Makes 3 Organics. As a family, we are just like you making different consumer choices to control expenses. We do things like take fewer trips to Costco and instead buying at local grocery stores in smaller amounts. We buy several times during the week instead of one large grocery run. Are you doing this too?
In the business, supply chain disruptions have made us more adaptive in our purchasing practices. We have sought out new suppliers and made the investment of purchasing some ingredients in larger quantities to help level out the cost per unit. What we are finding with the business is that the challenges we face can create opportunities for improvement.
... the challenges we face can create opportunities for improvement.
Comparing Organic v. Conventional
So yes, everything feels and is more expensive and although wages and salaries also rose this year, for many of us there doesn't seem to be much left over at the end of the month for investing or having fun. As we look for expenses to trim to help with the bottom line, it can feel tempting to skip the organic and natural aisles at the store and head straight for conventional.
But is conventional always that much cheaper? When organic products arrived in the mainstream and stores started dedicating entire aisles or special sections to organic food and essentials, the prices were typically 20-50% or more than their conventional counterparts.
Those price differences depended on the category of product. Certain staples, like beef, were much more expensive when buying organic (some times 100% higher), while eggs weren't that much more expensive (around 5% typically). Buying organic personal care items could be more than double.
However, times have changed over the last few years. Just prior to the pandemic conventional prices started rising faster than organic in most categories and that has remained true during the pandemic. Some organic prices are still higher (not as significantly higher as in the past) while other prices have virtually evened out. We think that is good news.
Why Is Organic Important?
From our perspective the primary reason to buy organic food and essentials is to reduce the amount of industrial, agricultural and cosmetic chemicals we are exposing our bodies to. Many chemicals in our lives haven't been tested for safety or are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and irritants.
Many chemicals in our lives haven't been tested for safety or are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and irritants.
The USDA National Organics Program prohibits food producers and personal care companies from using certain chemicals in order to be able to display the USDA Certified seal. The program also dictates other farming practices and product manufacturing practices.
We believe in the USDA Seal because it helps guide consumer decision making in the grocery aisle. By making some shifts in the products you bring into your home, you can help reduce your family's exposure to these chemicals and make sure those products are as natural as possible. Especially for our children, studies show that an organic diet reduces the amount of pesticides in their bodies and paying attention to the ingredients in personal care and household cleaners can reduce other harmful chemicals.
Really it's about paying attention to the products you are consuming and trying to make sure they are as natural as possible.
Prioritizing Organic Even During Inflation
So what's the deal with the cost of organic groceries and essentials as we head into fall and winter of 2022? Overall the cost of foods and essentials continues to rise. But don't believe all of the hype! Many times we just skip the organic section assuming the prices will be too high.
Because we know that buying organic means you are reducing the number of potentially harmful chemicals you are exposing your body to, I really think it's worthwhile to do some real price comparisons in your local stores. But the first step is knowing which products are really worth it when it comes to organics.
Not every produce item or personal care product needs to be organic - so which ones should we buy? To help you make decisions in real-time in store aisles, I created the Everyone's Organic Shopping List.
Here is the opportunity for improvement. This convenient shopping list will help you first to identify those products that are best to shop organic and those that you can skip the organics altogether. From there you can do your price comparisons and decide which organic items to put into your cart. Some things may be pennies more, others may be dollars. It's up to you.
Simply click on the image above and you will find a downloadable pdf that you can print and use any time you need it!
Organics are important but they don't have to break the bank, even during inflation. Some mindfully shopping can go a long way. Good luck!
Kristine Sperling is a wellness enthusiast and co-founder of Makes 3 Organics, an organic brand dedicated to providing consumers organic alternatives to conventional personal care products. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her co-founder husband, Dan, their teenager, Alice, and their blue Shih Tzu, King.