Organic food is set to become one of the beggest food trends in Europe in this century, according to an article published in the Sunday Business Post (September 2005 By Suzanne Mitchell). She points out that Organic Baby Food now accounts for almost half of all baby food bought worldwide ( a figure which does not reflect how many parents feed their babies organically because many parents use organic ingredients to make their own babyfood). Furthermore, Mitchell points out that in Itlay local authorities are oblidged to include organic and quality products on their school menus. In the Uk over the last year many schools are trying to use organic suppliers in an attempt to clean up their image after Jaime Oliver lambasted them in his TV programme.
In Ireland, the organic sector is growing by 10% per year (Mitchell got these stats a year ago - I think it has sped up since then.) Apparently this represent only 1% of the entire Irish food industry - worth an estimated 38 million in 2003. However if we follow European treads then it will be worth 4 times that by the end of this year.
Mitchell’s article is not entirely complimentary to the ‘organic philosophy’. She quotes many sources that question whether organic agriculture is better than conventional agriculture, and whether the resulting foods are better for consumers. She quotes the British Food Commission (2000) as saying:
''Hundreds of organic products are coming on to the market, including highly processed jelly sweets, sugar-laden organic cereals, organic chicken burgers and even organic cigarettes.”
In Organico, we clearly do buy into the Organic Philosophy; but we also welcome articles of this sort that encourage consumers to question what they are being fed. Unfortunately many organic products are coming onto the market now that are just as harmful to health, if not to the environment, than non-organic foods. We still have to read labels and choose brands that w believe in, not just brands that shout the loudest through their adverts.
When buying for a Wholefood Shop you carry a weight of responsibility in terms of what you choose to stock, as many customers believe that if a product is on a Wholefood Shop shelf it is going to be beneficial for their health. Also, many of us are in this business because we want to sell positive products, so naturally we select the products we sell for their organic credentials - not just their packaging!