Why is Organic Food So Expensive?

With all of the health risks that are in our food, it’s obvious why many people are choosing to purchase organic foods. However, larger families and families with limited income are unable to because organic food costs so much!

Most consumers don’t understand why. If you ask your friends and family why organic food is so expensive, you may get answers like “because it’s so popular right now,” “there are only limited sources,” or even “because they are trying to rob us blind!”

Personally, the higher costs of organic foods have always angered me; I want my children to be healthy, but I cannot afford to feed my kids healthy food! This is actually a sad trend in America today, but we will get into that on another day. Today, we are sticking specifically to organic foods.

I have never understood why organic food costs so much. In my mind, since the farmers aren’t using all of the costly products – like pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics – then the organic food should be cheaper. As a person who cannot even try a new recipe without hours of research (yes, I am actually that bad…I research EVERYTHING before I do something) I decided to investigate exactly why organic food is so much more costly than non-organic food.

  1. Demand exceeds supply. So many people are turning to organic foods, and only a limited number of farmers are producing them; this creates competition, which in turn raises the prices.
  2. Higher production costs. Organic farmers put more work into growing organic foods, weeding, feeding, watering and general care. Not only that, but they can’t produce enough of the crop at one time to offset the overall production cost. Therefore, they charge more.
  3. Smaller quantities mean higher costs after harvest. Remember organic foods are produced in smaller quantities than conventional foods yet the packaging and transport costs are still the same. With conventional foods, as with organic food, this expense is spread over each unit. Since there are fewer units of organic foods, the expense assigned to each unit is higher than that of conventional foods.
  4. Other Costs Incurred. Organic production requires processes not necessary for conventional farming. This creates additional costs that are then added to the cost of each unit. What types of processes?

    Strict guidelines for organic farming create the following types of expenses:

    1. Environmental enhancements, and prevention of future pollution problems
    2. Ensuring there is nothing that will hurt animals
    3. Health risk prevention
    4. Wages for local workers

I know what you’re thinking…that’s all great information, but how does it help us afford to buy organic foods? It doesn’t. But understanding why things are the way they are brings us closer to change.

6 Comments

  1. Avatar Michael on June 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm

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  2. Avatar Sam on June 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!



  3. Avatar Nancy on June 19, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks 🙂



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  5. Avatar Amy on June 24, 2010 at 9:31 am

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  6. Avatar Brian Murry on June 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Great, I never knew this, thanks.



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