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Is Organic Food Worth the Money?

Organic food is more popular than ever—many grocery stores now stock it as an alternative for shoppers. On average, organic food costs 50%-100% more than conventionally grown produce. The added cost comes from farmers not using pesticides, which results in them producing smaller batches of crops.

Some say that organic food may be more nutritious and safer to eat, but research hasn’t found evidence one way or the other. If you decide to shop organic, you should know that there are still ways you can save.

Know your labels first
Just because you see the word ‘organic’ doesn’t mean it’s all organic. An easy way to tell is to look for foods that have the Department of Agriculture’s official organic seal. Only foods grown, harvested and processed according to national standards can use this seal. Here’s what each label means:

  • “100% organic” – Food that has no synthetic ingredients and has the official organic seal.
  • “Organic” – Food that has a minimum of 95% organic ingredients and can use the official organic seal.
  • “Made with organic ingredients” – Food that contains at least 70% organic ingredients and cannot use the official organic seal.

How to make your dollar go further
If you’re on a budget, a nonprofit called The Environmental Working Group recommends you buy organic for foods that are more likely to contain pesticides, such as:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

There are other ways you can keep costs down, too. Keep an eye out for deals or sales at the grocery store or check out local farmer’s markets—their prices tend to be lower as they don’t include shipping costs.

No matter if you decide to eat organic or not, experts agree that what’s most important is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Those who are looking to add more to their diet can get nutritional counseling through telehealth. Plus, as an FEP member you pay nothing for nutritional counseling provided by our telehealth service or a Preferred provider.