Tag Archives: Organic Food Buying Tips

Organic on a Budget? These Tips Will Show You How!

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While most consumers now understand the benefits of consuming organic foods for both their family and the environment, many still shy away due to price concerns. Once difficult to find, organically grown meats, dairy products, fruits and veggies have become much more affordable as their availability has increased, yet they can still be a bit more expensive to purchase than the less healthy, commercially produced versions. If this price difference has kept you from incorporating more healthful foods into your diet, consider using these tips from Mopfrog of Atlantic City to help you go organic easily, even on a tight budget!

Focus on Ingredients

One of the best ways to keep organic foods within in budget is to focus on purchasing basic, versatile ingredients instead of pre-packaged, convenience type foods that only last for one meal. For instance, purchasing a large bag of organic rice will help you create several meals for your family instead of just one pre-packaged, seasoned rice side dish.

Switch Slowly

Eating organically is not something that must be implemented all at once. Instead of overloading the budget with huge purchases of organic foods, use a more gradual approach. For example, when you run low on a specific item in your pantry or fridge, opt to replace it with an organic one. After only a few weeks, you will find that you are eating a much healthier, more organic diet without bankrupting your grocery budget.

Eat Seasonally, Eat Local

Learn to eat what is in season! Watch for both the harvesting schedule of local growers and seasonal specials on certain items in the grocery store, such as strawberries and blueberries in the spring, tomatoes in summer, apples and potatoes in the fall and citrus in the winter. This will often be the least expensive times to purchase these items for several months or even the entire year, so consider buying in bulk and freezing or processing the excess to use throughout the year.

Opt for Store Brand Organic

Popular brands of commercially processed foods always cost more and this fact often holds true in the organic food industry too. To save money, experiment with store brand organic products. In most cases, the taste and quality will be just as good, yet the price will be far less.

Take Advantage of Quantity Discounts

The freshest, least expensive organic foods will usually be the ones grown locally. Develop a relationship with reputable growers in your area or search them out through farmer’s markets, roadside stands or direct farm sales. When you find a great deal on delicious, organically grown meats, fruits or veggies, purchase them in quantity and learn to freeze, can or dehydrate the excess for future meals.

Change Up Menu Plans

Another great way to enjoy the quality of organic foods on a budget is to change up menu plans a bit. Learn to make delicious soups with veggie trimmings and the rich broth made from poultry or beef bones or substitute protein-rich foods like beans for some or all of the meat in traditional recipes.

With smart shopping and a bit of creativity, you may soon find yourself enjoying a pantry, fridge and freezer full of delicious organic foods, even on a budget!

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Are Organic Foods Really Better For You

At Mopfrog, we understand the importance of making healthier choices. This includes what we put into our bodies, especially food. As organic foods become increasingly available through both local growers and grocery stores, more consumers than ever before have the opportunity to purchase organically grown meats, grains, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. This availability, however, continues to raise questions among the consumers who are just learning about organic foods, especially when proponents of conventional agriculture continue to argue that there is no nutritional difference or benefits derived from choosing organically grown foods.

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The Differences Between Organic & Conventional Agriculture

Prior to World War II, most of the food available in the United States would be considered organic, by today’s standards. Soils were amended with compost and manure, and the poultry squad likely did insect control in the garden. During the war, however, scientists discovered that nerve gas was not only a weapon of war, but also a potent insecticide, and our food supply was changed forever.

Over the next decades, science would play an increasing role in agriculture, as pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and hormones were used to improve crop yields and create a more uniform crop with improved shipping characteristics.

The Birth of GMO

As the research continued and agriculture became increasingly market-driven, it was only a matter of time until scientists also discovered that they could alter the genetics of plants and animals to make them grow faster or have more uniform traits.

This was done by extracting the genes of one species and forcing them into those of another, unrelated species. This allowed the scientists to choose and exploit traits, such as growth rates or insect resistance for the benefit of the marketplace. In many cases plant genes became part of animal genes, and vice versa. Known today as GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, nearly all conventional farming utilizes these altered genetics in both crop and livestock production.

Why Choose Organic?

Years of chemical research and genetic modifications have created foods that look good in the supermarket, so why should consumers choose to shop for organic foods, especially when buying meat and produce?

  • Lower risk of contamination – Conventional meats are often produced by feeding cows, pigs, chickens and other animals a diet that includes antibiotics to keep them from getting sick and growth hormones to get them to market weight as fast as possible. Likewise, conventionally grown produce is treated with herbicides to make cultivation easier, while pesticides handle insect control. These additives are now being linked to health and development issues, such as ADHD, IQ issues and cancer.
  • Improved nutrition – Meats that are organically grown are often allowed to forage in pastures, eating a variety of nutrient rich grasses and plants, much as wild animals do. This leads to higher levels of healthy fats, such as the omega-3s in the form of leaner, tastier protein.
  • Less distance from farm to plate – Since organic foods are not treated with chemicals to retard spoilage or harvested before they ripen, consumers benefit from the fact that they are produced nearer their markets.

Banned in Many Countries

As concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods grow, many other countries have already placed a ban to keep them out of their countries. At this time, Australia, France, Germany and more than twenty other countries have taken this step.

The Consumer’s Choice

To get maximum health benefits and taste from organic foods for your family, consider finding local sources for meats, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy products, when possible. For products that you cannot source locally, shop your grocery store’s organic section.

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Understanding Organic Labeling: What Consumers Should Know

Shopping for groceries is one of those tasks that many of us do on auto-pilot. In fact, many consumers find themselves purchasing the same brands, week after week, without taking the time to read the labels or compare the product to others on the market. While this habit may help you race through the grocery store at top speed, it probably isn’t helping you choose the most nutritious, healthful foods for your family’s weekly meals. Making better food choices can be as easy as learning about organic food labeling and choosing fresh, healthy foods that bear this labeling.

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Changing Times, Changing Trends in Food Labels

Just a few short decades ago, the organic food industry made up only a tiny slice of the market and consumers who wanted to experience the benefits living a healthier lifestyle by consuming organic foods often had trouble locating a source for them. Pressure from this growing segment of consumers helped convince the food industry to offer consumers more access and a wider variety of organically grown foods.

As demand grew and access improved, consumers often found shopping for organic foods confusing, due to the lack of a standardized labeling system. It wasn’t until the implementation of the National Organic Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, that a standardized food labeling program was created allowing consumers to instantly recognize organic foods in the market.

Organics in Growth Mode

Now, more consumers than ever before are demanding access to healthful, organically grown foods. In fact, a 2014 industry survey sponsored by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) showed that 81 percent of consumers reported purchasing organic foods, at least occasionally. As this demand has grown, the food supply chain has responded and now most food markets, grocery stores and chain stores that sell food have a well-stocked organic foods section.

Recognizing Organic Foods

The USDA’s National Organic Program has created a series of easily recognizable seals and standardized label wording that consumers can watch for when shopping. The seals and wording may be attached to each item, or be prominently displayed on signage over bulk produce displays, such as large quantities of fruits or vegetables.

  • 100% Organic – This wording will appear on those items or products that meet the standards of organically grown or produced items. This wording can appear with or without the round USDA Organic Seal. The seal may be green and brown, black and white or appear as a simple black outline on transparent packaging, such as clear plastic film.
  • Organic – This wording will appear on those items or products that meet the specifications to be considered at least 95% organic. The organic seal, as described above, may or may not be included on the packaging or market displays.
  • Made with Organic Ingredients – This wording is displayed on packaging or signage for products and items that are at least 70% organic. The seal is not used on this classification of organic labeling.
  • Less than 70% Organic Ingredients – This wording is used when the item or product has some portion of organic materials included in the ingredient list and the seal is not used.

Taking a few minutes to learn about organic labeling will help you learn to recognize and choose the healthiest, freshest and most organic foods whenever you shop!

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