Consumer interest in organic products continues to grow on a global level. A recent article revealed some new statistics regarding consumer spending for organics. Data from the United Kingdom (UK) Soil Association revealed that in 2006, UK consumers spent $3.7 billion on organic products. Organic farming in countries such as India, China, and Russia now accounts for approximately 4.1 million hectares, according to the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Association. The Organic Trade Association estimates that in the United States, sales of organic products are expected to top $25 billion in 2008.

When it comes to nutrition content, a recent study conducted at the University of Copenhagen revealed that organic produce has no more nutritional benefit than conventionally farmed produce. The researchers studied five crops including carrots, kale, mature peas, apples and potatoes. Study leader Dr. Susanne Bugel stated, "No systematic differences between cultivation systems representing organic and conventional production methods were found across the five crops so the study does not support the belief that organically grown foodstuffs generally contain more major trace elements than conventionally grown foodstuffs." The study was published in the Society of Chemical Industry's (SCI) Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture. The study did not assess the effects on human health of pesticides or chemicals in conventionally and organically grown foods.

In regards to produce, some products have been found to contain higher levels of pesticide residue. Therefore, it is suggested that purchasing organic products may be of benefit. A few of these include apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries. Additionally, if produce with edible skin or any type of leafy green is on the menu, organic may be the safer product to purchase. Some fruits and vegetables with fewer pesticide residue levels include asparagus, avocado, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mango, onions, papaya, peas, and pineapple.

Consumers purchase organic products for their own personal reasons. A few include supporting the local farmer, which can also reduce fuel and transportation costs, reduction of chemicals in the products they consume, and for their own lifestyle.

The jury is still out on whether organic farming is any better for the environment than conventional methods. Time will tell. Either way, interest and consumption on organic products continues to grow.

Additional Sources:

1., Study: Organic food not more nutritional, August 20, 2008.

2. Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Atria Books, 2005: 74.

Author's Bio: 

Susan M. Piergeorge, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian. Her career includes nutritional counseling, health promotion and food industry experience. She also possesses a professional culinary certificate. Her blog is