Organic Articles: Mainstream Organics for a Healthy Planet!

The Organic Consultancy

Mainstream Organics for a Healthy Planet!

Simon Wright is founder of The Organic Consultancy. Since 1986 he has specialised in the development of organic food and drink, working with companies throughout Europe and in the USA. Clients range from small manufacturers of natural foods through to one of the UK’s largest multiple retailers. Simon is editor of The Handbook of Organic Food Processing and Production, a Board Member of UKROFS (The United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards) and Deputy Chair of the Processors Committee of the Soil Association.

My cupboard contains only brown rice and wholemeal pasta, my freezer contains only wholemeal bread (all organic, of course). But I am in the minority. The battle for wholefoods was waged in the 70’s and we lost. White bread now outsells wholemeal by a factor of six to one. Organic consumers want to buy white pasta, white rice and white bread because that is what the majority of consumers in the UK like.

There is more to nutrition than whether a food is whole-grain or how much sugar it contains. Organic food is superior to non-organic food in many ways. The artificial additives and ingredients such as hydrogenated fat which are prevalent throughout mainstream processed food are banned by law from organic food. Organic standards prevent the use of synthetic pesticides and Genetically Modified ingredients. There is a report on the way from the Soil Association which will bring together international research on the nutritional superiority of organic food compared to its non-organic counterpart. And the first 70% cocoa solids, ultra-delicious dark chocolate to be freely available in the UK was Green & Black’s organic version!

For me, one of the major incentives to go organic is the benefits organic agriculture brings to the planet. Organic farming reduces pollution, increases biodiversity and creates jobs. These benefits are achieved irrespective of what happens to the organic crops. Take a field of organic wheat. Once harvested that wheat could be turned into white flour, wholemeal pasta or even distilled to make organic vodka. The effect on the planet is the same – highly beneficial.

Producers of organic food cannot be expected to police the shopping and eating habits of the nation. A frozen organic pizza does no harm once in while, even if in strict nutritional terms it contains more fat than is desireable for optimum health. Organic consumers, like other responsible citizens, must take personal responsibility for the foods they select and consume in order to stay healthy. Processed organic foods have a major role to play in the modern diet and if chosen appropriately they will result in healthy people and a healthy planet.

Simon Wright