When a consumer decides to look for and buy organic food products the range of available products can be bewildering. It is true that the range of organic products available is nearly the same as that of non-organic products – the range of food available to consumers at the moment is huge, with imported foods, local specialities, and small gourmet-style companies producing home style sauces, spreads and condiments – all vying to catch the shoppers eyes. What’s available for organic shoppers?
If a shopper new to organic food wants a leg of lamb, or a tin of tomatoes (crushed, peeled, or mixed with fresh herbs), or some sultanas; all these are available in organic form. Basically, all the ingredients used in a non-organic diet are available produced organically. They taste better, are perhaps packaged a little differently, and may be a little more expensive. It is likely that they were packaged in less intensive factory environments, as food from non-organic sources often is.
It is a good idea to shop around, see the range of shops that sell organic food, compare prices at several, and taste various brands (or farm labels) that make or produce the same product. Organic fruit and vegetables will probably be labelled with the name of the farm or producer. The same is likely for meat and fish products. This is an extra guarantee of ‘food responsibility and accountability’ that sets apart the organic food movement. At a weekly farmers market, the growers and producers (or their representative, or a family member) will be at the stall selling you their produce, and available to tell consumers about the product and their organic standards.
In regular high street supermarkets, organic food is usually given a separate aisle – the fruit and vegetables are kept together at one end of the vegetable section; and any tinned or canned goods are given a separate section of aisle in the dried goods section. Organic fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets are often sold loose, instead of pre-packaged in bags and sold in weight. Some supermarkets are now experimenting with mixing organic food and non-organic food together in each aisle: the many new brands of organic chocolate for instance can often now be found alongside the old standard bars in the huge confectionery aisles.
This is a good development, as it shows customers that the two types of food production can co-exist, and many non-organic consumers may be tempted to try a product, whereas a specialist organic aisle might be viewed as too elitist, or not worth visiting, by many non-organic eaters.
Meat and fish that is produced organically is given separate space in the regular meat and fish sections, and clearly labelled as organic.
Specialist Organic Shops
Specialist organic shops, organic delicatessens, health food shops, and even organic supermarkets are now cropping up on high streets across the UK, in every town and city. Some villages now have exclusive organic or health food shops as well – catering for local demand.
While the organic market is still relatively new, many of these small Independent stores are testing the retail waters, and need consumer support to survive and thrive. Any independent store trading in the UK needs local customer support to stay in business against the power of the supermarkets.