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Simple Answers to Questions on Food Claims and Labels

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Tips for the Discerning, Health Conscious Consumer

It’s hardly news that the food industry is a chaotic jumble of clumsy, incomplete scientific research, unfounded fads, confusing labels, and manipulative marketing ploys. You need more than a buzz word, a list of incomprehensible ingredients and a complicated, unexplained nutrition chart to make informed decisions about your health. That’s why at Topline Foods we’re dedicated to providing our readers with a full, contextual explanation, not only of our own choices and labels, but of the whole, intricate minefield that is the modern supermarket.

This week we’re going once more unto the breach, with another guide to misleading labels and common food myths; starting with one about organic foods.


Some People Say Organic Foods Cost More Because Suppliers are Taking Advantage, is This True?

This is one of the most disheartening, cynical views of Certified Organic foods, and one that we think does a deep injustice to the men and women who work hard to provide people like us with a better quality product. There are a number of perfectly understandable and unavoidable reasons why it costs a little more now to save ourselves a lot of trouble and money in the future:

1.   Quality Final Products from Quality Raw Materials:

  • It takes more than just good intentions to make a farm Certified Organic. You have to purchase a lot more land to raise truly free-range animals than those in conventional farming. To raise organic plants, it’s not enough to just stop using pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers, you have to be able to prove that the land has been chemical free for at least three years, which often means purchasing and maintaining the farm well before you’ll be able to start producing organic foods. It means carefully sourcing your water, protecting your crops from cross-contamination with your neighbor’s GMO’s and waves of airborne pesticides, keeping studious records, finding and inventing new methods of pest control and optimization that won’t be available at your local Home Depot. And because organic animals have to be fed organic plants, all those extra costs make their way up the food chain as well.


2.   Mono-cultures are Cheaper   (In the Short Term):

  • Two of the biggest disadvantages to huge, permanent fields of a single crop are that they deplete the soil very quickly and create an absolute paradise for whatever pests happen to thrive on that one crop. Without synthetic fertilizers and chemical warfare at their disposal, organic farmers find that the best solution is to create a diversified field, with several different organisms working together to create something approaching a natural, self sustaining ecosystem. The benefit is that they never have to purchase or apply artificial chemicals, which means no buildup of toxins in the food or in the fields. However, it means that they don’t get the benefits of mass production; they have to invest in the means to harvest, process, and transport several different foods instead of just one, and don’t get the bulk discounts that conventional farms do.


3.   They use People Instead of Machines:

  • Having multiple crops in the same field makes it much harder to harvest things mechanically, and several organic processes are more labor intensive. Some of the extra money you pay goes to a living wage to farmers who manage the fields manually, creating jobs and supporting the economy.



4.   Supply is Still Catching Up with Demand:

  • Raising organic crops on any kind of significant scale can be a laborious, expensive, and risky pursuit. Few people will jump into it lightly, and not everyone is convinced that organic is more than just a fad. Furthermore, like every new market, it takes time for businesses to establish themselves, develop the customer base, the experience, and the sheer capital they need to expand. There’s a huge groundswell of people clamoring for quality whole foods, but the suppliers just aren’t ready to supply all the organic food that we need yet. Until they do, organic will be slightly more expensive, but the more that we support this growing industry, the faster it will develop and the sooner things will begin to settle on a lower price that’s fair for everyone involved.


Topline Foods is here to help you support the Certified Organic movement and reap the nutritional benefits. And with our efficient packaging and convenient home delivery system, we can help you to get the most out of your food budget at the same time.

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