Why Do Organic Foods Cost So Much?

Eating healthily can be quite difficult in this day and age for many reasons. Maybe you’re always busy and never have the time to cook proper meals, so you order unhealthy fast food just because it’s convenient. Or maybe it’s because of how expensive healthy food can be, and you’re just not willing to pay that much.

It’s true that healthy food can be expensive, and chief among these are organic foods. If you’ve ever thought about going on a diet to lose weight and did some reading online, you would have probably read about how organic foods are a lot more nutritious for you and have many health benefits. The term ‘organic’ refers to the way these agricultural food products are grown and cultivated. Unlike mass-produced crops, organically-grown produce needs to meet certain criteria, like avoiding any use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and cannot be genetically modified in any way.

Unsurprisingly, with such specific conditions to meet, production costs of organic foods are a lot higher, and as a result, the consumer ends up paying at least twice more than he or she would for regular foods. Here’s an in-depth look at the reasons that cause organic foods to be priced so highly.


Time Requirements

They say that time is money, and organic foods take a longer time to grow than regular foods. Because organic foods cannot be injected with chemicals to enhance and accelerate growth, they take more time to fully mature before they are able to be harvested. This results in fewer turnover periods in a year compared to regular farming methods, which means the produce needs to be higher priced for the farmers to make a profit.

Organic foods also cannot be grown using pesticides as they are considered to be harmful chemicals that can destabilize the natural state of the food. As a result, organic farmers need to find for other ways to control pests and diseases — these are usually manual methods, like hiring more farmhands to watch the crops. All of this takes money, so the cost works its way down to the product that the consumer will pay for.

The same applies to organic livestock being raised for organic meat — no growth hormones can be used, so everything stays natural. More hands-on care is required for organic livestock as well, which is only going to cost even more money.


Official Certification

Before organic products can be sold to consumers, most countries have made it a mandatory process to get the foods officially certified. Certification requirements involve checking the growing and storage process, as well as the packaging and shipping methods that are used.

While this does indeed verify that the products are fully organic and consumers will not be subjected to potential scams, the initial certification process costs money — as much as $700 to $1,200. After that, there are renewal certification costs and equipment licensing costs, which can add up quite substantially. These extra costs will be passed onto the consumers, which contributes to the high price of organic foods.


Special Facilities

Yet another way that organic foods differ from regular crops are the areas where they are grown. Organic crops cannot be grown just anywhere, and they require land that fits certain criteria. For example, the land and soil need to be free from any prohibited substances for at least three years.

With such specific requirements, the choices for land plots to grow organic foods is not as many as one would think, and many landowners who do possess these organic gold mines mark up the prices because they know how valuable it is.


Production Education

To grow and cultivate organic food, there are many regulations that one needs to understand and adhere to before anything can begin. Many organic farm organizations spend significant sums of time and money to educate themselves and all staff members so that they will be well-versed when dealing with the various organic policies.

Once again, the extra costs incurred during production will make their way down into the final product, and the consumer will be the one paying for it.


Consumer Psychology

When we first mentioned the words ‘organic food’, it’s likely you had the first impression that they are expensive. If you did think that, you’re probably not alone, because many people have the exact same mindset that organic and healthy foods are pricey.

Some companies are aware that most consumers think this way, and as such, they price their products high on purpose. If consumers already expect organic products to be expensive, they’re not going to question anything if prices remain high, so these companies mark up the prices to make a bigger profit. It’s an unethical thing to do, but in the name of profits, anything is fair game to these companies.