The top 5 reasons that came out for not switching to organic products and a more sustainable lifestyle when we spoke to a bunch of our friends and family about it are:
- Products are always not readily available
- They are expensive as compared to traditional alternatives
- We are still skeptical about the health benefits of using organic products
- We are skeptical that all organic products might not be actually organic and may just be marketed as such
- Not convinced if they are good for our environment in any which way
Let us try to address each of these issues
1. Products are always not readily available
While this sounds just about right anecdotally, below are the numbers that prove beyond doubt that this is very true. The table below is of the total food production in India in 2020-2021.
The total organic food production in India is less than 1% of its total production. To add to this about 25% of the organic produce from India gets exported. Evidently, there is a supply-side constraint. However, there are some promising signs. India ranks first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming. Sikkim became the first state in the world to become fully organic and other states including Tripura and Uttarakhand have set similar targets.
2. They are expensive as compared to traditional alternatives
We covered this in detail here.
3. We are still skeptical about the health benefits of using organic products
For every article on the health benefits of organic products, you would find a counter opinion or research which says a) That the food or other products we consume are safe within the prescribed safety standards and have fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals within permissible limits and b) organic produce is in no way more nutritious or tasty than its traditional alternative.
If you take your mind off the information overload of the internet, the choice is really quite simple. Even if we were to assume, and this is in no way an admission since we would rather let the experts opine here, that organic produce doesn’t have any additional nutritional benefit why would you in your right senses want to voluntarily put in a “permissible” dose of chemicals in your body. We don’t live in a bubble and so we cannot control the air we breathe or the water we drink all the time. But switching to a chemical-free product is within your control, so why wouldn’t you do that.
Remember it’s only in the recent past how everything “refined” from sugar, oil and atta and dals were being sold to us as a much healthier option.
4. We are skeptical that all organic products might not be actually organic and may just be marketed as such
This has been a very big concern amongst most of the people that we spoke to. With growing consumer awareness about climate impact and sustainability, global marketeers are spending top-notch dollars to Greenwash their products. Yes, Greenwash is an actual term.
Greenwashing is a form of marketing spin in which PR and marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims, and policies are environmentally friendly. It is when an organization spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact. Some of the dirty tactics used here are a) Making irrelevant claims and emphasizing one tiny green attribute when everything else is anti-green b) Making a claim that has no evidence c) Fluffy language and sometimes outright lies.
This has led to increased consumer skepticism about the green claims being made all around by companies and it makes it difficult for them to find the truth from the rest. Short of a visit to the manufacturing plant, the only true way is to rely on certification, given by competent and independent authorities.
5. Not convinced if they are good for our environment in any which way
One of the criticisms that we came across was that organic produce generates a much larger carbon footprint. In layman’s terms, since organic produce doesn’t use artificial productivity enhancers or genetically modified seeds, the average yield per hectare is lower. So, you would need to cultivate more land to produce the same amount of food which would mean a reduction in forest cover and hence the conjecture that it would have a much more negative impact on the climate. We would let the experts argue the veracity of this. But our humble submission here is that nearly half of the fruits and vegetables produced and nearly 30 percent of all food produce globally are wasted each year as per the United Nations *. The problem here lies somewhere else. We should work towards solving the problem of human excesses and disregard for our limited natural resources.