Why Do People Buy Organic Products and Foods?
Source: Wellness Interactive
Before Michael and his wife had
a baby, purchasing organic products was never a consideration and
buying mainstream goods was a matter of course for the busy couple.
However, when Emma was ready for solid foods, Michael told us, “We just
decided to go with organic baby food…My wife read something in a
magazine about it, and it just makes sense…I think we just want to give
her the best without pesticides and hormones…as natural as it can be
just because we know it’s better.”
As with Michael and his wife,
becoming a parent is a strong trigger for many people to begin to buy
organic foods. Parents with small children believe that introducing
organics is like working on a “clean slate” that will help to ensure
future good health. Some begin using organics while they are pregnant;
while others start once their child has transitioned to baby food
and/or dairy products. Purchasing organics makes parents feel like they
are being proactive in protecting their children, teaching them how to
eat right, and acting responsibly.
As Emma got older, Michael and
his wife decided to continue buying organic. First, they started
purchasing dairy products such as milk and yogurt, and then they began
to purchase items that they felt have high levels of pesticides or
chemical. “We just wanted to continue to give her foods that haven’t
been exposed to that unnatural and harmful stuff. It just seems that
fruits like strawberries and apples are most affected. Their skins are
directly exposed to the pesticides, aren’t they? Bananas and
oranges seem protected because you remove the skin before you eat it.”
Many people follow the same
pathway as Michael’s family, first adopting fruits, vegetables, and
baby food, then moving to other categories such as juice and cereal.
The accompanying graphic shows this typical organic pathway.
Health conditions are another
reason people cite for beginning to purchase organic products. Being
diagnosed with a health condition proves to be a strong influence for
changes in diet, nutrition, and wellness regimes. The most frequently
mentioned health trigger is food allergies. Cathryn says a change for
her family is on the horizon, “I’m just going to have to start buying
organic for her [daughter]. I personally have never, ever really used
organic things…she’s got allergies, as we know, and stuff like that. It
[nonorganic food] might be a problem, so we’re starting to use organic.”
Some people wait to be diagnosed
with a condition before purchasing organic, others see organics as a
means for prevention. Brian, an avid organics user, says “I mean you
wouldn’t drink a shot glass of pesticides would you? The link
between cancer or allergies and toxic levels in foods is one that is
easily made and understood by many individuals, making the transition
to organics an obvious choice. Toxicity levels and potential health
hazards are fairly tangible reasons to begin buying organic.
Other reasons for making the
move to organics are varied. Some hear about how friends, family
members, or colleagues are using organics and decide to go for it
themselves. Others just state common sense (e.g., “If pesticides aren’t
good for bugs, how can they be good for us?”) because they saw or heard
a story about the benefits of organics or one about food production
that alarmed or frightened them.
What is also interesting about
the use of organics is that a lot people aren’t so much driven to begin
using them because they’ve considered the chemicals in the soil, the
food an animal eats, or the increased absorption of chemicals on
particular foods, rather they are motivated by recommendations from
family or friends, better taste options, or on impulse if the price is
Initial motivations for buying
organic vary from becoming a parent to being diagnosed with a health
condition to developing a greater interest in disease prevention and/or
making the switch due to family concerns. Whether one becomes an
educated lifetime organics user or reverts back to mainstream products
from there depends wholly on the person and the situation.
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