Organic Food - Save by Knowing What you Should & Shouldn't buy

Organic food is all over the supermarkets and it can be confusing knowing whether it is worth your money. Are the higher prices really worth it? We’ve brought you some top tips on how to save money by knowing what you should and shouldn’t buy when shopping for organic food.

What Does Organic Mean?

Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t processed with any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and contain no additives or radiation exposure. Studies have shown that organic foods are not necessarily 100% pesticide free even if they do contain less than the normal brand. Organic meats are derived from animals that are free from hormones and antibiotics and live on 100% organic feed. Animals also have access to the outdoors. 

Foods you Shouldn't buy Organic

Non Organic FoodSeeing something labelled as organic doesn’t automatically mean it is healthier for you. There are certain fruits and vegetables that naturally protect themselves from pesticides with their thick skins. It is possible pesticides may linger on banana or avocado peels but these are discarded so buying organic makes little difference. There are also certain foods that don’t attract many harmful organisms so save your money and buy the regular version. Here are 10 foods that you shouldn’t pay organic prices for and some reasons why. Buying these foods organic in your local supermarket will cost you on average £17.25 compared to non-organic at £10.39. That’s huge savings each week! 

  • Asparagus - Asparagus attracts few insects meaning fewer pesticides are used. Feel free to buy it from the non-organic aisle.

  • Avocados - Avocados have thick skins which protect their fleshy insides from absorbing any pesticides during growth. Organic avocados are a lot more expensive than normal ones but once opened there is no difference to their insides.

  • Bananas - Like the avocado, the thick peel of a banana protects the inside from any pesticides. As the peel is discarded, there is no harm in buying non-organic bananas.

  • Broccoli - Broccoli is less likely to be attacked by insects as they simply aren’t interested in the taste. Buy florets that are bundled tightly and deep green and there is no need to go organic.

  • Cabbage - Insects aren’t keen in the look and taste of cabbage so tend to stay clear. Save money by buying non-organic and shed the top few layers of leaves as those are the ones that are likely to be hit with pesticide sprays.

  • Cantaloupe - You should be thankful for the thick outer peel when it comes to melon. This peel protects them from any harm leaving the inside fresh and pesticide free!

  • Corn Cobs - Corn cobs have been tested by the Department of Agriculture to contain no pesticides or detectable chemicals.

  • Kiwi - That brown outer layer of skin doesn't protect you from getting juice everywhere, but also protects the delicious soft inside from any pesticides.

  • Onions - Onions don’t need pesticides as these bulbs grow underground meaning they are safe from any insects in the air. Insects are also repelled by the strong odour of onions and studies have shown that organic onions provide no difference in level of antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts.

  • Pineapple - Peeling a pineapple is not an easy task and that thick prickly peel on the outside is exactly what protects the fruit from absorbing any agricultural chemicals. Buying organic will make no difference to your fruit, only your bank balance

Foods you Should buy Organic

Organic FoodsMany people are still willing to pay extra to avoid the chance of having harmful pesticides on their food. There are certain foods labelled as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ which are said to have the highest amount of pesticide residue and where possible you should try and buy organic. It is estimated that individuals can reduce their exposure to pesticides by 80% when buying these 12 foods in the organic range.

  • Apples - Apples are one of the most highly contaminated crops and their thin layer of skin is no match for pesticides which can seep into the core. Buy organic where possible.

  • Celery - Celery stalks are very porous and they can soak up the pesticides and hold onto them and you won’t get this from buying organic.

  • Celery - Celery stalks are very porous and they can soak up the pesticides and hold onto them and you won’t get this from buying organic.

  • Cucumber - The waxy skin of a cucumber tends to hold a lot of chemicals so to avoid some contamination try peeling before eating.

  • Grapes - Pesticides are virtually undetectable on organic grapes yet highly prevalent on the non organic versions.

  • Nectarines - We tend to eat the skin on nectarines and there is no certainty that all pesticides will have washed off. As the skin is relatively thin, pesticides can seep through.

  • Peaches - As with nectarines, peaches are also eaten with the skin on and this would have been treated with harmful chemicals.

  • Potatoes - We’ve all heard about the terrible pests that have affected potato crops throughout history so many pesticides are relied on to keep the potatoes safe. Sweet potatoes have a much lower amount of pesticide residue.

  • Snap Peas - Pesticides can be present on the skins of sugar snap peas so its best to buy organic if you eat the whole pea.

  • Spinach - This leafy green contains over 50 pesticides so it’s worth buying organic if you can. To save money buy frozen spinach as this will contain a lot less.

  • Strawberries - The large surface area of a strawberry and all those tiny bumps makes it hard to wash pesticides off so by going non-organic you are ingesting more chemicals. 

  • Sweet bell peppers - This thin skinned vegetable is highly susceptible for insecticides to seep into it.

Save on Organic Food

Strawberry BasketIn addition to saving money in general on your food shop by using coupons and buying in bulk, the best way to save money on organic food is to buy local. Local farmers markets are a great way to get fresh organic food on a budget at the best price. It also supports your local community.

For more food related money saving tips, read our article on How to Save Money on Your Food Shop.




What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigDo you buy organic? What food items do you think are worth the money? Do you think you will be putting some of the above into action?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below. 

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