Bengaluru: The trend of purchasing organic food products has increased among the residents, but nutritionists don’t consider them any better than conventional food.
According to a report published by Expert Market Research, a US-based company, the Indian organic food market was valued at $849.5 million in 2020. The forecast for 2021-2026 shows a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 20.5 percent, predicting the industry will $2.6 billion by 2026.
Ranjini Guruprasad, owner of Kashyapi Naturals and Organic Food, informed The Observer: “Health has always been the priority of people. During the first lockdown, there had been a big demand for organic products, particularly immunity boosters.”
An employee of the company shared: “I have seen that people who were not so much interested in buying ‘good’, or organic stuff, have started buying (it). They enquire about the benefits of products, and we describe them.”
Customers were seen enquiring staff members about grocery products. The food section was much frequented.
Hina Kouser, an employee at The Organic World, shared: “People are now more interested in buying organic food products, be it fruits and vegetables, dairy or grocery products. Even though the products are a little bit costlier, they are ready to pay…. After all, it’s about good health which people don’t ignore.”
“Over the months, we have seen an increase in the number of people purchasing our organic fruits and vegetables,” Kouser added.
The fruits and vegetables section at The Organic World was popular. The Observer noted customers enquiring the staff about the quality of the products. The store listed 25 banned chemicals not used in their products.
Dr Savita Swami, a senior nutritionist, holds a different view: “If organic products are really organic, then it’s OK. But, in reality, we don’t know whether the food industry selling us the products is good or not. It has become a matter of making lifestyle changes and making a strong immune system. Instead of people blindly following organic products, they can switch on to micro-greens and acquire wise eating habits.”
During the pandemic, many people sought her advice on shifting to organic products. Her advice is to eat a combination of foods in the right proportions.
Customers also believe that organic products are healthier. Jitika Anand, a regular buyer, said: “I started purchasing organic foods after the pandemic. I understood the importance of a healthy diet and recommended my family to use organic products.”
Megha Bhargava, another customer, shared: “Last year, my sister had a baby. For her, we started buying organic food products. We find them healthy. For the baby, we buy organic infant cereal mixes and yogurt.”
Another shopper, Shikha Shipra, said: “After Covid, I started to buy natural products. I feel they are safe and more nutritious. Covid demands you to have a strong immunity, and I think these products provide you good immunity.”
According to a report published on the website of ZME Science, a 2009 meta-analysis revealed that there was no difference in the nutritional content of organic and conventional foods. An analysis of 240 studies by a Stanford team comprising Crystal Smith-Spanglar and her colleagues in 2012 reported little difference in the health benefits of organic and conventional foods, and no difference in the vitamin, protein and fat content.