REVEALED: Significant Nutritional Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic Produce
Undergoing an ‘organic revival’, the UK market now has 4 out of 5 households buying organic products, with the market itself worth £1.95bn.
People choose organic meat or dairy for three main reasons:
- Improved animal welfare
- The positive impact on the environment
- The perceived health benefits.
The Soil Association promotes the connection between organic production and the health of soil, food, animals, people and environment. The organic farming method requires farmers to adopt techniques that guarantee nutritionally different food, thus producing foods of a higher quality that are environmentally and ethically friendly.
Whilst there are strong views among nutritionists and health experts about the benefits of organic meat and dairy, solid facts about the actual nutritional benefits of organic produce are not as clear. A new study led by Newcastle University, however, shows organic meat and dairy products hold more nutritional benefits than first thought. We’ve summarised the findings below.
The 4 Nutritional Benefits Of Organically-Produced Dairy & Meat
- Organic meat and dairy products contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic.
- Organic meat has a lower concentration of the two saturated fats that are linked to heart disease.
- Organic meat and dairy products contain 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than non-organic. CLA is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and obesity.
- Organic meat and dairy products contain higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and carotenoids.
Newcastle University’s study shows there are key points of difference between organic and non-organic and consumers need to be made aware of these intrinsic health benefits. Organic standards insist that cows must eat a 60% grass-based diet, which may also include hay or silage. This means that organic animals eat higher levels of clover. Clover is used in organic farming to increase nitrogen so that grass can grow without the need for chemicals.
Clover also increases Omega 3 concentrations in meat and milk. However, the study did find that organic milk contains less iodine than non-organic, a potential concern as animal products are the leading source of iodine in the UK diet. This nutritional discrepancy should not be overlooked but it can, and has been addressed by producers.
For instance, by changing animal feed to combat this imbalance in 2014, organic milk produced by Omsco achieved comparable levels of iodine to conventional milk. In a recent 2016 comparison of bottled milk, these levels have been maintained. This is not to say that if something is not organic it is not good for you – far from it.
But the recent study does highlight some key nutritional benefits that are worth knowing. Should You Too Be Opting Into The Organic Revival? If you’re an organic producer, are thinking of making the switch to organic production, or just need some guidance then call us on 01803 203387 or send us an email at [email protected].