Organic and natural- terms that are often used interchangeably. People usually think that there is no difference between the two. However, many aspects relating to the production methods, labeling, and nutrition content differentiate the two. If you compare organic and natural from their definitions, the difference will be quite clear.
The trend to go organic has grown significantly in recent times, but the identical linking to both types still pervades a considerable mass. So we thought that it was important to get to the bottom of this!
Organic food refers to the food items that are produced, manufactured, and handled using organic methods defined by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act, IFOAM, etc.
The European Commission specifies that growers must adhere to rules of crops and not allow crops to be grown with:
- The use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
- Genetically Modified Organisms
It further calls for crops to be grown using rotational crop techniques. It combines the best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, and the application of high animal welfare standards.
On the other hand, “natural” on a food label means that it has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It does not refer to the methods or materials used to produce the food ingredients. These items are minimally synthesized. Stringent standards do not exist for natural food products in many parts of the world. Thus a natural food item is not necessarily organic and vice versa. ‘Natural’ is a descriptive marketing term that can be used with little to no constraint.
Labeling And Prices:
The organic food labels have legal implications. A manufacturer must follow specific rules and regulations before using the organic label. For example, any product labeled as organic on the product description or packaging must be USDA certified in the US. The USDA also has guidelines on how organic foods are described on product labels as 100 percent organic, Organic, Made with organic and Organic ingredients.
However, natural labels are normally used freely by manufacturers due to lack of adequate guidelines. The International Association of Natural Products Producers (IANPP) is trying to get the definitions for natural food into a reliable and credible place, but it should be noted that this association is not a certification body.
The price differentials also exist in both cases. While organic is priced higher than non-organic food, natural food is priced higher than processed food.
Organic foods have fewer fertilizers and pesticides residues than their conventional counterparts. This reduces the intake of toxic metals in the body. Also, organic has more beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. On the contrary, the choice of natural food is driven by the notion that excessive processing of food items disturbs the implicit health benefits.
The bottom line is that ‘certified organic’ does hold some weight for skeptical users while ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ is pretty much meaningless.
At Biohabit, we follow the standard rules and regulations laid out by the European Commission and trade in certified organic produce with many regions of Europe. To get a taste of our rich and healthy products, visit our site!