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8 ways to make organic more affordable

Although the benefits of organic food are pretty priceless, there are many ways to eat better for less. Katie Roche takes us through some of the best ways to enjoy organic, no matter how tight your budget.

When you buy organic it means high standards of animal welfare, fewer pesticides, no artificial additives, no preservatives and no routine use of antibiotics.

The reason why organic costs more are connected to the reasons people choose organic in the first place. Weeds can't simply be sprayed away, which means farmers have more labour-intensive work and if we want to eat meat from animals that are not fed on genetically modified feed, then farmers must ensure their animals eat a 100% organic diet - which costs more. Although, as the cost of chemicals to non-organic farmers continues to rise, we are likely to see less difference in price over time.

With organic, you simply get what you pay for but good food is a right not a privilege. We believe organic food should be available to everyone, on all budgets, so with that in mind, here are our top tips for making organic more affordable.

#1 Eat less but better meat

The British Journal of Nutrition shows organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic. Meat is expensive and we shouldn’t see it as a something to consume at every meal or even every day. Just simply eat less, but better meat and make vegetables the focus of your meals by using some of the ideas in our next tip...

#2 Eat your veggies

Beans, lentils, pulses are very affordable, packed with goodness and make a great alternative to meat. Think lentil stews and aubergine-based lasagne. Or, if making a meaty classic, you can reduce the amount of organic meat used by substituting half a portion with beans or pulses. Try adding a handful or two of red lentils to your next spaghetti bolognese. Check out our recipes, packed with quick, mouth-watering recipes for using more veggies in your cooking.

#3 Use every last crumb

The average household wastes an incredible 20-30% of the food they buy, but if  you appreciate where your food comes from, you tend not to waste it.

Eco-chef Tom Hunt explains how a little organisation can go a long way. “Make sure you use your oldest meat and vegetables first and build your meal plan around those ingredients,” he advises. Tom keeps a drawer in his fridge for the oldest produce and rotates the produce into it before it gets cooked - so that nothing is left forgotten at the back of the shelf to go off.

#4 Stay frosty

Buying frozen organic food is still good for you and can certainly be cheaper as it becomes more widely available. Studies have shown that freshness can be preserved, and frozen foods are still filled with nutritional benefits once thawed. This is good news for organic eaters on a budget and brings us nicely onto our next tip…

#5 Be a freezer hero at home

Many people waste food that can easily be frozen - and guess what? Most foods can be frozen. In a survey Love Food Hate Waste found that almost 80% of people interviewed had thrown away food that was nearing its date, without realising that they could freeze it and keep it for later. You can freeze herbs, fruit, cheese, and even eggs (just break them into handy containers like ice trays!) and milk.

#6 Shop around and make a list

Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it. Don’t let special offers and those 2 for 1 deals distract you. When in the supermarket, keep in mind most big chains now have their own brand organic ranges which can be cheaper than non-organic branded products.

Shopping online is another option, as it is easier to be more disciplined and farmer’s markets are often cheaper for fresh organic produce than supermarkets, especially if you visit towards the end of the day.

#7 Grow your own

Don’t worry, you don’t have to transform your entire garden or find an allotment. From simple window-box herbs to growing tomatoes in a tub, the smallest outside space can be transformed into a mini kitchen garden.

#8 Go big or go home

Bulk buying can be a great way to save money. Staples like organic pasta, tinned tomatoes and beans can often be the same price as non-organic. It also means you have ingredients on hand to make a quick meal. If you have a co-op or buying group nearby, you can save a lot of money while  being part of a like-minded community. If you're feeling particularly inspired, why not set up your own group for friends and family? Saving them money will win you big popularity points! The Open Food Network have an easy to use tool.

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So with a bit of careful planning and organisation, and some simple switches in your organic shop, you'll be amazed at how much you can save on your organic shop. What are your top tips for making your grocery budget go further? Get in touch and let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Katie Roche

Katie Roche

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