Misconception Number 19: Organic food does not look very appetizing.
Summary of Counter-Arguments:
|- Irregularities in fruits and vegetables are natural. A display of perfectly standardized and imperfection-free fruits or vegetables is a sign of chemical use, absence of biodiversity, and waste of food across the food chain. |
- Organic fruits and vegetables might not look as perfect and shiny as conventional ones, but they taste the same or even better.
Details of Counter-Arguments:
This argument against organic food can only possibly be applied to unprocessed fruits and vegetables, not to processed and cooked foods, whose visual appearance obviously depends on the skills of the processor or packager, rather than on the method of production. It is true that the visual appearance of organic fruits and vegetables is sometimes different from the ones that we are used to seeing in the conventional supermarkets. Organic apples, for example, may be slightly smaller, of un-standardized size, or may display a few stains or even pest marks. Actors in the organic supply chain, as well as most organic consumers, are more aware of the aberrations generated by over-standardization of natural products on the supermarket shelves, including waste of produce (due to discarding items that are not perfect in appearance) and abuse of pesticide use and other chemicals to improve the appearance of fruits and vegetables. As a consequence, organic consumers are more willing to accept a wider diversity in the appearance of organic produce, and even sometimes value it as a sign of biodiversity and authenticity. However, there are more and more cases, especially in general supermarkets, were organic fruits and vegetables are now required to have a visual appearance equivalent to that of conventional products (which results in wasting of more food). In any case, visual appearance is not directly linked to taste or nutrient value of a product. You may think that an organic apple is not appetizing, but when you taste it, you will realize that it was worth trying! In fact, many comparative studies of the organoleptic quality of organic and conventional fresh fruits and vegetables have shown enhanced organoleptic quality in organic produce (i.e., better taste and aroma). Education of consumer on the unnatural and wasteful system of artificially perfect fruits and vegetables will change these standards of appearance and result in less waste.
In conventional agriculture, a significant number of pesticides and chemicals are used specifically for the purpose of enhancing appearance. Consumers who are not ready to accept small and natural irregularities in fruits and vegetables should be aware that the perfect visual appearance of these products was rendered possible at the expense of the environment and their own health.