In today’s NYT, another great piece on the politics, marketing value, and tastes of organic food: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/us/would-be-healthy-eaters-face-confusion-of-choices.html?_r=2&hpw.
The best part of the article is at the end when Alice Waters weighs in. Alice is kind of a genius; Forty-one years ago, she opened Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California, and led the way to organic produce that sweeps the nation today. She told me during a radio interview, back in the day, that it started when a farmer dropped off some organic produce at the restaurant that dazzled her with the taste. She then went out to farms and offered the farmers more money if they would grow things organically.
For Alice it was never about the alleged health of the product.
In the article in today’s paper, she is quoted as saying, in response to the Stanford project that shows there are no health benefits to organic food: “I didn’t intend to seek out organic local food, said Ms. Waters said in an interview. “I was looking for taste.”Like others, she thought the Stanford study was too narrowly focused on nutrients and had been largely misinterpreted.“Taste is what’s going to get us to eat seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day,” she said. “To not consider taste and quality in this whole discussion is to completely miss the point about food.”
Note that she adds quality to the discussion: Just having an organic label is no guarantee of a product tasting better.
In general, it is all about the marketing. Organic has become a brand. And an expensive one at that! Have a look: