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Consumers continue to over estimate the cost of organic food

The Organic Centre Wales (OCW) recently conducted a survey at The Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells on the 26th & 27th November which highlighted the common misconceptions of the cost of organic food.

Staff at the Organic Centre Wales (OCW) conducted a consumer survey to find out whether shoppers could accurately assess the value of organic produce. In the busy food hall at the Winter Fair, the OCW staff asked consumers to guess the price of a typical recipe for chicken stew when made with organic ingredients. Over 150 people took part in the survey with consumers on average over estimating the cost of the organic produce by 14%, in actual fact the difference was just over 2%, a fact that may surprise most shoppers.

Neil Pearson from OCW suggests “It is a common assumption that organic food is much more expensive than conventionally farmed produce and in these times of austerity, cost is an issue for all consumers when grocery shopping. However, this survey has highlighted that consumers may be passing organic produce by on supermarket shelves based on past assumptions of organic food. With a basket containing regular items on consumers shopping lists such as chicken breasts, onions, and potatoes we wanted to challenge the assumption of overpriced organic food. The actual difference in cost was just over 2% and we hope that by highlighting this fact consumers can choose to buy great quality and locally sourced organic food, when previously they may have felt they had to compromise on quality due to price”

This is not a new barrier within organic food industry, which has long been thought of as 'elitist' and beyond most shoppers budgets. OCW conducted a similar survey in May 2012 at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival and again found that consumers assumed organics were out of their price range, estimating it to be nearly 50% more expensive than its actual cost. Research conducted by the Soil Association in 2011 also highlighted these assumptions and found that in actual fact organic food is significantly less expensive than regular household brands such as Lurpak, Warburton's and Kellogg's.

With Christmas around the corner, food is high on consumer agendas as they plan for the most important meal of the year. It is hoped that this research encourages quality, pesticide and animal welfare conscious consumers, to take another look at local organic produce in the run up to Christmas. read more   

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