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Why I Buy Organic Processed Food

organic processed food

I buy Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies and Mac & Cheese. And Plum Organics Puffs. And Chocolate Peanut Butter Love Crunch granola. And Late July tortilla chips. And Alden’s vanilla ice cream. And a handful of other organic processed snacks that aren’t exactly nutritious.

Do I think these packaged foods are healthier than fruits, vegetables or whole, unprocessed foods just because they’re organic? Of course not.

Would I opt for a conventional apple or head of lettuce over a handful of organic potato chips if it were only about the nutrition? Absolutely.

But here’s the deal. If I’m going to buy processed food – and I am, because my family enjoys these foods on occasion and I don’t have time to make everything from scratch – then I’m going to buy organic. While organic junk food is still “junk” in the sense that it’s a lot of calories with minimal nutritional value, it is fundamentally different from conventional processed food in that many harmful ingredients are absent. By definition, organic processed foods must be free from:

  • Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
  • MSG
  • Genetically modified corn and soy products (and all GMOs in general)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Dairy from cows treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones
  • Synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fungicides used in any part of production

These are all things I don’t want my family ingesting on a regular basis.

Another benefit of buying organic processed foods is that many of the companies who sell it are also committed to reducing their environmental footprint via less packaging, more efficient production processes, and conservation efforts. Farmers and farm workers also tend to benefit when you buy organic, since they may receive fairer wages and aren’t exposed to large daily doses of chemicals.

So while I’d still recommend that everyone (including me) choose unprocessed snacks over processed whenever possible, and make as much food from scratch as they can, I’m glad organic packaged food exists. This is one category of food I just won’t compromise on, when an organic option is available.

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  • Susan
    April 1, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Love this!!!

  • Taylor@Food Faith Fitness
    April 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Great response to a common question! The key is finding something that works for you and not feeling guilty about it 😉

  • Alisa Fleming
    April 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    I think we see so much “virtue” online that we’re afraid to acknowledge that most of us do buy convenience foods – after all, it’s a multi-billion dollar business, someone must be spending the money! Glad you own it – makes the rest of us feel human 🙂

  • Beverley @ Born to Sweat
    April 5, 2016 at 8:07 am

    This is a great post! Super informative. I always kind of rolled my eyes at organic junk food, because i always figured – junk food was junk food! But the way you explain it makes a lot more sense to me. I rarely eat it anyway, but next time i do buy anything, i’ll be looking for the organic version 🙂

  • Amelia Winslow
    April 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    So happy to hear this perspective resonated with you, Beverley 🙂

  • Cascia Talbert
    April 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I love your blog! I just wanted to let you know that we featured you in a list of 100 best food blogs. You can find our article at the following link:

    We would appreciate it if you shared this with your readers, followers and fans.

  • Amelia Winslow
    April 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Thanks so much for the mention, Cascia!

  • Kayla Gardenhire
    April 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything in this article! Eating a chocolate bar is much more enjoyable to me when it’s organic and fair trade. The “junk” tastes better and someone was paid fairly. It gives me peace of mind and even as a low income family we make it work and continue to support companies that offer that stuff, because the more we demand it the more it will be supplied. This sometimes even results in lower prices in the organic market.

  • Amelia Winslow
    April 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Perfectly put, Kayla. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  • Lauren
    June 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    When I’m camping, hiking, and traveling I am sure glad organic options exist. Are those organic “Starburst!?” Gahhh! Now this could be life changing. 😀

  • Amelia Winslow
    June 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Haha – I felt the same way when I discovered them! 🙂

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