Popularity of ‘organic’ not just about health, a KW article warns as the Western fascination with organic food may be just a marketing tool in the struggle for shelf space in Ukrainian stores, according to KW.
In early September scientists at Stanford University made a broad statement that organic food is neither healthier nor safer for people than regular food. Organic food (grown without any chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc.) is usually marketed by its producers as healthier and safer than conventional comestibles, arguing that apples grown without pesticides, for example, contain more vitamins, minerals and other wholesome substances. Heavy promotion of “healthy products” in Western countries has led to their becoming extremely popular despite their being more expensive (organic products often cost twice as much as their more industrial brethren). For example, in the US alone in 1997-2011, the organic food market increased from US $3.6 bn to US $24.4 bn.
At the moment no legislation exists to regulate organic producers in Ukraine. Last spring Parliament did pass the law “On Organic Production”, but in May the president vetoed it, which means that today no one can guarantee that a dozen chicken eggs sold in local organic groceries for more than UAH 30 were not bought from a nearby poultry farm. The Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement also says: “Some producers often abuse the term ‘organic’ by falsely applying it to their pseudo-organic products and justifying their actions with the absence of corresponding legislation.”
Another reason for the surge in the popularity of organic products in Ukraine is that, like in the West, it has become fashionable. “Every fashion has its trendsetters who target specific social groups. In Western countries fashion is created by the people responsible for it: there is a whole industry and people known all over the world. Ukraine, however, does not have celebrities creating valued behavioral samples, and so as a result Ukrainians copy affordable and available trends,” social psychologist Anastasiya Kuntsevska told KW.