The lines between “natural” and “organic” can be pretty blurred. In terms of regulations and requirements, there is more wiggle room for products labeled as “natural,” but mainly, a lot of companies use these terms to give consumers the idea that their natural and/or organic item is worth a premium price. In general, I don’t think it’s that organic food is so expensive; I think it’s more a matter of heavily-subsidized foods (aka junk) being too cheap. You shouldn’t listen to me rant about it, though—Marion Nestle is really your go-to person for all things natural vs. organic vs. Big Food.
I have to admit, though, my trip to Whole Foods this afternoon really got my blood boiling over the ridiculousness of the Natural vs. Organic debate.
So, impressionable as I am, I often keep my eye out when I’m shopping for items I see other bloggers getting all excited about. Often, they fall into the too-expensive-to-justify category, but occasionally, something I’ve been coveting will be on sale. Today it was MaraNatha Almond Butter in the Raw, No Salt Added variety, available for $7.99 instead of $14.99. Normally, eight bucks sounds like an insane amount to me, but it was only a dollar more than the Whole Foods brand, so I thought I’d treat myself, especially given that I found a ten-dollar bill on the sidewalk this morning.
When I got to the register, the total seemed way too high, so I asked the cashier about the almond butter. She offered to check the price out for me, and after a few minutes came back and told me that the natural version of this variety was on sale, and I had grabbed the organic jar by mistake. I gave her my best amused “you have got to be kidding” look and laughed, but the cashier seemed unfazed. Maybe one day I’ll have the income to not think twice about saying, “Whoops, silly me. I’ll just take the organic,” but no way was I going to pay $14.99 for flipping nut butter. So I went to fetch the proper natural jar of raw no-salt-added almond butter, and twenty exasperating minutes later, I was walking out the door, corrected receipt in hand.
I guess a taste test will tell if the hassle was worth it…