Difference Between Organic & Natural Products

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Organic is a growing sector and a lot of consumers are slowing converting their kitchen to organic. Most of the stores in India store both organic and natural products and sometimes due to insufficient information on the label, the consumer is often confused.

The term “organic” and “natural”  are widely used and a lot of  consumers are not sure what it means. Let me explain to you the difference between the two.

‘Natural’ means that the product has undergone minimal processing and does not contain any preservatives or additives, but the term is not protected in any way and there is no certification. However, “all natural” term is loosely used and doesn’t have any legal definition. Natural products can also be genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Organic products are those made entirely from natural substances, which in turn have been grown eschewing the use of artificial chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. According to WHO, organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conversation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. Simply put, organic produce is grown without the use of any pesticide, synthetic fertilizer, genetically modified organisms (GMO) or sewage sludge. Animal products like meat, poultry, eggs and diary products don’t take any antibiotics or growth hormones. Animal products like meat, poultry, eggs are also termed as free-range, where the animals have outside access and is not couped up in a cell.

In India, the term “organic” is not legally protected for use in retail, and organic produce can also be sold without certification. FSSAI is currently in the process of notification of organic rules for the domestic market.

The retail chain Fabindia developed a three-tier labeling system that distinguishes between so-called natural products, products from farms in conversion to organic and fully certified organic products. ICCOA, also followed similar labeling system for vegetables sourced from Karnataka. Navdanya, the NGO gives the ‘navdanya gurantee’ for organically grown products, the credibility of which is based on the reputation of the NGO rather than on third party certification.

Organic labeling can be further categorized into 3 categories:

100% organic: made with 100% organic ingredients

Organic: made with 95% organic ingredients

Made with organic ingredients: made with organic ingredients without any certification

Since organic sector is an unorganized one in India, a lot of times you will see unbranded or non-labelled packets at stores. This may be due to several reasons, repackaging by the store (who doesn’t follow any labeling norms due to small supply), small production/supply, seasonal product, applied for certification and is in transition, cannot afford certification etc.

In Bangalore, it is common to see a lot of organic stores organizing twice a week sale of organic fruits and vegetables. These are mostly not certified and are sourced from farms on the outskirts. Organic in India, is mostly promoted on the basis of trust and the intent of the producer/seller. Since, certification cost is too high most of the small producers prefer to sell their goods through small retail outlets.

 

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Reference: Organic food marketing in urban centres of India

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How I started using peanut butter in my diet….

Peanut butter has been my first product, ever since I started retailing i2cook products. You will be surprised that I hadn’t even tasted peanut butter (PB) until, then. I’ve noticed that a lot of you detest peanut butter or rather are not used it. I was one amongst you.

I was never brought up on PB and it took me some time to get used to it. I realized that PB is a MUST in my diet.  I started looking up on the net and found that there are some thousand recipes to gawk at ( I LOVE food porn, especially – food gawker). I took it up as a challenge to come up with some recipes that will not only make me like PB, but also give me variety for my everyday use.

Here is what I came up with

– Banana and peanut butter smoothie

– No bake peanut butter and oat cookies

The result – an instant win 🙂

Ingredients for Banana & PB Smoothie

1 banana, peeled, chopped roughly

2tbs natural peanut butter

1tsp cocoa powder

raw sugar or honey to your liking

1/2 cup milk, yogurt or soy milk

ice (optional)

peanuts for garnish (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a blender with some ice until smooth. Drink chilled. Serves one.

You can carry your PB smoothie in cute little bottles to work.

Ingredients for No bake PB & Oats cookies

1 cup rolled oats, lightly toasted

1tbs butter

1 1/2 tbs sugar

200gms natural peanut butter

1/2tbs raisins

Heat butter and sugar in a pan, on medium flame. Heat until the sugar has melted and bring it to a light boil.Turn off the stove and mix peanut butter and oats. Allow it to cool enough for you to shape them into desired shape. Lay them on a tray to dry and refrigerate for atleast two hours or overnight. Store them in an air tight container, refrigerated. They (can) last for about two weeks.  I got 16-20 small cookies.

Yum!

Why PB is good for you

  •  Peanut butter is considered as the “real food” and is stated has the best sport food.
  •  Peanut butter is perfect for dieters. It can satisfy you sooner and won’t keep you hungry for too long. Small amount can quell hunger faster.
  • It is packed with nutrients, which help you build and repair muscles.
  • Fat is good for you – the monounsaturated fat is good for your heart.
  • Peanut butter sandwich is healthier and better than a fast food burger.
  • Natural peanut butter (with oil formation on top) is healthier than the commercial ones, in which the oils get converted into harder and saturated (trans-fat).

Useful links

Harvard Health Publications

CNN Health

Home Cooking

About.com

Livestrong.com