Thursday, January 5, 2017

To be Organic or not to be: The foodie’s New Year resolution

Everyday news papers come up with a lot of hue and cry on ‘’Why should we not eat’” a new particular thing. The veggies are being tested positive for pesticide residues and meat is being rated ‘hazardous’’, thanks to the production and post production techniques. Increasingly food joints are being raided and adulterated food is being brought to light. New findings explaining the science of why a particular food can harm your health have become a daily thing. In totality, we seem to live in a world of fright. In the contest between the taste bud instincts and the informed intellect, often the fright wins it for the intellect.

The Organic Market

The ‘Organic Market’ is one major beneficiary of this increasing fright. Brands, certifications and other perceived symbols of ‘safe food’ are growing to be variables in the decision to eat or not to eat. Anything green is perceived to be organically produced. Stores now have dedicated shelves for organic food but at a premium price.  The term ‘’organic’ has ultimately become a symbol of sellability. This is not just limited to organized marketing. Being organic; eating organic; wearing organic; these have become style statements of the day.
This is not to suggest that we must ignore the breach of safety norms in food production and processing. Instead, this is to suggest that ‘’Being Organic’’ as it is popularly perceived today, is resulting in two scenarios.

Scenario 1: The Organic Label winning over the food culture

The first scenario is that the ‘’culture’’ of trust in agri-culture is being replaced by symbols of being ‘organic’. For instance, there are many eateries across the world which got popular because of its patron’s trust that food served there won’t be compromised on its safety and purity. So is the case with farmers whom people trust to produce safe food.  Now this trust is not based on any certification. In other words, these food producers and the food they produce are not ‘’Organic’. Now, this is where I get confused. Aren’t they   more ‘Organic’” as the process of building this age old trust is genuinely organic.    

Scenario 2: The vicious organic cycle

The second scenario is that, more the fear on the safety of food, the more the demand for so called organic food. Reluctantly, the shelves of stores will have more and more premium food. Gradually, being premium will replace the trust element discussed above. The market existence of non certified good food will be seriously challenged. The only possibility to exist as 'good' would be to be sold as premium.
More serious is this issue as we look at it from the access to food perspective. In the vicious supply demand chain of organic food, good and safe food will increasingly become inaccessible to the common man.

The foodie's New Year Resolutions

The increasing list of not to eat, is an existential identity challenge for every foodie. As a hardcore foodie, my New Year resolution is to fight hard to remain a foodie. Thus these personal New Year resolutions;
  1. In the contest between the taste bud instincts and the informed intellect, side the taste buds
  2. Play  a bit more of badminton and burn some extra calories so that I can eat more
  3. Not to fall for the propaganda of the fear factories
  4. Grow some more veggies in the backyard

  5. Zero food wastage
  6. Try two new recipes a week
  7.  Invent two foods a month
  8. More Dinner Thoughts
  9. Go for small joints as you eat out                       and most importantly

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