Has the bottom dropped out of the organic market? Probably. Alex Renton in The Times bemoans the fact that people aren’t willing to pay the extra for organic/morally superior foods: “The truth is that better food is more expensive food, and many of the ills in our present supply system could be tackled if we paid more for it." So why are we choosing not to pay more for our food? Why aren’t we purchasing this holier-than-thou food that would, and can, apparently carry us to the promised land?
His article is titled, “Forget thrift chic. If you want to eat well, we must pay for it." Quite. But in times like these money becomes tight, so they reassess the true value of the products they purchase. For many, organic food is now overpriced. Unfortunately for organic farming, this has come at the same time as a rise in feed costs for the animals, meaning that their meat prices (save for lamb) have been rising. This is why many farmers now want an organic feed exemption. Of course they could further help themselves by calling for a deregulated market in which they would be able to move between the two freely, allowing them to react quickly as costs shift.
When peoples’ budgets become constrained they pay more attention to value, they require more ‘bang for their buck’. This is nothing more than a natural process. Organic farming's added value is becoming little more than a mirage, built on guilt. After all a vegetable is a vegetable. This recession could spell the end for the organic fatted calf. but it could also lead to people regaining an understanding of the true value of what they eat.