Which apple? The decision doesn’t end once you’ve figured out whether to buy, say, the McIntosh or the Red Delicious. In many food stores across the country, you’re also faced with the more vexing question of buying organic or conventional, and not just at the apple bin. All kinds of organic fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, cooking oils, even cosmetics are crowding store shelves.
For many shoppers, the decision often comes down to money. On average, you’ll pay 50 percent extra for organic food, but you can easily end up shelling out 100 percent more, especially for milk and meat. Nevertheless, organic products are one of the fastest-growing categories in the food business. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers bought organic foods and beverages in 2005, up from about half in 2004. While some buy organic to support its producers’ environmentally friendly practices, most are trying to cut their exposure to chemicals in the foods they eat.
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