Why Do Organic Vegetables Taste Better? Why Do Organic Vegetables Taste Better?
Organic vegetables are known to taste better. A recent poll conducted by the U.K.’s Soil Association, the country’s major organic agriculture body of more than 2800 producers and more than 1200 food processors, included taste as a question.
It appears that even though people are buying organic vegetables for health reasons, taste has also become an important decision making factor. This is an important piece of information to U.K.’s organic vegetable industry because annual sales of organic foodstuffs have increased tenfold in the last decade and recently topped €1.51 billion. This has encouraged more farmers to convert to organic practices. The poll tallied the opinions and buying habits of 813 people, showing that 95 percent of the respondents indicated that taste was an important decision factor as well.
The poll indicated that vegetables scored particularly high on the taste test – 72 percent of the respondents said they believed organic tasted better than traditionally grown products. Green leafed organic products were especially favorable. Also, after health and taste issues were polled, people also liked the fact that most organic produce purchased at a local supermarket was grown locally. Recent controversies concerning imported produce grown under absent or limited control was a fear for most consumers, who indicated they would rather pay a premium price for locally grown organic produce that could be readily verified as toxic-free.
Back in the U.S.
Studies conducted in the U.S. have revealed varying opinions when it comes to organic vegetables. Most of the taste tests were conducted with freshly ripened vegetables – uncooked as well. However, it has been proven that organically grown vegetables last longer than traditionally grown ones. They tend to store better and they all have longer shelf lives. They retain taste longer than conventionally grown vegetables, due to the fact they have lower levels of nitrates and higher amounts of antioxidants. Presence of nitrates can contribute to faster food spoilage. Antioxidants help to maintain cell integrity and act like natural antibiotics.
Washington State University is involved with measuring organoleptic quality – a term used to describe the sensory properties and quality attributes of a specific kind of food. However, in all testing, university researchers state that there are other mitigating factors besides the growing method that can affect food taste, including when it was harvested and how it is handled after harvest.
While various taste tests have indicated consumer preference for organic berries, the only vegetable that tested in a superior performance over conventional means was tomatoes.