As a teenager I would accompany my mother to do the weekly supermarket shop. But unlike most my age, I would use my pester power to insist we buy the organic version wherever possible, from breakfast cereals to baked beans. For me, it was a feeling that the food we eat should support nature... And perhaps a little bit of teenage rebellion!
My passion for choosing organic has continued well into adulthood, and now that I’m pregnant with my first child, I’m noticing just how many organic baby food options there are available! In fact, 59% of all baby food sold in UK supermarkets in 2017 was organic with three out of four babies being fed organic food. So why are more parents choosing organic for their little ones?
It’s what’s inside that counts
One of the main reasons is a growing awareness of the health and well-being of their children, especially when it comes to avoiding certain chemicals and preservatives.
Blogger and mother of two, Karen Murray (N4Mummy.com) says: “When I was weaning both my children I always tried to choose brands who use organic ingredients, just because I really wanted to make sure there were no nasties in their food.”
Organic standards are certified by law, so when parents choose organic for their babies, they are reassured that the ingredients meet strict legal requirements. Organic food doesn’t contain any artificial colourings, flavourings or sweeteners, hydrogenated fats or GM ingredients and it contains fewer pesticide residues. While we don’t yet fully understand the impact of pesticides in our bodies, choosing organic is a great way to reduce exposure and avoid any potential risks. Babies and children are especially vulnerable as their brains, bodies and immune systems are still developing in the early years.
Beatrice Boardman, mother and magazine editor, began thinking about organic food even before her two children were born. She says: “During pregnancy, I found reading about the development stages of their brains really fascinating and how what I was eating was really important... I didn’t used to care much about ingredients before having children but now I buy organic whenever I can”.
By choosing organic, parents are also helping their children get more of the good stuff. Research has found some organic foods to be nutritionally different, with certain organic crops being up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants and both organic meat and milk containing around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.