What are the Top 3 Reasons organic products cost so much more than chemical products, and is it really worth it?
If you already buy organic products or your considering making the switch, you may have noticed there’s a bit of a price difference between organic and chemical beauty products. So the question is, why are organic products so much more costly than your everyday over-the-counter products and are they worth the price?
Below are the top 3 MAJOR reasons why organic products are so expensive as compared to their chemical alternatives.
To demonstrate the price difference between natural and chemical products/ ingredients, let’s pretend you own a natural skincare brand. We’ll use your brands famous organic facial cleanser as a hypothetical example. An ingredient often used in organic facial cleansers is Aloe Vera which is grown on a farm and not created in a test tube in a lab, right? It takes time to be planted, grown, cared for and harvested. Some of the crop may die during the process, or it could be eaten by bugs as there are little to no pesticides used in organic farming. Now your 18 acres of Aloe Vera, is reduced to say just 10 acres. It also can’t be harvested using machinery; it has to be picked by hand. This drives up the cost even more as now the labour is more time consuming and takes more manpower to remove the crop from the ground.
Now you have one ingredient of say 20 total that you need to make your facial cleanser. There’s a problem though; Aloe Vera costs you a whopping $1 per gram! You could use this, or you could use a chemical alternative, let’s call this “chemical X” that does the same thing! In fact, it’s only .2 cents per gram! Even better, it's made in a lab in just 48 hours. Sure it may be somewhat controversial and could cause damage the female reproductive system if you use it too much, but you’re only using a small amount in your product, and major cosmetic companies known around the globe have been using it for decades. That means you can too, right? Get the picture?
Another great example of price difference (that’s completely real) is rose essential oil. Because of its low yield, it can take anywhere from 4-5 tonnes of petals to make just one litre of this highly beneficial essential oil. This means that as many as 50-80 roses are needed to make only one single drop! This oil can retail for upwards of hundreds of dollars per 10ml bottle, whereas one 10ml bottle of synthetic rose fragrance can cost manufacturers as little as .4 cents.
2. Shelf Life
Organic products contain either no preservatives or preservatives made from natural plant based ingredients. Like in the above example, we already know that natural preservatives cost more. The only downfall about natural preservatives is that they don’t have a very long shelf life. Your Loreal moisturiser may last 3-4 years, but your organic Weleda one will only last 1-2. Because of this, most natural brands make their products in batches. When the batch sells, that product will remain out of stock until the next batch is made, tested then distributed. If too much product is made in a batch and not sold, it goes off and ends up in the bin. This is the reason you often see a lot of organic products out of stock with retailers.
Note: Chemical preservatives are extremely harmful to the human body so this is something we REALLY want to try to avoid.
In order for organic retailers to prove their products and ingredients are in fact completely free of toxins, they can apply for special certifications with different organisations, some of which you may of heard of like the OFC (Organic Food Chain of Australia), NATRUE, COSMOS or Safe Cosmetics Australia. Getting products approved with these organisations costs serious money. Each organisation is run differently, and each has their own requirements (some being stricter than others) however, they need to take the time to scrutinise each product, and it’s ingredients before giving it the tick of approval. So what’s in it for you? You get a guarantee that the product you’re purchasing is safe, clean and free from toxins when one of these certifications is placed on a product.
So is the cost for organic products really worth it?
It’s up to you if you think that spending $12 on a chemical facial cleanser over spending say $20 on an organic one is worth it or not. Personally, I’d much rather spend the extra money on a certified organic product that essentially guarantees that it can’t harm my family or me. There’s no greater guilt than slathering your child with sunscreen and as you’re doing it, wondering if it’s safe for them or not. If you have to question it, chances are it’s not as safe as you thought, and possibly now is the time to consider switching to natural alternatives.
So, is organic worth the added cost... “YES, most definitely.”
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Autour: Reema Poojari