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The quick guide to popular Food Movements

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Organic produce use no synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilisers or irradiation in their production.Free range meat comes from animals who were allowed access to the outdoors in their rearing, although standards on time and space given vary from country to country.Fair Trade foods are made from ingredients whose producers – usually in third world countries - were given fair wages and working conditions for their efforts.Artisanal produce is made by those who are masters of their craft, using traditional, pre-industrial methods passed down through the generations.

You might have come across these labels on food packaging in the supermarket: Organic, fair trade, free range, artisanal. And the list only seems to continue to grow.

So what are we really putting in our mouths? Are they supposed to taste better, be healthier or are these just foods that are ethically produced? Here’s a quick guide to some of the more popular food movements and what we’re really buying with that label.

Organic

One of the most recognisable food labels, Organic food is food produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilisers, radiation and other biotechnology. Organic meat comes from animals that are fed organically-grown crops, are not fed antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones and are not confined to small spaces like animals on conventional farms.

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Credits: Toa55

Organic produce use no synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilisers or irradiation in their production.

Organic foods are said to have higher nutritional value, reduce health risks associated with pesticides and antibiotics, and are more environmentally friendly as they are grown in a way that is closer to nature. The lack of chemicals in the process reduces the risk of pollution to waterways and the soil. To top it off, organic farming uses about 50% less energy than conventional farming in producing food.

The biggest drawback to organic food is that their more careful processes do lead to higher prices. Organically-grown foods can sometimes cost up to twice the price of its conventionally grown counterparts. They also spoil faster as they do not use artificial preservatives to preserve their shelf life. Refrigerators like the Electrolux ESE5608TA can help with keeping organic produce fresh longer, with a separate crisper compartment that allow the humidity to be adjusted to optimum levels.

Free range

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Credits: Oasisjames

Free range meat comes from animals who were allowed access to the outdoors in their rearing, although standards on time and space given vary from country to country.

Applying primarily to meat, the free range label means that the animal was allowed access to the outdoors to roam freely rather than being raised in total confinement like in many conventional farms. The definition of free range varies from country to country, with varying time and space requirements needed in order to use this label.

The label doesn’t so much describe the quality of the food as the ethical manner in which the meat was produced. Free range animals, with access to natural sunlight and outdoor habitats have been found to be stronger and healthier, growing naturally rather than in forced artificial environments. This does tend to translate to lower productivity of the animal and in turn, higher costs in the shops.  But if we are truly what we eat, free range meat may just be the  healthier way to go. Grilling, roasting and even steaming such meat in convection ovens like the EOB98000X further help to make a meal healthier while enhancing its taste.

Fair trade

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Credits: RMGillis

Fair Trade foods are made from ingredients whose producers – usually in third world countries – were given fair wages and working conditions for their efforts.

Similar to the free range movement, fair trade is a social movement that entails the promotion of fair wages, working and trading conditions in the production of food. The movement focuses mostly on exports from developed countries, with standards for wages, pricing and working environments established to help farmers, their families and communities improve their standard of living and livelihoods.

The movement has become popular in recent years, with fair trade products increasing 22% year on year. Some fair trade products can also account for up to 50% of sales in their categories.

Artisanal production

Artisanal foods are foods that are made with traditional methods and ingredients, or foods made with non-industrialised methods. Processes such as fermentation are allowed to develop in their own time naturally, rather than rushed to meet a mass production quota.

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Credits: zole4

Artisanal produce is made by those who are masters of their craft, using traditional, pre-industrial methods passed down through the generations.

Artisan producers are expected to be masters of their craft, learning from knowledge handed down through the generations while continuing to improve on their respective practises. This does result in better quality cheeses, wines, chocolates, breads and so on, but as with any type of food that prioritises quality over quantity, do cost a bit more to enjoy.

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