7 Things You Need to Start Buying Organic

Got organic veggies and milk down pat? It's time to expand your organic-only shopping list.

By Leah Zerbe

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Demand for organic food is spilling over into many supermarket aisles. Organic food is alive and well. In fact, shoppers are expanding their organic intentions beyond the produce aisle. Take red meat, for instance. As news reports of recalls and ammonia injected into factory-farmed meat spread, sales of organic beef jumped nearly 50 percent in 2011. Opting for organic non-food items is becoming the norm, too, with many reaching for organic-slanted soaps and shampoos, as well. Interestingly, new data finds that people under 40 are the biggest supporters of organic, regardless of the paycheck they bring in.

Now that you've got the routine of eating fresh organic fruits and veggies down pat, try adding these other must-have organic items to your shopping cart.

Hormone-Free Desserts
Standard ice cream usually comes from cows fed a steady (and unnatural) diet of genetically engineered corn, soy, and even antibiotics and hormones linked to certain cancers. Organic dairies ban all of these, and their cows are required to eat a more natural diet featuring organic grasses and hay. This, in turn, creates milk higher in a heart-protecting fat called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA.

Sales of organic ice cream in 2011 were up a whopping 44 percent over the previous year's numbers, according to organic product research figures compiled by TABS group, a data-analysis firm that follows consumer product trends.

OG Pick: Stonyfield After Dark Chocolate

Eggs from Happier Hens
Did you know that more than 90 percent of the eggs produced in this country come from hens crammed into tiny cages and given feed loaded with antibiotics? Consumers are getting the message, and they don't agree. According to TABS data, sales of organic eggs jumped 21 percent in 2011, compared to 2010 sales.

Organic eggs in the supermarket likely come from an indoor operation that feeds organic only and allows the birds to wander about and perform natural behaviors. Birds raised outside on pasture produce nutritionally superior eggs, though, so their eggs are your best bet.

OG Pick: Your local pastured-egg producer—visit LocalHarvest.org to find a local farmer that raises pastured hens supplemented with organic feed.

Pesticide-Free in the Frozen Food Aisle
Farmer's markets and buy-direct-from-a-farmer systems, such as community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, are luring more and more customers in for fresh produce sales. But shoppers want to stick with the sustainable farming theme year-round now, too, even opting for organic in the frozen fruit and vegetables aisle.

OG Pick: The gold standard? Buy in bulk from a local organic farm during the growing season, and then preserve the harvest to enjoy later. If that's not possible, Cascadian Farms offers organic frozen vegetables nationwide. (The company is owned by General Mills, and thus industrial-food supported, so shop from your local organic farmer whenever possible.)

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