Eosta starts campaign to make true costs of fruit and vegetables

"Organic isn't too expensive, non organic is too cheap!"

Organic specialist Eosta / Nature & More has entered collaboration with a large number of customers to make the true costs of regular fruit and vegetables visible for European consumers. The groundbreaking campaign has now been launched by retailers and natural food stores in the Netherlands (EKoplaza), Germany (Alnatura, Denn's), United Kingdom (Langridge wholesale), Sweden (Fruktbudet), Finland (SOK supermarket) and later this season in Denmark (Årstiden, DANSK) and Belgium (Bioplanet).

Nature & More says that a lot of regular fruit and vegetables that are available at the moment in the EU are too cheap, as they hide the costs of a negative impact on the environment and social cohesion. Advice bureaus write thick sustainability reports for companies, but the hidden costs on a product level aren't made known to consumers. At least, that was the situation until now. Nature & More is now sharing this information in collaboration with organic retail partners to convince consumers that organic food isn't expensive, regular food is too cheap.

Since last May, depending on availability there are information cards among organic pears, pineapples, oranges and lemons in supermarkets and natural food stores across Europe, which show the true cost of food. In the Netherlands for instance, the cards are among organic Nature & More fruit by Ekoplaza.

The cards show a flower of which the six petals show the hidden costs to climate, water, soil, biodiversity, social cohesion and the health of regular fruit and vegetables. In comparison the cards also show the true costs of organic fresh produce from the same region. Nature & More director Volkert Engelsman says: "The importance of this information is considerable, as we can't get an accurate image of the true costs of food production at the moment."

Engelsman mentions the pear cultivation in Argentina as an example (large amounts of pears go to the EU): "If you look at hidden costs to climate, you have to note that fertilisers and pesticides are used in regular cultivation. They are produced using fossil fuel, which leads to greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time growers use less compost to keep the soil fertile, so the amount of carbon in the soil reduces and less CO2 is stored in the soil."

Hidden costs
The costs of these effects can now be calculated. In 2014 the WFO of the UN developed a method on calculating the hidden costs of the food production. The research has produced a table of constants with which the hidden costs of water usage, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, besides other sustainability aspects, can be calculated.

Using this method Eosta has had the hidden climate costs calculated for non organic pears in Argentina, 3144 Euro per hectare per year. The hidden costs for water pollution and soil erosion are 752 Euro and 1163 Euro per hectare respectively. Tax payers have to pay the cost of the government cleaning the water, irrigation subsidies or costs pushed through to the future. Those costs will be paid by our children in the end - with interest.

Eosta has also had the actual costs calculated for organic pears from the Argentinian grower Hugo Sanchez in the Rio Negro valley. In total the organic pears supplied a social advantage of at least 2287 Euro per hectare. The advantages for biodiversity, health and social cohesion aren't included in this. Per kilo Nature & More's organic pears had an advantage of 5.7 cents per kilo, despite a 17% lower production per hectare. Eosta founder Engelsman adds: "The figures prove our point: organic isn't too expensive, regular is too cheap!"

Nature & More's mother company Eosta supplies organic fruit and vegetables to wholesalers and retailers in the Netherlands and Europe, and organic greenhouse vegetables to the US and the Far East. Nature & More products have a three digit code that offers consumer direct access to detailed info on the grower and their ecological and social fruit print. For more information on the True Cost of Food campaign visit www.natureandmore.com.

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