Does Organic Food Really Taste Better?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/10/2009 2:00 PM   :  163 comments

Conventional vs. organic: Which is really better? You hear both sides of the debate all the time. Organic proponents say that their food is better for your health, the planet and animal welfare. Conventional producers say they can produce more food per acre, and that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are harmless. You could probably find 100 scientists who could each cite 100 different studies for both sides of the "Is organic really better?" debate.

But what about taste? Some people claim that organic food has more flavor than conventionally-grown food. Taste is a subjective thing though—how can you really measure that in scientific terms? Well, a groundbreaking study has done exactly that and the results are in. Which tastes better, organic or conventional?

To see the results of the study, watch the video below. If you have trouble viewing the video here, please click here to see it on YouTube.



According to Hammy the Hamster, organic tastes (or at least smells) better 60% of the time. You can learn more about this "experiment" at the Website TheCooksDen.com.

OK, OK. I know this wasn't a real study. And there was nothing scientific about it AT ALL. But it was so darn cute I had to share it!

Now tell us: Do you agree with Hammy the Hamster's choices? Do you think organic food tastes better?


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Comments

  • 163
    I notice a taste difference. Especially in organic bananas. I noticed that when my kids were toddlers that they would choose not to eat the non-organic bananas. - 1/20/2013   1:46:41 AM
  • 162
    I think some taste better and some dont make a difference. I like organic tomatoes, (even better home grown), organic spinach, organic meat ( which I almost never can afford), and organic eggs. Most of everything else doesn't taste very different to me. - 9/7/2012   3:51:19 PM
  • 161
    Funny, I just bought strawberries this past week. One box was commercially produced. The berries were huge and they actually tasted pretty good. The past few years, I've felt that strawberries were tasting pretty bland. I also grabbed a box of organic from the same store. The taste was far, far superior. The berries were much smaller, had a more uniform shape instead of looking like mutant berries. Also, they didn't last as long. That wasn't a big deal because I ate them faster. I assume they were more ripe when they were picked. (better flavor) As for the mold? Well, I used to go to an organic food store that hung a sign that read: "iIf mold won't grow on it, neither will you." I'm not a complete covert yet, but heading that direction. - 5/14/2012   3:10:45 AM
  • LRANGER1
    160
    there is not always a difference in the teast of organic or normal everyday store bought foods , and there are some foods that there really no reason to buy organic. the most difference in these is the cost. I have enjoyed trying some of the organic foods lately because alot of them are much better for my kids. And trying to control ADHD alot of organic and natural non dye food is recomended for there diet. which has help me with mine. - 5/12/2012   11:45:48 AM
  • 159
    LOL - too cute! I agree a lot of the better taste of organic fruit and veggies comes from it being fresher, plus a healthy dose of placebo effect. If the organic produce is not local and/or fresh it doesn't necessarily taste better; sometimes it's worse. I must say though that organic coffee does taste better. I've given it to people who didn't know it was organic and they've been raving about it. - 8/23/2010   9:35:51 PM
  • 158
    I'd lean toward organic tasting better. But 145Healthy had a great point that I hadn't taken into account, that maybe it has more to do (or at least as much to do) with being picked when it's ripe. Most of the organic produce we eat comes in our CSA (community supported agriculture) share, so it is both organic and incredibly fresh-- picked within a day of us getting it. - 8/19/2010   4:35:03 PM
  • 157
    I think its more obvious in organic fruit. But stuff like organic...celery? Nope, it doesn't have much taste to begin with. xD
    I like going to the farmer's market when I can, and I swear homegrown veggies taste better. I hope one day I can afford to eat completely either home grown or from organic produce and CSAs. - 7/22/2010   12:32:48 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    156
    I think alot of this thinking comes from the organic fad currently moving through our country. The veggies from our garden taste better than any veggies or fruits from a store or produce stand. But everyone can't grow stuff in their garden, it isn't possible. And no one is gonna let themselves die if they can't buy organic produce, really, stinging lips or not. Most are lucky to be able to buy any, the way our economy is going. Just enjoy the produce, don't make such a job out of it. - 7/17/2010   9:01:21 PM
  • LONGWINDINRD
    155
    Yes, I notice it more as I eat more organic. I buy organic when I can afford to. - 7/16/2010   4:06:30 PM
  • LONGWINDINRD
    154
    Yes, I notice it more and more as I eat more organic. I try to buy organic when I can afford it. - 7/16/2010   3:15:46 PM
  • 153
    I'm not sure if organic taste better than non-organic, but home grown that isn't picked until it's ripe wins hands down all the time. - 6/13/2010   2:40:35 PM
  • JMLEE509
    152
    Organic foods tastes more like home grown foods! Organic tomatoes are the best! - 5/5/2010   3:59:15 PM
  • 151
    I don't think I would be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. But my cats could! They always turned their nose up at catnip, I thought they just didn't like it. Then one day, a toy that I bought for them contained a pack of organic catnip. Oh my did they go crazy for that. I couldn't believe it! - 3/15/2010   4:33:13 PM
  • NJ_HOU
    150
    I think organic tastes better. I really think the reason is with organic "they', who ever farmer, transporter, middleman, grocer, cannot fool you as easily. The food cannot be gassed to ripen, irradiated, sprayed, waxed , whatever. If you smell the product, the product cannot have been perfumed etc. Therefore, you have an easier time finding food that is actually ready to be consumed. - 2/2/2010   11:09:31 AM
  • 149
    I can't taste the difference but then its a well established fact that as men age their sense of taste declines. - 1/15/2010   11:15:05 AM
  • ROOWRANGLER
    148
    I've been eating organic off and on for years. I have found that, from the grocery store shelves, some organic produce does taste better, but usually even the organic stuff is picked before it's ripe and artificially ripened, so it is still fairly tasteless. I grow as much of my own food as I can and buy as much local produce as I can. I choose organic because it has less chemicals, which I feel is healthier for me, the environment and the wildlife. I have reduced my meat consumption from every day to once or twice a week, and as much as possible I try and buy local, grassfed meat. As for bread - I make the best tasting bread around. I use 75% whole wheat flour and unbleached bread flour, sprouted grains, a touch of salt and yeast. My husband and I love it - it has completely ruined us for any type of store bought bread! It is also 100% organic. - 1/14/2010   12:00:26 AM
  • FORMEANDMYBOYS
    147
    I think for the most part organic does look, smell, and taste better. The video is too cute I had to play it two more times for my son he loved watching the hamster! - 1/9/2010   9:53:50 PM
  • 146
    Not all foods labeled "organic" are equal. As other posters have mentioned, fresh, local, seasonal is almost always better. Yet, in many cases, it makes sense that the organic tastes better.

    Most varieties of food have been selected by farmers over time (hundreds, even thousands of years) to produce better, and taste good. More recently, post Green Revolution (development of pesticides and fertilizers in the 50's to vastly increase production), varieties have been selected that do well with these "improvements". Farmers also started selecting varietals that are uniform, travel well, and have long shelf life -- that way produce grown in California can be harvested, shipped to South Carolina, sit on the grocer's shelf for a week, and still last several days in a consumer's refrigerator. Taste, sadly, has taken a back seat to these more profitable traits.

    Many organic farmers grow heirloom varietals, and other "unimproved" versions. These almost inherently taste better. The organics grown in CA and still shipped to SC may not, however, taste much better than their conventional cousins. - 1/8/2010   7:43:28 AM
  • 145
    I totally love and think organic food taste better. I think it is way better for our bodies too. - 12/3/2009   8:25:02 PM
  • 144
    Yeah, organic does make a difference. Wish I could afford more of it! - 11/30/2009   11:05:01 AM
  • JASNAFAN
    143
    I definitely think organic bananas and milk taste way better.
    Love the video! - 11/3/2009   12:00:24 AM
  • 142
    I think organic produce tastes better, in general. Like Hammy, I find that there's a huge difference in the taste of carrots. Conventional carrots have no flavor compared to organic. Also like hammy, I think there's a huge difference in strawberries. Others that are significantly different: pineapple, apples, oranges, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, cucumbers, celery.

    Another contributing factor may be that our co-op focuses largely on local produce. So, the organic produce that I'm buying isn't coming from hundreds of miles away.
    - 10/2/2009   9:20:01 AM
  • 141
    I don't think organic or non-organic makes a difference in taste in most items. possibly in some items but not most. - 9/25/2009   3:09:17 PM
  • 140
    I love the taste or organic. I taste the actual food and not the pesticides, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup. Organic fruit & veggies & meats and grains taste GREAT! - 9/13/2009   9:57:37 PM
  • 139
    For me, organic chicken and organic strawberries taste a lot better than regular ones. - 9/13/2009   7:03:47 PM
  • 138
    I was surprised to find that I like natural bread and can really tell the difference between regular whole wheat bread and Nature's Pride Honey Wheat with no preservatives/no high fructose corn syrup/no artificial flavors. I bit into my sandwich and literally "Mmmm"ed out loud. I don't know if it's considered "organic" but it's definitely delicious and the same price as the others. - 7/19/2009   3:35:43 PM
  • 137
    LOL! This is so cute!
    I eat organic because it is better for the environment, AND I don't want my son or myself to ingest any pesticides.
    As for taste though, YES! I can definitely tell the difference. I first noticed the taste difference in bananas. But you can really notice a difference by tasting celery. I don't know why, but in celery, the taste of the pesticides is sooo pronounced! And I noticed a difference in peppers too. Maybe it's because I've been eating organic for so long now, but if I ever have to eat conventional, I always notice a difference.
    As for packaged goods, conventional items always taste fake and yucky to me compared to organic goods. - 7/14/2009   7:57:32 AM
  • 136
    I tried organic salad dressing the other day and it was yucky! - 7/9/2009   2:57:52 PM
  • DROOPYSMINE
    135
    I'm sensitive to the chemicals often sprayed on fruits and vegetables, so I can definately taste a difference! I taste it most in berries, carrots, potatoes and bell peppers, so I go to a local organic farm for my produce whenever possible. I don't know if it's in my head, but it seems that the higher the sugar content the more I can taste the difference. I'm growing my own veggies this year in an attempt to reduce my produce costs since they account for over 1/2 of the weekly food bill! - 6/5/2009   3:34:28 PM
  • 134
    I can definitely tell a difference with some varieties of produce. Most notably carrots... conventional carrots just taste icky to me.

    I'm lucky enough to work at Whole Foods and get a good employee discount so I can buy mostly organic. Buying our private label (365 Organic) stuff also really helps my grocery bills.

    I haven't found an organic, grain free food for my kitty yet but my rats eat an all organic diet. I've had really good luck avoiding mammary tumors in my rodent friends since they've been eating organic, vegetarian foods. Out of 16 rats, I've never seen a tumor. I've had one die of cancer on her uterine stump but that was a one in a million sort of back luck. :/ - 6/4/2009   7:28:27 PM
  • 133
    I have eaten it all and I love it all. Mostly I love what I grow in my garden best!!! - 6/4/2009   7:07:32 PM
  • 132
    I find no difference in taste. For me, it seems to be more about attitude than actual taste. I prefer produce uncooked. I also prefer "garden fresh" which means that the produce was not picked before it was ripe and stored a week before I purchase it. Organic is an excuse to increase the price of an already marketable product...like "going green." - 6/4/2009   2:29:38 PM
  • 131
    I really don't think organic tastes any better but I do try to eat/buy organic whenever I can. - 6/4/2009   12:31:21 PM
  • ELYNNSTEELE
    130
    I think Organic not only tastes better as far as produce goes, but it makes me feel better putting better things in my body, and consuming things that are better for the environment. - 6/2/2009   1:16:36 PM
  • 129
    People really don't eat organic for the tasts, becasue most of it tastes no different. People choose organic because of the processing. It is more "whole" than non-organic. - 6/1/2009   8:36:29 AM
  • 128
    I always notice the organic food section at the store but pass it up because of the price. The comments have made me courious though so I will definitely try some organic strawberries to start. - 6/1/2009   7:45:49 AM
  • 127
    organics taste SO much better than conventional. - 5/31/2009   4:34:41 PM
  • 126
    IF I could afford it, I would eat nothing but organic...I incorporate organic as much as I can and do prefer it...the biggest difference I can tell is in the apples...I will NEVER eat a conventionally grown apple again, I hope...there is a HUGE difference...the two biggest down falls are the price and with produce since there are no preservatives, they spoil faster...other than that...they win hands down! - 5/8/2009   9:36:21 AM
  • BECK1967
    125
    I can definitely tell a difference....I just started seriously buying organic, and have tried coffee, strawberries and bananas...the taste of the organic is so much better in my opinion. - 4/27/2009   2:26:14 PM
  • REDLANDGIRL
    124
    I think we should take the same tests. My mother in law said Hellmans was better than Kraft. I did a blind taste test and she chose the Kraft. She never believed me. I live in Miami in the farming district. I buy from local produce carriers. Local food taste better whether it is organic or not. The longer it is on wheels to get here, the bigger the difference in the taste. - 4/26/2009   9:38:53 AM
  • 123
    The difference between an organic strawberry, tomato, or apple is amazing between a regular one. Organic milk is so good. - 4/25/2009   4:23:50 PM
  • 122
    To me, organic dairy, bananas and some veggies definitely taste better. Others, I honestly can't tell the difference. But organic/local produce I buy at my local farmer's market does taste far superior than anything else. Local fresh broccoli is unlike no other!! - 4/23/2009   9:39:50 AM
  • 121
    Organic definitely tastes better. Take organic carrots for example. I like to buy fresh carrots that need to be peeled and cut (to save money) and I bought organic type first. A few weeks later I needed more carrots, and only non-organic carrots were an option, so I bought them. Talk about a difference in taste! I'll never go back to 'normal' carrots again!
    In addition to carrots is also dairy. I used to buy dannon or yoplait yogurt (whatever was on sale) but then I started trying the stoneyfield farm or trader joe's brand and realized that the taste was so much better! I could go on forever on the reasons why organic is better, but mostly because it's all natural. I just wish that organic could always be a bit more cost friendly... - 4/21/2009   10:05:20 AM
  • LILDIPPER
    120
    Organic milk tastes 10000% better than regular milk. It's shelf life is longer too! No more pouring it out at the end of the week since it lasts alot longer. - 4/10/2009   11:28:03 AM
  • 119
    Yes. And not just because of the chemical argument. For instance, conventional tomatoes are picked green and treated to turn to a shade of red... they never actually ripen - they just look that way. The only drawback, when the food ripens as it should, it has a shorter shelf life so you do sometimes have a "limpness" issue. Despite a lack of crispness, it still tastes and smells like real food. Most of the time conventional foods have not scent or flavor.

    I look a lot like Hammy at the store... I smell everything before it goes in the cart. If it does not smell like food - it won't taste like it either.

    ... Learned that from my mother... - 4/9/2009   2:29:15 PM
  • 118
    I love eatting organic. I shop at my local farmers market to keep cost down on the orgaince that I buy. My 3 top favs of organic are apples, strawberries, and milk. they taste so musch cleaner. Go for organic!!! - 4/1/2009   11:09:35 AM
  • 117
    Organic catsup is so much better than the regular kind. It's thicker, and has a richer tomato taste. I've read it contains up to six times more lycopene than regular catsup! - 3/22/2009   4:29:38 PM
  • 116
    Ya know, I would really like to believe that is true, but I just don't. I've done my own taste comparison and, all other things being equal, I just don't think there is any difference in taste. If anything the opposite it true, at least for produce. The organic stuff at my supermarket is mostly limp and pale. Organic doesn't mean fresher. I do have a preference for locally grown (especially from my own garden), and while locally grown often is organic, it is the freshness, not the "organicness" that makes it taste better. I think the same thing applies to "organic" animal products. Meat and dairy that is "organic" also tends to be less processed. That is what makes it taste better, not that they are free range or have only been feed organic feed. - 3/22/2009   10:00:16 AM
  • 115
    I have to say that I eat organic fish and chicken. I notice that the chicken cooks quicker, looks better cooked, and tastes a lot better than non-organic chicken. As for the fish the taste is divine and I notice that it does not have that "fish" smell. My house does not smell like fish after I cook it. - 3/22/2009   7:29:46 AM
  • COGLINE
    114
    Thank you for the information jennifer i'll do a bit more research before i leave my comments next time. - 3/22/2009   1:27:57 AM

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