I compared the cost of organic and regular items at Whole Foods and was consistently surprised by one thing

PeachypeachKathleen ElkinsThe price differences weren’t as big as I expected them to be.

I’ve always taken for granted that organic food costs more — it’s what keeps me strictly in the regular food section.

I wondered just how much more expensive it really is, and recently headed to my local Whole Foods for a cost analysis.

My cost comparison yielded unexpected results that may change my shopping habits: Not all organic products are significantly pricier than their regular counterparts, and in some cases they’re the same price or even cheaper.

Take strawberries, for instance. At this particular Whole Foods, it would cost you an extra $US0.50 to buy a one-pound carton of organic strawberries. Over the course of a year, assuming you bought a carton a week, you would only spend $US26 more — or just over $US2 each month.

And according to Rania Batayneh, MPH, nutritionist and author of “The One One One Diet,” dishing out the extra quarters each week for organic is well worth it.

“Strawberries are a highly contaminated fruit found on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWC) Dirty Dozen, a list of twelve produce products that carry the most pesticides,” Batayneh explains. “Their soft skin makes them more permeable to pesticides and chemicals than other fruits, which means they will absorb and carry more pesticide residues.”

In fact, there was a marginal price difference between organic and regular produce across the board. Buying organic bananas consistently would only cost you about $US10 extra over the course of a year. The biggest difference I observed was between tomatoes: Buying a pound of organic ones each week would cost you about $US52 more per year.

StrawberriesKathleen ElkinsBuying a pound of organic strawberries each week would only cost you about $US26 more than buying non-organic.

Heading out of the produce section, I came across something entirely unexpected: Organic products that cost the same as non-organic products. These included one of my staples, almond milk, where it will won’t cost you a penny more to go the organic route.

What’s more, I even found an item that was cheaper to buy organic: maple syrup. The price difference wasn’t huge, but it was something.

Of course, there will always be items where buying organic could add up, such as meat and dairy products. Buying a pound of organic chicken each week for a year would be about $US95 (or $US8 a month) more than buying regular chicken — not as significant of a difference as I expected, but depending on your budget, it could be something to take into consideration.

It’s also worth noting that Whole Foods is an exceptionally pricey grocery chain, and prices for organic and non-organic items would likely be cheaper elsewhere, but that doesn’t undervalue my main takeaway: Be diligent when looking at labels. You never know what you may find.

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