If health is wealth, does that mean that spending a little more to eat healthily will actually make us richer? Well, maybe, considering the cost of healthcare in Singapore.
In any case, to many, buying organic food is a healthy move. While people are still arguing over the true merits of buying organic food, one’s thing for sure—it’s way more expensive than just buying whatever’s on the main shelves at NTUC.
What does buying organic really mean?
Whether something labelled “organic” is really better for you is still controversial. While many organic-certified products profess to be free of pesticides and genetic modification, the line between organic and non-organic can be a fine one.
Just because a particular farm says it doesn’t use pesticides doesn’t mean the farm next door doesn’t, and wind and rain can make the pesticides from one farm leech over to another. In addition, “natural” methods of pest control aren’t necessarily safer or less toxic than “artificial” ones.
Still, many people I know, including doctors, swear by organic produce. And there is something a big scary about consuming large quantities of produce tainted by pesticides. Plus, most people would prefer not to consume GMO products given the risk of finding an eyeball or a tooth in their vegetables.
Where to buy organic in Singapore
While 20 years ago only health nuts bought organic food, these days it’s pretty much mainstream, and even Fairprice Finest contains an organic section.
There are also lots of shops specialising in organic and health products. Some are mind-bogglingly expensive, others less so. Here are a few affordable options:
- Zenxin Organic Singapore – This is our top pick for organic leafy green vegetables grown in Malaysia, which are much less expensive than their counterparts flown in from Australia and the US.
- Best Organic Food – A decent range of organic vegetables including beetroot at reasonable prices. Free shipping for orders above $30.
- Bollywood Veggies – Organic produce grown right here in Kranji, Singapore.
Other than vegetables, you can also replace most of your daily necessities—milk, oils, shampoos, etc with the organic versions.
How much does it cost?
Most organic food in Singapore is imported (well, most food is, period). And that means that eating organic in Singapore can get pretty damned expensive.
Organic produce generally costs at least 30% more than the non-organic version, and in many cases can be double the price or even more. Regular supermarkets like Fairprice do carry some organic vegetables and other products like milk (the selection varies from location to location), but unfortunately, prices are still at a premium.
Organic shopping tips
Clearly, if you’re going to replace everything in your fridge with the organic versions, you should be prepared to double your current food budget.
Still, experts say certain types of organic produce are more worthwhile than others. Instead of replacing your entire shopping cart with organic produce, be selective about what you buy.
In general, fruit and vegetables you can eat without peeling should be bought organic, especially those with thin outer layers, as pesticides and other toxic substances can penetrate their surfaces more easily. These include strawberries, grapes, spinach and capsicum.
On the other hand, other types of foods tend to be less affected by pesticides, including onions, cabbage, mangoes, and kiwi fruit.
If you’re looking to buy organic products like chia seeds, nuts, teas or even shampoos and creams, it’s cheaper to buy them online on iHerb than to hit up brick and mortar shops in Singapore.
Do you buy organic? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!