Fishbar News and Trends Blog Organic Market Shopping: How to Spot True Organic Products

Organic Market Shopping: How to Spot True Organic Products

Organic products have become the gold standard for many consumers in a world rapidly embracing a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle. However, the journey to find organic products can feel like navigating a dense jungle. The pathway is scattered with buzzwords, puzzling labels, and misleading packaging, confusing even the most vigilant shopper.

This comprehensive guide aims to clear the path and unravel what ‘organic’ truly means, enabling you to make more informed purchasing decisions when you stroll down the aisles of your local store or shop online.

Understanding Organic Certification

Organic certification, regulated under strict guidelines in many countries, assures consumers that the product they’re buying complies with organic farming practices and policies. From using fewer harmful pesticides to abstaining from synthetic hormones in livestock, organic certification speaks volumes about a product’s origin and quality.

However, it’s worth noting that some small-scale farmers use organic practices but need help to get certified. Truly organic products can be found beyond those bearing certification labels. While the landscape of organic shopping may seem complex, unraveling the mysteries of organic product labels can provide clarity.

Spotting Real Organic Products

Decipher Organic Product Labels

Labels are like a food product’s DNA, revealing critical information about its origin, ingredients, and legitimacy. In the United States, ‘real’ organic products bear the USDA Organic Seal and comply with the National Organic Program’s rigorous regulations. A genuine organic seal implies that the product comprises 95% to 100% organic ingredients. Conversely, products with less than 95% organic ingredients cannot flaunt this seal. However, stealthy marketing tactics often play the trickster, blurring the line between ‘natural’ and ‘organic.’ To differentiate the two, let’s delve into greenwashing next.

Greenwashing: Spotting False Organic Claims

‘Greenwashing’ is marketing chicanery, where brands mislead consumers with false organic or eco-friendly claims. Look beyond the ‘natural’ tag, which is not regulated like ‘organic,’ and inspect the fine print. For instance, while shopping for personal care products online, customers might come across offerings labeled ‘Organically Awesome.’

However, these products aren’t organic by standard definitions without the USDA seal. In the face of greenwashing, another key player guides customers – the humble PLU code.

Interpreting PLU Codes on Organic Produce

PLU (Product Look-Up) codes come in handy when buying fresh produce. A 5-digit code starting with a 9 signifies organic produce, while a 4-digit code starting with a 4 indicates conventionally grown produce. PLU codes, therefore, become a trustworthy ally in the quest for authentic organic products. Moving beyond large grocery stores, another treasure trove of organic products lies closer to your neighborhood.

Supporting Local Organics

Buying from local organic vendors is like hitting the sweet spot between supporting local economies and consuming healthy food. However, these products might not always boast the USDA seal due to cost restrictions. For instance, the Halifax organic market showcases a variety of products from local vendors who adhere to organic farming practices, despite not always having official certification.

Communicating with the grower about their farming methods can provide you with the assurance of the product’s integrity. Like the proliferation of organic produce, the trend has extended to beverages too.

Enlisting Help In Organic Shopping

Navigating the world of organic shopping can feel overwhelming. Seeking advice from co-ops and stores dedicated to organic produce, like Whole Foods Market, can be beneficial. These entities often provide extensive product information, helping consumers make informed choices.

Non-Alcoholic Beverage Products

The realm of organic products extends to beverages as well. From freshly brewed, preservative-free fruit juices to infused herbal teas, quality non-alcoholic beverage products can also sport the organic tag. Again, looking for the USDA seal or PLU code can help you steer clear of greenwashed products promising organic quality. Several commonly greenwashed product categories have also emerged as market trend bolsters.

Greenwashed Products

Greenwashing is rampant, from body care products and baby care items to yard care and cleaning products. Various products labeled as organic fool consumers with their persuasive packaging and credentials that sound legit but are inherently misleading. To counter this, consumers can seek professional assistance to help them differentiate the wheat from the chaff.


In the ever-evolving world of organic products, empowering yourself with the right knowledge is key. Whether scanning QR codes, interfacing with local growers, or simply deciphering product labels, each step brings you closer to products that align with your values and support your well-being. So, the next time you find yourself in an organic market or surfing for organic products online, remember – staying informed helps you buy better.