Buying Organic – Pro’s and Con’s of Buying Locally Verses Buying Online


There is a lot of debate about the issue of buying organic products from the local organic store or supermarket compared to buying them online or through local delivery systems and networks. We all want to reduce our carbon footprint but what is the most environmentally sustainable method of delivery?

When buying fresh organic products the debate goes a little deeper because the further fresh produce has to travel, the more likely it can become contaminated and its freshness slowly declines. Processed organic products are also a subject of concern. Organic products are often manufactured to order or supplies are made based on predetermined order schedules. Organic products often have a lower shelf life due to reduced or no preservatives. This also depends on there manufacturing process.

What’s wrong with organic products bought in Supermarkets?

Well, there is nothing specifically wrong with them. Organic is Organic whichever way you look at it but there are some challenges with its supply and the carbon footprint larger stores can cause.

  • Manu
    factured organic products are ideally made no more than a month in advance to retain freshness and increase shelf life. Organic products bought in Supermarkets are likely to have some form of shelf life extender (preservative) added.
  • Supermarkets hold fresh food products in warehouses for considerably long periods of time. Fresh food we find in the supermarket could have been there for months or more. Fruit is often picked immature or green and stored until needed, when it needs to be ripened the storage bay is filled with ethylene gas to force ripen the fruit.
  • Supermarkets and smaller shops use a considerable amount of power to operate. Lights are often kept on in large stores at night to assist with security by deterring would be intruders. That’s a lot of power being used.

So what are the best options?

Fresh food should be ideally bought from local organic growers and suppliers. Less transport is always better for fresh food products. Local Farmers Markets are a good option as you can often speak directly with the grower about the organic methods they used to grow the products. I wouldn’t recommend buying fresh food from a Supermarket unless there is no alternative option.

Manufactured organic products such as dried fruit and nuts, olive oil, soymilk, oat milk, cereals, health bars etc, would be ideally purchased from the manufacturer and delivered to your home. However, there would be no reason not to purchase these products from the local supermarket.

Organic skin care and cosmetic products are ideally bought directly from the manufacturer or supply channel and delivered to your home. These products are usually made fresh sometimes to order and delivered direct to the store OR consumer. There is a shelf life date on many of these products that gives them up to a couple of years but buying from the supermarket they could already be 6 months into the Use-by date. Most organic products have a “Use within “x” months of opening” label, the x usually represents 6 months.