Go organic for a good life without making your bank balance wilt

Many people believe green products and Fairtrade goods come at a premium. Not so

However, these goods and organic produce have a reputation for costing more. Earlier this month the chef Raymond Blanc attacked the organic food movement for being “elitist and expensive”.

Living by your principles does not have to cost the earth, though. Here is our pick of the best ways to shop organically and ethically for less.

Choose own-brand organic

The supermarkets’ organic ranges are just as healthy and pesticide-free as branded products — and may well work out a lot cheaper.

For example, Sainsbury’s Organic unfiltered extra virgin olive oil costs £2.50 for 500ml, while the LA Organic Cuisine premium extra virgin olive oil just along the shelf will set you back £6.50 for the same amount. If you buy a bottle a month, you could make an annual saving of £48 by choosing the Sainsbury’s oil.

Go organic for a good life without making your bank balance wilt

Asda shoppers could also slash their shopping bill by swapping Heinz Organic Baked Beanz at 80p for the store’s own-brand version at 60p. If your family gets through four tins a week, you could save more than £40 a year.

Think local

Buying your groceries from local producers is a great way to cut down on food miles, and be certain of the source.

If you live in a rural area, approach local farmers who may be willing to sell direct. Some farms have pick-your- own deals. A list is available at pickyourownfarms.org.uk.

At Trevaskis Farm, near Hayle, Cornwall, you can pick organic apples for £1.25 a kilogram — a lot cheaper than paying £2.50 for a bag of five organic Gala apples at Waitrose.

Farmers’ markets often offer local crops. Some have a reputation for being expensive, others offer good value for money. Research by the Kent Farmers’ Market Association found that 1.5kg of topside beef, 1.5kg of potatoes, 1kg of medium onions, 400g of carrots and 1kg of strawberries cost £20.55 at the Shipbourne farmers’ market, near Tonbridge, on June 5.

That was 51% less than in Waitrose and 30% less than in Sainsbury’s, according to the association.

Buy online

Planet Organic, a large organic supermarket, has free delivery for orders costing at least £30 (planet–organic.com). It is also offering 10% off orders over £50 until August 31. The internet is also a gold mine for ethically produced clothes and gifts. Online stores include llamafairtradeshop.co.uk and traidcraftshop.co.uk.

Take advantage of cashback deals

Members of cashback websites earn money in return for clicking through to buy products from a range of retailers and service providers.

Many of the sites have a dedicated organic or ethical section. Topcashback offers 10.5% cashback on purchases from the Holland & Barrett health food chain and 21% cashback on Organic Surge beauty products. Shoppers can also try quidco.com.

Lindsey Casey of Topcashback said: “A cashback site is a great way to offset the higher price tags that tend to accompany organic and ethical brands. Our number of organic and ethical purchases is up 51% so far this year compared with the same period in 2013.”

Savy customers can also find discounts on voucher sites. Myvouchercodes.co.uk offers money off Original Organics gardening products.

Grow your own

Perhaps the simplest way to be sure of eating organic fruit and veg is to grow your own.

If you do not have a garden, simple things such as lettuce and herbs can be planted in a window box. If you are more ambitious, sign up for an allotment. To find out more, visit the National Allotment Society (nsalg.org.uk) or visit one of the sites holding an open day today as part of National Allotments Week.

This article was provided by Choco-Lush Blog.