Organic vs Conventional Fruit: Do They Taste Different?
Health conscious consumers have driven demand for organic produce to new heights; but while the benefits of pesticide-free foods are often enough to justify the higher price of organic goods, is there truly a taste difference between organic and conventional fruit?
Years of studies have shown the taste of fruit is largely the same regardless of how it is grown, but advocates of organic food say they can taste a clear difference; blaming poorly designed studies for what they believe are misleading results. New studies appear to support that conclusion.
Washington State University Research Professor Charles Benbrook points to the idea that terroir – the elements that make up the natural environment in which food is grown – has a significant overall impact on food quality, including taste. He explains that conventional farming methods can lead to the loss of antioxidants that are critical for food to retain its “organoleptic properties” – aroma, taste, and how food feels in the mouth.
A primary example is that while high level of nitrogen in soil from synthetic fertilizers can help fruit grow faster and produce larger amounts of sugar, the rapid growth results in lower levels of the antioxidants that give organic fruit what advocates describe as a deeper taste.
Great taste and nutrition can be found in all fruit, but for anyone suspecting that organic fruit tastes better, Benbrook concurs, saying “People are yearning for more intense flavors, and there’s good news that organic farming accentuates flavor in fruits and vegetables.”