Understanding Organic’s Meaning and Natural


When we go shopping, we see a lot of signs and labels with the word “Organic” on them, but what does that organic mean sometimes. Organic is a big word with multiple meanings depending on the field of studies. Today we are going to look at organic’s meaning through a sustainable and ethical way. Looking for the meaning of organic on food labels, skincare products, and your clothes. Keep on reading to find out more about organic’s meaning and understand why buying organic products might be better.

Does Organic Mean Natural?

When we go shopping, we often see labels of 100% natural, 100% organic, made organically or even just natural. However, these labels can be quite confusing. While it is true that if a product is organic it is natural. However, that depends on the definition of what natural means. A product being organic means the product is produced or grown more naturally, without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, or any artificial injection or additives, but it doesn’t mean it is 100% natural like crops you find in the wild. However, vice versa, natural products are not necessarily always organic. While there are regulations on what organic means, natural does not have a clear definition. For many people natural means there is nothing added, while for farmers it might mean that only simple and traditional methods or products are used that do not involve artificial, synthetic chemicals. Thus, natural and organic meanings can have a lot of confusion around them. So let’s take a look at organic’s meaning.

Organic’s Meaning

A wide variety of organic food
Organic’s meaning is a product is produced without artificial ingredients, additives, or preservatives. However, that doesn’t mean the products do not contain pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, just non-synthetic, artificial ones. Plus, being organic means that the product is non-GMO or genetically modified. Since you can add any synthetic ingredients, of course, you can’t alter the genes of the crop too.

You must be wondering, what is the difference then? Organically growing means the crop or animal are raised using methods that have been around for thousands of years, there are no human-made additives or chemicals injected or used to make the product grow better. While conventional farming means artificial hormones, chemicals are added to the crops and products during the process of growing. This can lead to many significant changes to the crop and the animals. For example, hormone-injected cows might have a high chance of a lower immune system due to the artificial enhancement and thus, be more prone to diseases. Take this and compare it to a cow that is raised organically, meaning allowing the cow to build their own immune system through proper nutritional feed and growing to their appropriate size. Some people would prefer the organically raised cow instead of the conventional one, having meat or dairy products with low chance of containing hormones and antibiotics. The same thing can be applied to vegetables and fruits, lower the chance of chemical residue from the pesticides and herbicides.

Organic Food Meaning

I am sure many of us want to provide the best and healthiest option for ourselves and our loved ones. For many people that means the food containing the least amount of chemical and synthetic additives. Organic vegetables, fruits, and meat often are considered better without the artificial or synthetic additives. As organic’s meaning stated there are no synthetic or artificial ingredients, that means when growing the cows, they are not fed with antibiotics or artificial hormones that will make them grow a certain way. The cows are much stronger and oftentimes organic meats are leaner. While organic crops mean, the vegetables and fruits you eat use traditional ways of growing without harsh chemicals being sprayed on them for faster growth or pest prevention. Find out more about organic food here!

Organic Meaning in Products

Oftentimes we will see organic labels on non-food products. The organic meaning of these products are just simply the product has been made with ingredients that are organic. However, it does not mean all of the ingredients are organic, it might just mean that some ingredients are. Such issues have raised awareness around marketing organic and natural products. How the meaning of organic can largely influence the marketing and the sales of the product and the confusion some consumers might have surrounding organic or natural products.

Marketing Products

When a product is marketed as organic and natural, it can be quite confusing for the consumer to understand the meaning. Especially, when the organic meaning and naturals meanings are often confused for one another or not clearly defined. Thus, it is important to do some research on the product, check if they are certified organic. In addition, when marketing organic products, we need to pay attention to how they market themselves. Depending on the labels, there are different levels of how organic a product is, some are 100% and some are just made with some organic ingredients. We also need to understand that being natural does not mean the item is automatically organic or non-GMO, it just means there might be some natural element or that is the appeal they want to sell, so be careful!

Buying Organic

Choose organic based on the understanding of its meaning
With all that being said, buying organic is very popular and there are good reasons, not only are organic products produced in a more traditional and ethical manner, organic products are good for the producers and consumers. If you are curious to know why organic products are better, you should definitely check out this article about the benefits of organic. I hope by now you understand the meaning of organic and how to identify if the product is organic or not.

Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!