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Organics Go Mainstream

From bed to bath and beyond

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Organics Go Mainstream

Once the preferred choice of an elite few, organic products have swept the mainstream marketplace. From produce to bedsheets to clothing, the O word is everywhere.

The O word is everywhere. From bananas to boudoirs and beyond–walk into any store and you will find products labelled organic. From organic cotton bedsheets to organic bath gels to organic coffees, the mainstream population is embracing organics as never before.

As 2007 draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the topics we covered in our “Organic Insight” features over the past year. There were several recurring themes–food labelling and fabrics being two hot topics.

A Label by Any Other Name

Let’s begin with our source of sustenance–food. We learned this year that just because a food product bears an organic label, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a healthy food choice (think organic sugar or organic chips).

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a food product can be labelled as organic if it consists of at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Also of interest to consumers is the fact that a product labelled “pesticide-free” or “no pesticides” may contain any one of a number of natural pesticides permitted for use in the organic production of food.

It’s definitely worth investing the time to make organic choices. Nutrition specialist Virginia Worthington compared 41 published studies on organics and nutrition and concluded that organic produce contains significantly higher levels of nutrients, including 27 percent more vitamin C, 21.1 percent more iron, and 29.3 percent more magnesium. All the more reason to choose organic.

Bamboo is In

Several of our “Organic Insight” articles focused on organic fabrics. Sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and soy, are being used to fashion T-shirts, golf wear, exercise clothes, handbags, bed linens, and towels. While hemp or bamboo plants may give the impression of being rough or scratchy, the materials they produce are soft and silky. Although these materials used to be expensive, increased demand has lowered the price considerably over the past few years.

Bamboo clothing graced the models at several New York Fashion Week shows in February. The website ecorazzi.com declared, “Fur is out, bamboo is in.” Vancouver designer Jason Matlo was ahead of the game, featuring bamboo in his fall collection in 2006.

While bamboo clothing has infiltrated the high-fashion runways, organic cotton has made its presence felt in the Canadian retail clothing market. In September 2006 Cotton Ginny introduced Eco-Ganic, a 100 percent organic cotton clothing line of T-shirts, fleece clothing, and baby outfits. At that time, 15 percent of their clothing line was organic. Cotton Ginny is aiming for the use of 100 percent organic cotton in its clothing lines over the next few years.

We look forward to bringing you more useful information on organic products in 2008 as the demand for organics continues to grow.

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