Difference Between Organic and Natural Food

People usually think that there is no difference between natural and organic food and that both mean the same. However, this is not true. If you compare organic and natural from their definitions, the difference will be quite clear.

Organic food refers to the food items that are produced, manufactured and handled using organic methods defined by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act. Natural food, on the other hand, generally refers to food items that are not altered chemically or synthesized in any form. These are derived from plants and animals. Thus a natural food item is not necessarily organic and vice versa.

But the important question is – “Why do some people prefer organic food and some prefer natural food?” This is because some people have the belief that synthesizing a food item results in some level of loss of its nutrients and beneficial properties. Therefore, they demand natural food.

Apparently, the demand for organic food is more than natural food because organic food seals are guaranteed and monitored by the government. An act similar to the Organic Food Products Act is necessary for natural food products as well, but it has not been made till now.

What is Organic Food?

Organic food refers to items that are produced using fewer artificial but beneficial means. Stringent standards for organic food production, handling, and processing exist throughout the world.

What is Natural Food?

Items are minimally synthesized. Stringent standards do not exist for natural food products in many parts of the world.

Difference Between Organic & Natural Food

Certification Agencies

Organic food: Many countries have certification bodies, the most prominent being the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Natural food: The International Association of Natural Products Producers (IANPP) is trying to get the definitions for natural food into a reliable and credible place. It should be noted that this association is not a certification body.

natural food and Organic food

Food Labels

Organic food: Organic labels have legal implications. A manufacturer must follow the specified rules and regulations before using the organic label.

Natural food: Natural labels are normally used freely by manufacturers due to lack of adequate guidelines.

Food Demand

Organic food: There is considerably more for organic food than for natural food. Organic food is readily available all over the world and people buy it more and more every year.

Natural food: The demand is increasing, but not nearly as much as for organic food.

Health Benefits

Organic Food: There is no evidence to prove that organic food is healthier than non-organic food. People prefer organic food because they feel that it is safer than conventional food as chemicals are not used in its production. However, recent research on the health benefits of organic milk has boosted the spirits of organic food lovers. Recent research suggests that choosing organic food can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.

Natural Food: People prefer this type of food because they believe excessive processing of food items disturbs the implicit health benefits.

Food Price

Organic Food: It is priced higher than non-organic food.

Natural Food: It is priced higher than processed food.organicnaturalfoodinfographic1

Shelf Life

Organic Food: The shelf life of organic food is more than that of natural food, implying that you can store it safely for a longer duration.

Natural Food: Since it is minimally processed, many food items which have a high water content have a subsequently shorter shelf life.


Organic food: Organic food is being sold in almost every major supermarket. There are even specialty stores selling organic food exclusively and one can purchase organic food online as well.

Natural food: It is available at many stores that sell organic food. There are some specialty stores that sell natural food. Furthermore, many stores selling health food items also sell natural food products. It is a vastly growing market.

What do you think? |
30 comments in this article's discussion
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Isn't it common sense that when defining a word, you don't use that word in the definition.
Organic Food: Organic food refers to items that are produced using organic means. ..........LOL ....well that doesn't tell me anything

What a great piece explaining what are 2 very different food sources.
I have sold Natural Meats in different boroughs of NYC that were both Naturally and Organically raised but were never certified as Organic. For folks to really understand what that means is important, and I appreciated my read.
Thanks again,


I have always tried to eat healthy organic and natural food and even grow my own as much as I can so I am a big fan of this sort of lifestyle leading to a healthy and happy and long life. I mean who wants to eat pesticides and chemicals everyday and I doubt very much that these are going to good for your health in any way.

I hate the wording in this quote, "have the belief that synthesizing a food item results in loss of its nutrients and properties." It's not a belief that food that is cooked looses its nutrients. Studies show that even steaming vegetables kills the nutrients in it.

I would advise you double-check what synthesizing food means. Hint: it doesn't mean cooked and "natural foods" doesn't mean raw.

Also, there have been studies which have shown that while cooking can degrade some nutrients, it can enhance the availability of others. Of course, if you are a fan of the raw diet, then most definitely you will not believe these studies. Which makes it pretty much a belief.

Tyna W. Benson

I am a vegan my entire life. With seizure disorder, atrial fibrillation and migraines I prefer organically grown fruits and vegetables as the pesticides and chemicals used on naturally grown are more likely to agitate my disorders. And as I eat nothing from mammals including milk and eggs, I believe its healthier for me. Can't speak for others, but I prefer and like organic better.

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

i'm sick so very very much

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

haw are you

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

hello tyna

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

i'm mohamed

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

Please, Abosa message I'm sick

Mido Ovitesh Ovitesh

hello habibi

The cancer rate in 1920 was 1 in 20. In 2010 it was 1 in 2. Soon it will be EVERYONE! The toxic environment is killing all of us slowly but surely. It is CRIMINAL what they have done to our environment, and espesially what they have done to our food supply. If you don't eat organic, YOU EAT CHEMICALS AND POISONS! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! After going 100% organic, I got rid of the gout that modern medicine could not even curtail. I also got rid of my allergies 100% I can now walk through a thick wave of cottonwood, pollen, etc, and not even get the slightest symptoms, where I used to have to stay indoors all summer long, and still suffered! No medicine could fix what was wrong with me. I started eating PURE FOOD! THAT's IT! ITS JUST THAT SIMPLE! YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

it his all in your mind..the grass grow where is the oxgen come from is it purefied or full of chemical.

People who say "it's all in your mind" run by the saying "ignorance is bliss". I don't blame them because I was once ignorant as well to these things. You never fully understand the diagnosed disease other people are going through until you experience it yourself. Even though people know I have been diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis they still tell me it's all mental. I tell them Ignorance is bliss. After going organic my life changing destructive symptoms went away! I got my life back and I'm happy again! I am happy for and envy people who do not have a negative response to non-organic/non natural foods. Again, I don't blame others for not understanding people like me because I wouldn't and didn't either before developing this disease; I would probably think it's all mental as well.

The facts are not ridiculous! What do you think is in your meat. Hormones and antibiotics and animals kept in cages they cannot even turn around in. Why do you think there is such a problem with people being hard to treat with antibiotics for disease today? Simple you have received so many antibiotics and hormones in your food you are resistant to them. There is so much proof out there you really should check some of your facts Jeremy. I have been a health professional for the past 44 years and have dealt with these problems and watched people die because they cant find a antibiotic that is not resistant.

Antonette Espacio-Benitez

Very informative... I'm slowly beginning to incorporate a healthy eating pattern for myself and my family and I got confused along the way between organic and natural...thanks for the info...

Antonette Espacio-Benitez

Yes Leen.. I see them in our local Vons and Ralphs too.. thanks.....:-)

Edeelin Dela Cruz Labra

You know there's a lot of organic snacks at Grocery Outlet if you have that store over there, you may want to check it out and way cheaper that other organic stores..

Jeremy Paul Beasley

The "facts" in that table are ridiculous. "There is no evidence to prove that organic food is healthier than non organic food." - a very ignorant statement.

The major problem is not about how healthy food is. The problem is that we are eating purified foods period. Our lymphatic system was designed to attack foreign bodies such as those bacteria which makes us sick. If we continue to eat purified food, our lymphatic system gets lazy and has nothing to fight. After a while, we will start catching everything under the sun, even developing allergies that can potentially kills us, because we are making our bodies lazy with the purified foods we insist on eating.

Just wait till it makes you sick, and you have no choice but to turn to organic food, and you will see for yourself just like I did. If I eat regular food, I get gout and can't get out of bed. Not even pharaceuticals can get rid of my gout. If I eat 100% organics, the gout goes away without any medicines of any kind. Oh, and my allergies are 100% gone as well. Say and think what you want, but I know 1st hand!!

That's like saying eating organic food is no different that eating pesticides and herbicides. As a life time organic grower, I know how uninformed your comment is. Where do you think all our cancers are coming from these days ? I even had a sister die of mad cow disease. Our food is not safe. Organic and Kosher are anyone's best bet.

Angel Jorgensen Van Gilder

They really need to update this, there is so much scientific evidence that True organic food is healthier over natural and conventional food.

This is keeping it real

Madhusudhan Robbi

Knowing about Organic Food & Natural food.