If this seems like a mixed bag, it is. Marketing, science, and public perception have all mingled to create the image of the organic food industry—an image that isn’t exactly factual. Whether or not organics are worth the—sometimes vastly—increased price depends on your motivation for purchasing them.

If you spend more on organics in order to obtain greater nutritional benefits or a fresher taste, there’s no reason to keep doing so. Organics are no better, nutritionally, than non-organics, and taste is a matter of, well, taste.

If you’re buying organic because you want to avoid common contaminants like pesticides and antibiotics, there’s a definite benefit, but the scientific jury is still out as to whether the difference is large enough to actually improve your health.

If the marketing claims of environmental sustainability draw you to the organic isle, you can definitely keep walking. Organic agriculture is no better than, and may be worse than, non-organic farming.

But if your mind is more on how livestock is treated, organics are more than worth the price. As we’ve said, animals in non-organic farming operations are abused. There’s no other word for it. And while livestock on organic farms aren’t treated perfectly, the animals do live much better lives and are treated more humanely.

Whatever your reason, arm yourself with the latest information so that you can spend your hard-earned money well—on things which actually bring you the benefits you want. Marketing is often manipulative at best, and a weave of outright lies, at worst. Trust yourself to do your own research and find out what the best choice is for you and your family when it comes to organic food products.