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Organic Food Is Pricey, But a New Study Suggests It's Worth It

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It's more profitable for farmers and uses less energy, among other benefits.

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The relatively high price of organic food can be tough to swallow for many supermarket shoppers — but ponying up the extra cash for organic might be worth it in more ways than one.

According to a new study reported on by Time, organic farming methods might actually be key to figuring out how to feed the world's growing population down the line.

The review study, which was published this week in Nature Plants, shows that although organically grown crops typically produce 10 to 20 percent less food than conventional farming due to lack of synthetic fertilizers, during times of drought they actually produce more than conventionally-grown crops. Organic farming is also significantly more profitable for farmers, and uses less energy.

Of course, most people who buy organic likely do it not out of concern for farmers' pocketbooks, but rather because they believe it's healthier, a notion that's supported by many recent studies. (There's also that whole lack of pesticides thing.) And despite the fact that people who buy organic food pay a 47 percent premium on average, Time says sales of organic products now make up a full five percent of the food and beverage market.

While the relatively high prices of organic produce and meats have no doubt contributed to bourgeois grocer Whole Foods earning the nickname "Whole Paycheck," the biggest retailer of organic food these days is actually Costco.