7 On Your Side, Consumer Reports: How to eat organic without breaking the bank

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We all know that opting for organic food can be a healthy choice for us individually, as well as for the planet. Organic food can also be more expensive than conventionally produced food.

But you don't have to break the bank to eat organic. In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney has some easy ways to save on organic food.

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For nearly 10 years, Brianna Espinoza has cooked almost exclusively with organic produce. "Chemicals was a big thing, a big concern of mine. And from then on, I just started buying organic," she said.

Brianna is especially concerned about her 2-year old being exposed to the chemicals that are in synthetic pesticides. But buying organic puts a bite in her budget, so she clips coupons whenever possible. There are other ways to save.

"One great money saving tip is to look for store brand organics," said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health & Food Editor. "For example, organic apple sauce from Whole Foods is about half the price of this name brand organic apple sauce."

Check prices carefully. Organic can sometimes be cheaper. For instance, two pounds of organic hummus at Costco is almost a dollar less than a non-organic brand there.

"If going completely organic is putting too big a dent in your budget, know that for some fruits and vegetables conventionally grown is comparable in terms of pesticide risk to organic," Calvo said.

One example: avocados. Consumer Reports has previously found non-organic avocados from Mexico, Chile, and Peru have a low-pesticide risk. The same with conventionally grown U.S. broccoli.

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But other produce like strawberries have a higher pesticide risk, so buying the pricier organic ones is worth considering.

Organic carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and green beans are also worth the extra money.

And also check-out frozen organic veggies. Compare their prices to fresh, and you could be pleasantly surprised.

Can washing your produce help with pesticide risk? It cannot guarantee that you'll get rid of all pesticide residues. But a good scrubbing can get rid of some.

Keep in mind, though, some produce absorbs the pesticides, and those cannot be washed away.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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