Whole organic chickens are selling at prices up to $60 each across Perth – with mixed reviews.
Organic supermarket Loose Produce in Como sells whole organic chickens frozen for $22.50 per kilo, with their most expensive chook recently costing $58.19.
Loose Produce stock manager Nikki White said their whole organic chickens were popular amongst customers.
“There definitely are people who would spend the money on the chicken,” Ms White said.
“The type of customers that we have here are not necessarily the sort of people who only have $50 a week to live on.
“Often the people that come here have health issues or dietary issues, and quality food is their number one thing on their budget.
Ms White said it was not about how much customers spent but about how good the food was and what they were eating.
Organic and free range butcher Paddock & Farm in Innaloo charges $16.99 per kilo, and owner Tyron Haddock said customers who bought the shop’s organic chickens just wanted to be healthy.
“A lot of people who have got problems with their digestion buy it,” he said.
“And also, people just don’t want to eat crap food.
“They want good, nutritious food.”
Mr Haddock said his wife, two children and he had tried the chickens.
“It’s a lot more dense, so you eat a lot less,” he said.
“A lot of the organic stuff, the flavour is stronger, so you don’t have to flavour it too much.”
Dieticians Association of Australia dietician Monica Klein said organic produce was not more nutritious than conventional produce although often marketed to be.
“The nutrient composition will be very similar and there would not be any “added” nutrients that aren’t present in the same fruit or vegetable which has been conventionally grown,” Ms Klein said.
She said that RSPCA-approved chicken, although not certified organic, offered similar benefits at a lower cost.
Ms Klein said the greatest difference between organic and conventional chicken was organic chicken cannot be administered antibiotics.
She said that in Australia all chickens sold for consumption, be they organic or not, were hormone-free.
Mr Haddock said whilst whole chickens were popular; he sold more organic chicken in pieces and packets.
“We’d go through probably 16 to 20 birds per week,” he said.
“But with the breasts, thighs and drumsticks, we go through a lot more of those.”
Ms White said organic produce was not always more expensive, but external factors raised the price of each chicken.
“The farmer and the processing have to be certified organic,” Ms White said.
“That actually puts quite a big cost on top of the actual product itself because they have to pay their certifying body.”
Reids Meats & Delicatessen owner Brett Reid said he sold more free-range chickens than organic chickens, with Mr Reid preferring to eat free-range to organic chicken.
“We probably only sell 10 organic, and the other chickens we sell about 200, about five per cent of the total amount,” he said.
“I just eat free range chicken because to me it’s just the same breed of chicken, they just feed it different food.
“The [organic] chicken is probably three times the price, when you break it down.
“If I was in a lower market, or a lower socio-economic area, then forget it.
“It’s Applecross, so people will pay.”
Photos: Rachel Wong