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COLUMBIA - Green shoppers flocked Thursday to the newest natural food store in Columbia. Natural Grocers on Stadium Boulevard opened this week, joining other natural food outlets in the area like Clovers Natural Market, Root Cellar, Schnucks, and HyVee.

Several shoppers shared they enjoy eating organically to support local farms and receive health benefits from avoiding unnecessary food chemicals. The manager of Natural Grocers said he notices a tie between Columbia residents and the land.  He agreed eating naturally benefits one's health.

HyVee Dietician Paula Vandelicht spoke with KOMU 8 about the growing trend for Columbia residents to eat organically. She chalks up the push for organic eating to its trendiness, especially given Columbia's college town status.  She agreed natural food is often farmed in environmentally friendly ways, but she said many studies have been unable to prove organic food is any better for one's health.

Additionally, Vandelicht and KOMU8 compared the prices and nutritional differences of organic cereal versus nonorganic cereal. Nonorganic cereal was slightly cheaper and did not stand out to Vandelicht as less healthy than its organic equivalent.