If you’re looking to support companies with a conscience and purchase products that are leaving a positive impact on their own communities and the planet at large, check out this shopping list of some of my favourite responsible food and drink brands.
Some of them are raw ingredients to cook with, some of them are ready to eat and sip. Nothing beats home cooking and homemade products, but these are well worth checking out for when you’re next at the shops and want to vote with your spending power. Everything is delicious, that goes without saying, but these are the brands that are thinking about people as well as profits and who are ongoing in their commitments to do a bit better every year.
I do love flowers and candles but I always think something to eat or drink makes the best birthday, thank you or housewarming present. If you’re going to a summer wedding and worrying about giving a gift that is unique but won't break the bank, why not make up your own special hamper?
1. We know that salt can take our cooking from zero to hero.Halen mon sea salthas a DOP (Protected Designation of Origin status like parmigiano reggiano) and works closely with its local community in Wales. It also just had a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate its achievements. I love the motto: "The cure for anything is saltwater - sweat, tears or the sea".
2. Speaking of the sea, I’m mad on seaweed. A little dried seaweed in soups, stir fries, stews and ramen soups is just the ticket. Check out these brands that harvest sustainably likeCornish Seaweed(who has seaweed bath bags too!).
3. Proper raw honey from the multiple award-winningBlack Bee Honey. It delivers honey to your door from all over including seaside honey, heather honey from Exmoor National Park and London honey. I helped these two lovely men with their beekeeping duties a few years ago!
4.Belazumakes fantastic Middle Eastern ingredients and is famous for its Rose Harissa and Olive Oil. (I’ve got a super simple summer soup recipe for you here.) As a company it is zero waste-to-landfill and a percentage of its profits goes to its foundation for family food projects in the local community.
5. Chocolates - there are lots of recommendations here! I have a small drawer in my kitchen dedicated to chocolate, because I’d rather have great chocolate than pudding! Some of my Fairtrade favourites are Cocoa Loco,Divine,Tony Chocoloneyand I rateDoisy & Dam(a certified B-corp).
6.Zaytounis a fair-trade social enterprise in Palestine – and its za’atar is the best in the business.
7. For saving surplus fruits, there'sRubies in the Rubble. Try its apple chutney made with perfectly edible apples untouched and donated by a UK train company.
8. This genius ladyNibsis proudly fighting food waste with crackers and granolas made from juice pulp (and winning investment from Ashton Kutcher’s WeWork Creator Awards).
9.Biona- all round good uns for stocking up your store cupboard (including the best coconut milk I've tried -apart from the fresh stuff of course). It's a family business and started with a wholefoods shop in the '70s which turned into one of London’s first vegetarian restaurants.
10. Teas. I’m a proud Fairtrade ambassador myself, having seen the impact that the Fairtrade price guarantee has on families and communities during a trip to Kenya last year. So shout out toClipper Teaswho were the UK’s first Fairtrade tea company almost 30 years ago and is the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade tea. I’m also a huge fan of the acclaimed tea lady, Henrietta ofRare Teawho has her own charity and recently held a very special fundraising afternoon tea at Claridges cooked by Rene Redzepi of Noma.
11. Looking for coffee alternatives? Check outWunderworkshop’s range with my favourite Chai lattes and turmeric mushroom blends. The founders work closely with community farms in Sri Lanka using sustainable farming techniques.
12.Toast Ale, my sustainability-champion friend Tristram Stuart’s award-winning craft beer, is brewed with surplus fresh bread that would otherwise be wasted. And they’re available in mini kegs too. All profits go to the charity Feedback to end food waste.
13. For booze, tryFair Drinks, an independent Fairtrade-certified spirits brand run by fantastic people who work with communities in Bolivia. 14. Some very good wines via Vintage Roots which has been a leading seller of organic and biodynamic wine since the 1980s(my faves are Oxney’s sparkling wine from Sussex and the Silent Pool Rose from my home county of Surrey!).
15. Excellent for picnics and parties,Dashdrinks andUrban Cordialserve up soft drinks made from British fruit and veg that farmers can’t sell to supermarkets (make sure you try the lavender and blackberry from the latter).