Knowing which the truly ethical food brands are could make a very demanding full-time job for anyone who’s interested, and with an ever-expanding selection of healthy, ethical foods and drinks to choose from you’d almost be forgiven for giving up completely and grabbing whatever’s nearest, regardless of what’s in it and where it’s come from.
Luckily for you we’ve done a little of the legwork on your behalves and have picked five of our favourite ethical food and drinks brands to tell you about, so the next time you’re lost in the aisles you can pick out the best stuff better!
If you still need a helping hand once you’ve got through this list, check our food labelling guide to see what the stamps on the packaging really mean and to help you make the best decisions.
1. Natural Balance Foods
You may have come across Nākd bars or Trek protein bars in your local health food shop or ‘free-from’ section of the supermarket. Both Nākd and Trek are made by Natural Balance Foods, a young British company formed in 2004 with the aim of revolutionising healthy snacking. Nākd bars are a delicious alternative to other sugar-packed cereal bars, made from a list of natural ingredients you can mostly count on one hand. Being a company of active outdoors-y people, they then came up with Trek bars, full of protein and other essential ingredients to help keep you going when you most need it. The company is a proud supporter of a number of charities including Animal Aid, Coppafeel, and Action against Hunger.
Want to sample a whole load of Nākd right away? Try out The Nākd Celebration Box, filled with 18 100% natural treats with no added sugars or syrups. Feeling active and in need of a boost? Pick the Trek Bar Mixed Case, with 12 bars in three flavours. You can also get packs of just one flavour, or if you want to try a single bar take a look in your nearest health food shop or supermarket.
2. Pukka Herbs
Better known simply as ‘Pukka’ – translated from Hindi to mean ‘genuine’ – Sebastian and Tim’s company was borne of a mutual interest in promoting wellbeing. Working from Tim’s spare room, Pukka began its journey in 2002 and has blossomed ever since. Making a range of organic teas and other products, Pukka is all about healthy living and the ancient Indian Ayurveda – or the art of living wisely. The company’s products are recognised Fairtrade, and have stamps of approval from the Soil Association, USDA, Euro Leaf, and others.
Start your Pukka journey with the Cleanse & Detox Tea Pack, all 100% organic, ethically sourced, and suitable for vegetarians.
Based here in Wales, Meridian has been mixing up its nut and seed butters for over 30 years. Making foods that are delicious and good for your health, they only use the best, simplest ingredients. Also, they use more nuts than anyone else and keep well away from rainforest-ruining palm oil. Meridian has even made a rainforest pledge, and supports the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS), rescuing orangutans displaced from their natural habitats.
There are other variants of Meridian peanut butter available, but we love their Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter the most – it’s made of peanuts, and nothing else. If you want something a little different, try out their Organic Smooth Cashew Butter – put it in cakes, bakes, and shakes, or on crackers and crumpets.
4. GOOD Hemp Food
We’re big fans of GOOD, and have written about the benefits of hemp oil before. Henry and Glynis grow their hemp crops on their farm in Devon, and spent 10 years perfecting their harvesting and pressing techniques before releasing the final product. The lovely, nutty flavour of hemp food products can be enjoyed without any worries – GOOD foods contain no trans fats, sugar, or artificial ingredients, and they’re absolutely fine to be used by vegetarians and vegans too. Hemp is packed with essential fatty acids and omegas, and is good for your heart, joints, hair, skin, and immune system amongst other things!
For dressing salads, baking, and frying, GOOD OIL is the healthiest option around. It’s got half the saturated fat of olive oil, and 25 x more Omega 3. For those gym bunnies amongst you, take a look at their hemp protein products!
“A morning without coffee is not a morning at all,” said somebody, somewhere, once (probably). Cafédirect focuses on smallholder growers to produce its coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. 50% of the company’s profits are put back where the money’s needed to create a more sustainable future for the growers, and their 100% Fairtrade drinks taste all the better for it. Best known for their coffee, you’ll also find beautiful teas and rich chocolate drinks from Cafédirect.