11 Sustainable Food Brands You Should Know About
The perfect way to begin our list, Alara have been setting the standard for sustainable food brands for decades. They became the first cereal company to gain organic certification in 1988 and 30 years later became the UK’s first zero-waste business in 2008.
Alara have never rested on their laurels, and sustainability remains at the heart of their business to this day. They’ve committed to numerous tree-planting initiatives that help ensure a greener, cleaner future, but have really left their mark with their plastic-free packaging. Alara pride themselves on being a responsible food brand with sustainable packaging that leaves no waste for future generations to deal with. Their cereal bags are made using a eucalyptus cellulose that might look like plastic but can break down over three months in home compost heaps. Every day, Alara challenge themselves to go further than before, in their mission to become the “Most Sustainable Food Manufacturer on Earth”.
One way we can work towards a more sustainable future is to make sure we don’t take more from nature than it can afford to give. Totally Wild Food believe in this relationship wholeheartedly and, as the UK’s only Ofqual-certified foragers, they’re one of our top eco-friendly food brands. Their pickers are expertly trained to source the freshest, most flavour-filled ingredients from the country’s wildest, greenest corners and from our windswept coastlines too.
No matter what they’re searching for, Totally Wild Food always put sustainability first, only harvesting in small amounts so that the plants can regrow naturally. Every member of their team has a unique understanding of the delicate ecosystems they work with and always treats them with the respect they deserve. By sourcing directly from the wild, Totally Wild Food can bring exceptionally high-quality ingredients to your table, all without needing farmland to do so.
Black Isle Brewery’s motto is “Save the Planet, drink organic.” It’s a principle they’ve supported for decades, as Scotland’s first and only organic brewer. They’ve worked hard to distil sustainability into every one of their expertly crafted beers and lagers.
Surrounding their Inverness brewery are 130 acres of organic countryside, tended to dutifully by their flock of black Hebridean sheep. The herd even helps the brewery reduce their wastage by munching on any spent grains created during the brewing process.
That’s not Black Isle’s only sustainable change. Recently, the brewery switched to packaging every beer in aluminium cans rather than heavy glass bottles. With aluminium cans, their packaging is endlessly recyclable and lightweight, using much less fuel to transport. With these eco-friendly choices, Black Isle Brewery are proudly living up to their long-standing motto.
Another of Scotland’s most sustainable food brands can be found on the rugged Isle of Mull. When demand for their delicious biscuits rocketed back in 2012, Island Bakery built a brand-new bakery on the hills overlooking Tobermory. This new site runs entirely off clean, renewable energy, combining the Isle of Mull’s plentiful winds and rushing waters to generate power. Even their ovens are fuelled sustainably, using waste woodchips to build up a slow and steady heat that gives their biscuits the perfect bake.
Biona began as a small wholefoods store dedicated to organic food and respecting the planet. Although they’ve expanded over the years, Biona have never wavered from their original mission and continue to put sustainability first in everything they do. Biona HQ runs entirely off renewable energy sources, and over half of their products are produced using clean energy too. All of their ingredients are imported by land or sea, helping to reduce Biona’s carbon footprint by avoiding air miles. Biona go to great lengths to be transparent about their sustainability efforts and share regular updates with their community, illustrating how they’re becoming an increasingly eco-friendly food brand.
Organic farming often relies on a mixture of traditional know-how and a modern understanding of the local environment. The farmers at Hodmedods know this winning formula well, not just by growing top-quality grains and pulses, but by pushing the boundaries of British farming. This group of pioneering farmers have reintroduced native crops to the UK that have not been seen since the Iron Age and have embraced innovative agroforestry practices as well. Martin Wolfe’s experimental farm, ‘Wakelyns’ in Suffolk, has merged farmland and woodland, with tree-lined avenues that run through his fields. These natural havens provide shelter for a wealth of wildlife above ground and improve the health of the soil below it. Hodmedod’s changes to the farming industry help pursue a more sustainable future without sacrificing a vital, homegrown source of food.
Sustainable sipping has always been at the heart of Pip Organic. They source all of the ingredients for their refreshing juices from local, organic farms to help reduce food miles with every carton. But the tricky challenge of replacing plastic straws was one of Pip’s most sustainable moves. They switched their plastic straws for paper ones far in advance of the July 2021 retail ban, and started using paper made from renewable sources instead. This early change meant that Pip Organic saved more than 10 million plastic straws from being produced. The removal of non-recyclable plastics didn’t end there either; changes came to Pip’s bottles too. An innovative new blend of recyclable plastic and bioplastic was introduced that now means every bottle can be recycled up to five times over.
People around the world sip more than 500 million cups of Pukka’s organic, Fairtrade-certified tea every year. As such a popular brand, Pukka recognised that it could do a lot to help support a more sustainable future. In 2017, Pukka mapped their own carbon output from crop to cup and engaged in a number of green initiatives to lower their emissions. Pukka’s efforts included reforesting areas of Madagascar and Nepal, donating over £500,000 to environmental causes and setting a carbon neutrality target for 2030. Pukka’s popularity paired with their drive to become a more sustainable food brand sets a great example for other food and drink businesses to follow.
There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into each of nucao’s dairy-free snack bars. This eco-friendly food brand from Dresden, Germany, decided that their modern rethinking of the typical chocolate bar needed innovative packaging to match. Their bars are wrapped in a clever, cellulose-based foil that’s completely compostable and plastic-free. But nucao wanted to make a change beyond the bars themselves. So they made a pledge to plant one tree for every bar they sold. This nutree initiative has helped plant mangrove trees along the coast of Madagascar, protecting against rising tides and soil erosion, as well as absorbing huge amounts of CO2.
Much like nucao, Original Beans are passionate about their 1-for-1 principle. They have tied their reforestation efforts to the sale of each bar of their exquisite chocolate. Original Beans strengthen that relationship between consumer and conservationist by printing a scannable code on their packaging that shows how you’re helping. You can quickly see where you’ve helped plant a tree and can get further information on how your support will help the community in that area. On top of this amazing connection, Original Beans actively reduce CO2 emissions throughout their entire supply chain. This means that all of their wholesale chocolate is delivered CO2 negative, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than is produced. It’s a process that makes Original Beans one of our top sustainable food brands to support, especially with such delicious chocolate on the table.
We couldn’t finish our list without a shout-out for our award-winning refillable deliveries, Club Zero. ‘Refill, return, repeat’ is the aim with Club Zero, where organic pantry staples are delivered to your door in our VIPs (Very Important Pots), ready to decant at home and send back to us for reuse. Our zero-waste innovation scooped up the Best Sustainable Packaging Award at the BOOM awards earlier this year and we couldn’t be prouder. Join the club and you too can become a Club Zero hero.
Published October 2021
By working with so many sustainable food brands over the years, we’ve been able to support their incredible, planet-positive efforts, while enjoying their delicious foods too. When it comes to our own sustainability story, there’s so much to discover. From cutting back on plastic to launching exciting, new recycling projects, find out how we’re striving to become ever more eco-friendly over on our Sustainability Hub.