As someone who absolutely loves food, but wants to buy and eat a product that is sustainable and safe, is from a company that looks after its employees and does not damage the environment, I was very much looking forward to Ethical Consumer Magazine’s latest issue.
Every issue Ethical Consumer focuses on a specific area, in which they investigate brands and products and publish their findings alongside an ethical rating. Their May/June issue brought focus to supermarkets and food.
I am under no illusion that supermarkets are an ‘ethical’ way to buy food. Personally I try where possible to buy from the local grocer, market, butcher or baker. However sometimes, for convenience and cost there is simply no other way to do a food shop than to head to the nearest Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op or Aldi.
Ethical Consumer assessed the supermarkets on environment, animals, people and politics to generate an ethiscore. Their full range of products sold, company policies and strategies were reviewed.
As you can see, none of them scored very highly. The highest being the Co-op with 5.5/20.
Specific findings on animal welfare, climate change, cocoa, cotton, fish, palm oil and timber were detailed in the article.
Did you know that all the cocoa in Co-op brand products will be Fairtrade by 27th May?
Did you know that only 2% of Morrisons fish is MSC-labelled compared to 72% at Sainsbury’s?
As their findings are pretty disheartening Ethical Consumer goes on to explain what the alternatives are. Shopping at a wholefood shops, farmers markets or ordering veg boxes.
If we are to keep shopping at supermarkets, the next best thing to do is buy ethical products from their stores.
Here are some of my favourite products with an Ethical Consumer review:
- Baked beans – I count myself as abit of a baked bean conosoir. I just love em! Branston tend to be my go-to. And that is why I was gutted to find Branston only have a 4.5 rating. Geo Organics and Mr Organic were found to be the best with a score of 17/20! I will be giving these the taste test and let you know how it goes.
- Bananas – I eat a banana every day and always buy Fairtrade. Ethical Consumer’s ‘best buy’ is to go to supermarkets that only sell Fairtrade (Co-op, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s). For non-supermarket bananas Eko Oke is the best as they are Fairtrade and Organic, however I don’t think I have ever seen one of these in an independent shop. Below is a ‘banana split’ showing where the sale of a non-Fairtrade banana is distributed, shockingly workers only receive 7% of the bananas cost. For me, the best advice is to carry on buying Fairtrade.
- Coconut oil – I use coconut oil for all sorts. Not just for cooking but for my nails, face, hair and teeth. The brand I use is Lucy Bee’s (scoring 18/20). Sourced from Sri Lanka the oil is unrefined, extra virgin, Fair Trade, organic and raw. And personally, I love it.
I hope this has helped in some way. If you have any suggestions on how to do an ethical food shop, please comment! x