The Case for Sustainability.
Many smaller and independent food stores promote local food and rightly so, and the expression 'farm to fork' is becoming more widely known and used.
The question we are asking ourselves often is how does this relate to our business?
On the one hand, we can't literally be next door to everyone in the UK - if we took that approach we wouldn't have a business. On the other hand, our spices and herbs are sourced from all over the world, so the (relatively) few miles traveled from us in East Sussex to any part of the UK is not really significant. This is the conundrum with the so-called 'food miles'.
Peter Allen writing for BBC Good Food makes a balanced case on this subject here https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/facts-about-food-miles
The Whole Picture
The issue of food sustainability is a very complex one, The University of Sheffield gives an interesting overview on sustainability here https://digitalmedia.sheffield.ac.uk/id/1_sm14imv8
The key takeaway for us is that any efforts to improve the environmental impact of food sourcing must be financially viable, otherwise it simply wont stick.
Dried herbs and ground spices can be transported in large bulk and have a long shelf-life. This drastically reduces the carbon footprint of the shipping of these products - over against fragile or short-date fresh goods which must be air-freighted. The risk of product wastage due to reaching BBE date before sale is much less likely than with fresh ingredients, reducing the likelihood of product going to landfill.
For many of our products, we simply can't grow them in the UK - we don't have the climate for it. There is also an argument that the livelihood of the farmers in the producing countries is also important. There are sterling efforts being made by many organisations in the UK and EU to ensure that the benefits of research and best practice are being put back into these communities to help them produce more efficiently and sustainably.
Packaging & Distribution
We can do our bit by ensuring that our packaging is recyclable (which it is) . Although the tendency now is to buy & sell online, this is not always such a great deal environmentally.
We support local, independent stores and we support the farmers who supply (and often own) them. This is a great way to shorten the journey from "farm to fork" and at the same time create local employment in more rural areas, which in turn creates more sustainable communities. Sustainability must make economic sense to appeal to the wider market, and this is when we can make a difference on a large scale.
We believe that by embracing UK artisan producers and increasing the range available at your farm shop or store, you are helping to develop and promote a more sustainable approach to food.