Sustainable Food & Beverage Companies
– Our Buy Ensemble Picks –
We all share a need for nourishing, nutrient-dense food. These days, there’s more to ethical food than just organic vs. nonorganic. Animal welfare, certifications, and waste stand out as critical factors impacting the health of our shared planet, communities, and bodies, all through sustainable food.
Animal Welfare: The production of meat, seafood, and dairy is one of the most controversial topics in the food supply industry. Agriculture is one of the top contributors to climate change, largely due to ongoing deforestation occurring to make room for cattle, and the carbon emissions associated with animal husbandry. In short, the carbon footprint from raising animals for consumption is a pretty big deal. Not only are our natural resources being threatened, but animals are often raised in poor conditions that negatively affect their health and well-being.
Production: We’ve been conditioned to believe that cheap is better, especially when it comes to staples like coffee beans or bananas. Unfortunately, the costs avoided at purchase are incurred elsewhere in the supply chain. Some of the worst social inequities exist in the food production industry, where corporate accountability is low.
Certification initiatives seek to remedy these inequities by increasing the minimum price of goods to ensure workers have fair wages and access to vital services that uplift their communities.
Other labels like USDA Organic, Fair Trade, Regenerative Organic Certified, and B Corp Certified signify the highest level of commitment to environmental stewardship and prioritization of biodiversity, healthy ecosystems, and sustainable development. When you purchase items with these labels (particularly Regenerative Organic consumables), you know that all stakeholders and factors of production, including workers, land, and animals, were treated fairly and with care.
Packaging and Waste: Food waste and packaging account for nearly 45% of the total waste in U.S. landfills. Most plastic packaging for our food isn’t recyclable or compostable, often ending up in the ocean and even affecting human health. To address this issue, more and more brands are adopting more eco-conscious packaging materials.
Roughly half of the food we buy is thrown in the garbage. Whether it’s leftovers or scraps, food waste is a serious issue. Decomposing food in landfills releases methane, one of the most harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To combat this level of waste and the resultant emissions, some brands are upcycling food by making nutritious snacks.
These brands are normalizing sustainably sourced pantry staples and guilty pleasures alike, through positive change and ethical choices that make the planet a healthier place for all of us.
Our Buy Ensemble Picks: Sustainable Food and Beverage Companies
Thrive Market is like Whole Foods, but with Costco prices. This monthly subscription gives you access to fully vetted organic, fair-trade, and healthy food brands, no matter your diet.
Thrive gives one membership to a teacher, first responder, or student for each membership purchased. If, after a year, you recoup your membership fee in savings, they credit it back to you!
Butcher Box offers monthly subscription plans for all your meat & seafood needs.
They use ethical sourcing practices to select humanely raised meats, from 100% grass-fed beef to free-range chicken and wild-caught seafood. None of the meat you receive has been treated with hormones or antibiotics, so you know you’re getting a high-quality product that’s better for your body and the planet.
Chobani is an instantly recognizable yogurt company that also offers an array of coffee creamers, plant-based products, and even cold brew.
We love them because their operations are based on the following six better-for-the-world pillars: environmental stewardship, animal care, worker well-being, local sourcing, economic opportunity, and dairy farm support.
Barnana was founded to eliminate food waste on banana farms in Latin America.
Since 2012, Barnana has upcycled more than 100 million bananas deemed “imperfect” by banana farms. These bananas have been upcycled to become healthy, satisfying, and sustainable snacks instead of being used for compost. The company is a proud B Corporation and a big supporter of sustainable agriculture.
Rooted in the ancient practice of Ayurveda, Yogi Tea curates ethically sourced tea blends that give back to local and global communities at each step of the process.
Yogi offers a selection of non-GMO, USDA Organic, certified Kosher, and Gluten-free teas for immune, digestive, sleep, and stress support, and more. Each brew is made with whole spices and botanicals, so you get nothing but pure infusions to sip and enjoy.
Guayakí is bringing the ancient South American beverage of Mate to the masses.
With the kick of caffeine and the health benefits of tea, Mate is a drink enjoyed by many worldwide. Guayakí focuses on social and environmental impact through their Market Driven Regeneration™ approach that aims to regenerate ecosystems and create vibrant communities.
King Arthur was founded in 1790 as the first food company in New England, creating all the essentials to spread joy through baking.
As a founding B Corp and 1% For the Planet Member, King Arthur is dedicated to social good and environmental sustainability. It is also 100% employee-owned and committed to making the world a better place through business.
Tillamook is a farmer-owned co-op that makes delicious and ethically sourced dairy products, from blocks of cheddar to flavored yogurt, ice cream, and butter.
They are a Certified B Corporation and operate under six commitments that guide them and keep them true to their values of equity, stewardship, animal welfare, community and environmental sustainability.
Cabot is the first dairy operation to become a B Corporation, making decadent dairy products from specialty cheeses and dips to yogurts and butter.
Cabot is owned by 800 farms throughout New York and New England. It is an exceptionally transparent company, striving to meet rigorous social and environmental performance standards while being an ethical employer.
For more than three generations, the Ward family has been cultivating free-range organic eggs from small farms. Each egg product they sell is not only free-range and organic, but certified humane, ensuring the welfare of their hens.
The company is also a Certified B Corp, proving its dedication to sustainability and executing its mission to restore small family farms to the North American landscape.
Purely Elizabeth is a natural foods company founded by a holistic nutritionist, providing everything you need to nourish your body on the go.
This certified B Corp dishes up all the essentials for a healthy, organic, non-GMO breakfast, from granola, bars, and oatmeal to pancake and muffin mix. All Jam-packed with ingredients like MCT Oil, Reishi, and Probiotics.
“Eat brownies, change lives” is the slogan of this NY-based B Corp bakery and social enterprise.
Greyston makes the brownies you might find in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, without using preservatives and artificial ingredients. Additionally, all profits go to its foundation, which builds stronger communities in Yonkers, New York, through job placement and economic development.
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Sustainable Food Industry FAQs
What Food Brands are Sustainable? What Makes a Food or Beverage Brand Sustainable Anyways?
Food products and brands are considered sustainable when they address one or all of these areas: animal welfare, production, and waste. Some of these categories hold more weight than others, but we fully support brands that are doing better for the world through business. Whether they’re removing plastic from their supply chains, sourcing goods from organic farms, investing in renewable energy, or giving back to social and environmental causes, we’re excited to see food brands getting behind sustainability in their own way and making the food system regenerative.
Where Should I Shop For Groceries?
In-person local shopping is the best way to keep your local growers in business and support the community. Check out farmers’ markets or co-ops in your town to find an array of ethically made goods.
How Can I Prevent Food Waste?
Try planning your weekly meals before heading to the store, or prep and freeze vegetables if you can’t use them within their window of freshness. Try composting (even in your apartment) to help nourish the planet with your food scraps. Alternatively, freeze those scraps to make a veggie stock!
If you find yourself with too much food, a quick Google search can tell you if there’s a local community fridge or food pantry where you can donate your extra food.
How Can I Support Ethical Food Production?
When you’re shopping, look for certifications that prioritize employee well-being, like Fair Trade and Regenerative Organic. Although nothing is perfect, these labels set a higher standard for farmers and workers across supply chains.
How Can I Avoid Packaging Waste?
While you’re shopping, check out the product you’re buying to see if the packaging is compostable or recyclable. Even paper egg cartons can be composted! You can also start collecting plastic bags and other plastic packaging with the recycling symbol that can’t be placed in your curbside bin. Take these bags to Target or your local grocery store for reuse.
Lastly, shop “naked” by bringing your bags to the grocery store or shopping at the farmers’ market! Doing this reduces produce-bag waste. Try out the bulk section using personal jars to reduce your impact even more, and continue your journey to zero waste!