What is sustainable eating? How do we begin to tackle the issues around our everyday eating habits and how our choices impact the planet? Well, there is no right, quick answer. However, there are some things you can do to help and that begins with your shopping list.
Sustainable, organic eating has no set definition but it does have a few factors which many agree upon: farming, production and energy.
Farming practices which protect the biodiversity and is beneficial for plants, animals alike is typically considered an important aspect of sustainability in produce as it promotes future food production. During the production process, retailers and producers will try to minimise single-use plastic or avoid plastic altogether with glass or compostable containers. The energy consumed is another factor for sustainable food consumption. The transportation alone between farms and shops mean everything must be local to each other in order to reduce carbon emissions, as well as the type of energy used to create the product.
Thankfully, there are retailers across Scotland who stock organic, Fairtrade and sustainable products from locals, which push sustainable packaging and offer the best in value, quality and taste for those looking for more sustainable food.
Here we have a sample of shops and local businesses which offer sustainable food and drink products across Edinburgh and Glasgow!
The Eco Larder
With a very easy system of how to weigh and pay explained on the website, this eco-friendly store has everything you are looking for in your own grocery store, from loose tea leaves to mango chutney to dried fruit. With sustainable packaging a forefront, as evidence with shampoo bars, they are able to provide different options for people looking to try a more sustainable lifestyle. Be sure to grab some best sellers of vegan chocolate buttons!
With two locations and a third on the way, the Refillery is proving to be popular as everyone aims to shop more sustainably. The title is a perfect self-explanation of how the store works: bring along your own jars, big plastic bottles, containers and refill them with anything from lentils to olive oil. Many of their products have the advantage of being ethically sourced with zero plastic, so enjoy browsing the shelves as you shop sustinably.
Zero Waste Hub
A one stop shop for all sorts of sustainable living needs, their Food Sharing Hub is most impressive. As Scotland’s first rescued food shop, you can simply go along, take what you need and pay as you feel. There is always a wide variety of stock items which differ because they acquire the food through the surplus of supermarkets. This fantastic hub was created with the intention to limit food wastage, which is sustainability at its finest.
Opened by husband and wife in 2015, Rosevear Tea stocks high-quality loose tea leaves in an abundance of flavours for tea lovers of Edinburgh. They also have a refill policy which came into place shortly after they opened; this reduces plastic and production of materials which also uses less energy in production of materials. Overall, they help keep a low environmental impact while creating a delectable array of tea leaves.
The Real Foods
With two locations across Edinburgh, Real Foods has continued to grow over the last 50 years and is one of Scotland’s largest retailers of organic and Fairtrade foods. With an abundant variety of cereals, dried fruit, seeds and baking products like cinnamon you can get them as a refillable product which in turn reduces waste packaging. This is the first place to try for those looking at living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Locavore is a Glasgow initiative aimed at tackling issues within the food system which have high impacts on the planet. Their big suppliers and big brand names all take back plastic used in order to be recycled within their facilities, and they reduce packaging across the board with ‘fill your own’ loose goods. (They also have a milk vending machine where you can top off glass milk bottles.) Another way they are tackling the system is with their kitchen where they utilise leftover or excess products from the store in their tasty dishes which reduces food waste across the board.
Promoting a plastic free living space, Society Zero also offers lifestyle products along with organic fruit and vegetable boxes. With packaging guaranteed to recyclable, reusable or compostable and utilising the best of seasonal produce, you can be sure you are buying sustainably and thus helping reduce the impact on the planet one bit at a time. They have a big initiative into helping the community and reducing wastage at every point they can.
Roots and Fruits
Roots and Fruits started in the West End of Glasgow in 1980 and continued to flourish, promoting environmentally conscious food with locally sourced products. They started by supplying fruit and vegetable to locals in the area and have since grown, adding in a wholefoods and organics store which also supplies restaurants with its high-quality ingredients. A beloved and community staple for organic and sustainable foods, be sure to check out Roots and Fruits if you are in Glasgow.
A local and friendly store in your neighbourhood which helps people to live more sustainably by offering a refill and low impact life store. They offer a variety of products from independent brands who strive to reduce wastage and be more environmentally conscious which starts with compostable packaging. They offer a wide variety of refill products including cacao nibs, flour and grains so you can begin your own journey of sustainability.
Sustainable eating comes from knowing how to buy sustainably or environmentally conscious products. Businesses have come together to work with local communities and the people within who thrive on having a strong local economy with local producers at the heart of everything they do. Brands who recognise the importance of reducing waste, using green energy are the stepping stones that we hope everyone will soon follow.
Know of another business within Glasgow or Edinburgh who is also a sustainable shopping location? Let us know and tag @tastemagscotland with your business.