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From compostable coffee pods and powerhouse plant-based solutions, to zero-waste apps reshaping the industry, here are the food and drink heroes helping us to tackle climate crisis from our kitchen tables
The question of what we should and shouldn’t eat to help combat climate change has never been more important – nor so confusing.
Don’t eat meat. Avoid dairy. Actually, some meat is OK, but not red meat. In fact, cheese is worse than chicken. Just go vegan. No, just eat more plants. But don’t leave any food waste…. with such mixed messaging – and so many different options on offer – it’s hard to make the right decisions when we shop.
Thankfully, these food and drink companies have shown they’re committed to putting the planet first – and are reshaping how we grow, process, package and transport food to ensure that the industry contributes positively to climate change. So, without further ado, here are the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2022 Food and Drink winners…
Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2022 Food and Drink winners
Best sustainable-packaging innovation
Winner: Halō Coffee
Halō Coffee knows that a better coffee experience doesn’t need to cost the earth. Focusing on taste and sustainability, Halō created the world’s first bio-plastic-free, fully compostable coffee pods and beans. This ensures that the entire product is home-compostable, meaning you can indulge and dispose of the boxed packaging in your home compost, then watch it disappear in as little as 28 days.
“This, in my opinion, is innovation at its finest – spinning on its head what we already know to be sustainable and changing the status quo to make a product that’s truly planet-friendly. Being able to enjoy a product and then fully dispose of it in your own home could – cost permitting – be the future,” says Sustainability Awards judge and MC’s health, sustainability & relationships editor, Ally Head.
Highly commended: Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka
Best sustainable food brand
Founded as a response to the fact that, for the future health of our planet, humans must dramatically reduce their reliance on animal products, allplants is on a mission to inspire everyone to eat greener.
As one of the earliest brands to become a B Corp back in 2018, allplants recently improved its accreditation from “Good” to “Outstanding”, putting the brand in the top 0.1% of all UK-based food companies for sustainability.
Between 2016 and 2021, it also served 4 million plant-based meals – saving 15,000 tonnes of CO2 (the equivalent of preventing 180 million plastic bottles being made), 10 billion litres of water, and 18,000 acres of land (equivalent to 10,000 football pitches), and is committed to reducing food waste, too.
“This is an amazing example of a brand and business making sustainability a totally mainstream product,” says Sustainability Awards judge and founder of Good Business, Giles Gibbons.
Highly commended: Sharpham Park
Best for carbon footprint
Winner: Minor Figures
Recently B Corp-certified, Minor Figures was the first 100% plant-based-milk company to go carbon neutral in 2018 – and its sustainability efforts extend well beyond carbon offsets. Using 100% renewable energy for the UK office and manufacturing, the company has reduced its shipping emissions to Australia by 27% since it started producing its Oat M*lk locally in 2021. The label has also entered the zero-waste space with Oat M*lk refill dispensers (aka Bag in Box), which are popping up in local package-free stores all over the UK.
“Minor Figures and its sustainability mission is certainly worthy of a Marie Claire award,” says Marie Claire UK features editor and Sustainability Awards judge, Jenny Proudfoot. “From becoming the first plant-based-milk company to go carbon-neutral, to its work supporting projects with biodiversity and social equity co-benefits, this brand is leading the way in sustainability. This is especially true in terms of its carbon footprint, with Minor Figures identifying the best way it can have an impact – restoring land and planting trees, and making that a priority in its development. I was particularly impressed with how much the company is guided by its followers, with customers choosing which projects the company should invest its carbon credits into.”
Best ethical drinks brand
Winner: Karma Drinks
This small company has a big mission: to make the most ethical soft drinks in the world. Good to the planet, good for the people who grow the ingredients, and as good for you as a fizzy drink can be.
“Karma Drinks is truly a brand built on strong ethical values. They offer several programmes that help to protect nature and improve the lives of the people that grow the ingredients; they also go beyond the average and see it as their responsibility to do things differently. When looking at their website, there is one main message: Karma Drinks is here to change the way we produce and consume, and that is reshaping business values – it is an inspirational way of doing business for sure,” says Stephanie de Heer, our Sustainability Awards judge and Rainforest Alliance’s senior director of marketing & communications.
Highly commended: Journey’s End Vineyards
Best ethical food brand
Winner: The Ethical Butcher
Dispelling some of the myths around the impact of meat production on our planet, The Ethical Butcher sources meat from forward-thinking farmers who are using practices that actively regenerate biodiversity and soil fertility – showing that meat production can be a restorative, climate-positive force for good.
“For people that want to keep eating animal-based products, then this is the way to go. Farm the land as it used to be, sequester carbon and let animals eat what they were meant to. Sustainability-wise, this comes high on the list,” says our judge, and plant-based chef and owner of Bettina’s Kitchen, Bettina Campolucci Bordi.
Best vegan brand
Winner: Minor Figures
Double-award winner Minor Figures not only wins the ‘Best for carbon-footprint’ category, but also ‘Best vegan brand’. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, Minor Figures is the sum of everyone who makes it up – in fact, the company initially decided to become a vegan brand because its head product guy, James, went vegan, and it either had to follow suit or risk losing its top taste-tester. Campolucci Bordi says: “Great company; great ethos; I especially love their big milk machines in the zero-waste shops.”
Best zero-waste brand
Winner: Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go is a free-to-download app fighting food waste. The B Corp-certified company connects people with surplus food from restaurants, cafes, bakeries and grocery retailers, so that their delicious leftover food can be bought at a reduced price and not thrown away.
In the UK, the app works with more than 20,000 partner food businesses offering surplus food, including major brands like Greggs, Greene King, Morrisons, LEON, Pret A Manger and Starbucks, alongside beloved independent establishments, such as Planet Organic, Bread Ahead Bakery, Ottolenghi, and many more.
“Helping to fight food waste on a global scale, Too Good To Go has done an amazing job at normalising buying leftover produce from restaurants, supermarkets, and so on, at a reduced price,” says Head. “They promote zero-waste living every day by selling food to their community of 55 million customers. But they’re doing more than that, too – certifying as a B Corp in 2019, they’ve developed food-bank partnerships and even launched a global initiative to eradicate food waste thanks to date-label confusion.”
Highly commended: Gather
Best sustainable snack brand
A plant-based chocolate bar, nucao from the nu+ company is made using only responsibly sourced, organic ingredients – and the brand is on a climate-positive mission too, committed to planting a tree for every bar sold or sampled.
Proving that climate-positive snacking is the way forward, the company has also developed plastic-free, biodegradable-foil packaging, which, when disposed of properly, can decompose in months – sparing tonnes of plastic over the years from ending up in our oceans.
“It’s great to see a brand with sustainability at its core, not only are they offsetting their daily carbon emissions via reforestation and carbon sequestration, planting nearly 11,000,000 mangrove trees since 2018, but have their sights set on a B Corp-certification soon, too,” says Head.
Best for eco-friendly kitchen tools and accessories
Winner: Wild & Stone
Wild & Stone’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to live more sustainably, creating easy-to-adopt, usable and stylish alternatives to commonly used plastics in our homes and lives.
Its sustainable, fun ‘Over the Rainbow’ Weaning Suction Plate was born from the challenges the team experienced when weaning their children; consciously made from sustainably harvested FSC-certified Moso bamboo, the suction design makes weaning baby- and parent-friendly.
“I was really impressed with Wild & Stone’s Weaning Suction Plate. After identifying the plate as a commonly used household plastic, the brand made it its mission to create a sustainable alternative, and the end result speaks for itself. Sustainability is clearly at the heart of everything Wild & Stone does and I am extremely excited to see what it does next,” says Proudfoot.
Best sustainable spirit brand
Winner: Canaïma Gin
Canaïma produces a small-batch craft Amazonian gin dedicated to protecting and preserving its environment and the local communities within it.
As part of its sustainability mission, Canaïma Gin donates 10% of its sales to NGOs and charities that protect the Amazon and its indigenous people, including Saving The Amazon and the Terra Viva Foundation.
Sustainability Awards judge and Decanter magazine editor Amy Wislocki says: “An impressive range of initiatives, which meet many of the 17 of the UN’s [Sustainable Development] Goals, Canaïma Gin is taking positive action on climate change, community growth, gender equality and also addressing poverty, among other things. Looking holistically at the whole process – from replanting trees to sourcing ingredients locally and donating to local charities – it’s a great exponent of joined-up thinking, and a force for positive change in a part of the world that has come to symbolise the urgent need for action.”
Highly commended: Cantium Gin
Best sustainable wine producer
Winner: Journey’s End Vineyards
Award-winning South African winery, Journey’s End, is committed to sustainable farming practices as well as environmental and ethical projects to help the local community. As the second wine farm in South Africa to convert to solar power in 2014, it is also certified by Fairtrade, Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA), and has recently become recognised as a WWF Conservation Champion, too.
In addition to this, Journey’s End founded its own NGO Foundation in 2020 to help tackle worsening hunger and poverty in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Foundation funds and provides more than 30,000 meals a week to those in need through a network of soup kitchens and has served more 1.7 million meals since its inception.
“Journey’s End has the complete package and has been a key, leading player for sustainability within the global wine world. Almost every element of sustainability has been covered from both a people (including ethical) and planet perspective. A hugely impressive operation and one that has deserved its recognition over the years,” says Alex Layton, head of marketing at Decanter and Sustainability Awards judge.
Highly commended: The Uncommon
Best sustainable non-alcoholic-drinks brand
Using wonky fruit and vegetables to naturally infuse water with a dash of flavour (also free from sugar, sweeteners and calories), DASH aims to combat the important environmental issue of food waste.
B Corp-accredited, DASH is one of the fastest-growing drinks brands in the UK. Its cans and bottles are made from recycled aluminium and glass, and each drink has a carbon label to help consumers understand the carbon impact of their purchase.
“Great to see a healthy, aspirational, sustainability soft drink going mainstream,” says judge Gibbons.
Highly commended: Minor Figures
Best sustainable tea brand
Winner: Pukka Herbs
From being Fair for Life-certified and donating 1% of everything it sells to environmental and social initiatives, to sourcing organic ingredients and becoming carbon-neutral in 2019, Pukka Herbs is serious about sustainability.
“Pukka Herbs has made sustainability a core part of the brand – it is not just a ‘nice to have’, but truly part of its DNA. It is B Corp-certified as well, which is a recognition of its efforts as a company. The way Pukka Herbs has managed to work through the supply chain, highlighting the different positive impacts along the way is impressive and inspirational,” says de Heer.
“They manage to zoom in on some of the most challenging issues we face in tea today and have presented, in a clear and concise way, how they are taking responsibility. I particularly like how they balanced showing what they are doing themselves, and how they are working with relevant partners and other organisations to jointly take responsibility. It shows they recognise that sustainability can only be achieved if we all work together. Pukka leads the way for many others.”
Highly commended: Twinings
Best sustainable subscription/food-delivery brand
Winner: Mindful Chef
Mindful Chef is the UK’s top-rated healthy recipe-box service. The aim? To make healthy eating easy.
A certified B Corp, all its ingredients are sustainably sourced and, for every meal sold, the company donates a school meal to a child living in poverty (the brand has already donated 12 million meals – the equivalent of feeding 60,000 children for a year).
In December 2021, it also became the first recipe-box company to put carbon labels on recipes, and as part of its mission to become net-zero by 2030, it joined forces with ClimatePartner – an independent, climate-action solutions provider – to enable customers to select recipes that are in line with the WWF’s target of reducing dietary-related emissions.
“An excellent business, bringing health and sustainability together,” says Gibbons.
Highly commended: Earth & Wheat
Best sustainable drinks-subscription brand
Winner: Draught Drop
Draught Drop is the UK’s first draught beer and wine-delivery service and aims to provide its customers with the best quality draught beer and sustainably sourced wines, for up to 80% less carbon emissions compared to single-use alternatives.
Draught Drop’s reusable bottle scheme works just like a milk float: customers receive two 1 litre bottles of fresh beer from its selection of 25 local partner breweries in reusable glass bottles. They can then enjoy three and a half pints and, when done, they simply leave their bottles on the doorstep to be swapped for a refill on their next order.
Annabel Thomas, founder of Nc’nean Distillery and MC Sustainability Awards judge, says: “Absolutely brilliant solution to packaging in the drinks industry – the first step to a truly circular economy. If only the whole world could work like this!”
Best sustainable food and drink retailer
Bother is out to change the way Britain shops, making it better for people and the planet. Its convenient service helps you keep on top of all the household essentials like pasta, loo roll, laundry powder and toiletries.
Net Zero Carbon-certified, Bother also plants trees for every order thanks to its partnership with Ecologi and the Million Tree Pledge (enough to offset everyone who works there).
“An innovative idea turning how we shop on its head, Bother is a B Corp on a mission to make stocking up on eco-friendly household essentials simpler for us and safer for the planet. The start-up is net-zero, carbon-certified and on its way to being carbon-negative, too,” says Head.
Best sustainable fast-food brand
Winner: The Vurger Co.
Fast-food company The Vurger Co. offers a 100% vegan menu, uses 100% compostable packaging (and waste from packaging is, arguably, one of the biggest issues within the fast-food industry) and works with partners to ensure a zero-to-landfill policy. Sourcing as much as possible from local suppliers, The Vurger Co. has been touted as the future of fast food – and, from what we can see, for good reason.
“I was completely blown away by Vurger’s commitment to the environment with its sustainable focus running through every part of the restaurant. The menu is 100% vegan with a strong focus on championing small and local brands, the packaging is 100% compostable, there are no plastic bottles on-site and a zero-to landfill policy. Going even further, they only use sustainable energy, actually powering their restaurants with the green energy made from their waste. This is the way forward. Pioneering brands like The Vurger Co. are what the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards are all about and I am so thrilled that they are being recognised,” says Proudfoot.
Best sustainable restaurant (independent)
Winner: Fallow Restaurant
Offering an environmentally conscious menu, complete with plant-based alternatives that deliver a ‘root-to-stem’ approach, Fallow Restaurant in London’s Mayfair presents creative, low-waste dishes that aim to support producers in a tangible way.
B Corp-certified, its Sapling Fund initiative has also seen more than 2,000 saplings planted in and around the UK, and offset more than 50,000 metric tonnes of future carbon.
“It’s all about the details at Fallow,” says Sunil Makan, Marie Claire editor and Sustainability Awards judge. “We have to applaud them for their innovative approach to giving surplus ingredients a complete makeover.”
Highly commended: The Buxton
Best sustainable restaurant (group)
Winner: Lussmanns Sustainable Kitchen
Lussmanns is founded on the fundamental belief that it’s possible to be ethical and profitable, while making sustainable dining accessible to everyone and consistently delivering great food, service and value.
As one of the only restaurant groups currently in the UK to be completely Marine Stewardship Council-friendly, Lussmans takes a holistic view of sustainability. Plus, in addition to ethical food provenance and green energy, the restaurant group recycles everything, and gives back to the community by supporting a range of national and local fundraising initiatives.
“Lussmans is clearly committed to its green mission, even rebranding as ‘Lussmanns Sustainable Kitchen’ last year. From its ethical food provenance and green energy to sustainable waste management and commitment to giving back to the community, this is truly a brand with a purpose,” adds Proudfoot.
Marie Claire UK has determined the award winners in accordance with the judging criteria and with the information provided by the entrants. All information provided by the winning brands is published in good faith.