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This is how you can change the food industry whilst shopping

With every euro you spend, you can vote for a more sustainable, fair and equitable food system. Let's!


Do you know that feeling? You’re in the supermarket, desperately trying to figure out which product is the healthiest, fairest and most sustainable option. Yes? You’re not alone. After telling the story of game changing supermarket HISBE, we decided to turn the ethics this social enterprise lives by into 7 guidelines we can all use to make a difference whilst shopping. Enjoy!

#1 Avoid fake food

Nine out of ten times, ready-made food such as juices, sauces and cereal are high in sugar, saturated fats and unnatural preservatives. Plus; they come in heaps of unnecessary packaging. So next time you’re in the supermarket, prioritise natural goodies over processed ones and make your own granola, pesto or smoothie. The planet and your body will thank you later!

#2 Go local and seasonal

Buying local and seasonal food just make sense. It’s fresher, hasn’t had to travel far, and keeps your money in the local economy. Another big upside; you get to know the people behind your food, which makes doing your weekly shop a lot more fun and engaging. Curious to find out how far your usual shopping list has to travel? Check out this Food Miles Calculator. And this calendar will tell you exactly which produce are in season when.

Local and seasonal shopping at a farmers market

#3 Eat more veggies

You probably already knew that a plant-based diet is better for the planet than one full of animal-products. But did you know that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions? That’s the equivalent to the emissions of every car, train, ship and aircraft on the planet. In addition, for every kilo of beef, a shocking 15.000 litres of water is necessary. Here you can read more about these mind-blowing facts. Ready to eat (more) plant-based meals? Check out Jamie Oliver’s favourite vegan recipes. Also, this cookbook is a big help.

#4 Support organic and regenerative farming

With an estimated 60 harvests left before our soils are too barren to feed the planet, our agricultural lands are heading for exhaustion and depletion. Luckily, there is a solution; organic and regenerative farming. So let’s support the farmers who work together with nature (instead of against it) by buying their produce. Here are lists of organic stores in London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and Lisbon. And of course, paying your local farmers market a visit is always a grand idea.

organic produce

#5 Ditch packaging

How great would it be not to end up with a mountain of packaging after you’ve stocked up for the week? With the right preparation and a little perseverance, it’s possible. Next time you’re heading for the supermarket, make sure to bring: 1-3 big canvas bags (depending on how much you’re getting), about twice as many smaller bags for your fruit and vegetables and a couple of reusable containers, glass jars and bottles. Oh, and don’t forget to head for a store that enables you to fill up all of these things yourself! Here is a selection of package free stores from around the globe and this map points out the nicest zero waste stores in the Netherlands and Belgium.

zero waste jars

#6 Choose fair and ethical

Whether it comes down to coffee, tea and chocolate or eggs, honey and yoghurt; if you want to make a difference whilst shopping, try to go for the most ethical and fair option available. Because improving the current food system isn’t just about sustainability. It’s also about making sure that all the people and animals who were involved in making the product got treated in a fair and just way. Together we can buck exploitation. Let’s!

#7 Buy the change

Where you shop is as important as what you buy. Many supermarkets like HISBE are trying to change the food industry by offering an alternative. But if we won’t buy our groceries at these purpose-driven businesses, they won’t survive. So instead of going to the biggest or closest supermarket, head for a social enterprise, zero waste store, organic supermarket or local farmers market. It’ll make a difference!

Want to help us spread the positive food vibes? Please share this article with your family and friends. Together we can build a fair, sustainable and equitable food system!