Top 5 most ethical supermarkets

Below are my top 5 most ethical supermarkets and online food companies. From organic-only supermarkets to supermarkets that help in the community.



Waitrose is a member of the John Lewis partnership and as such, it is owned by its employees(called partners). The majority of any profits are paid out in bonuses to these partners, which results in great customer service as the employees have a sense of ownership.

Environmentally they are working very hard at reducing plastic waste. See the below extract from their website.

‘Making sure our packaging works and is fit for purpose is just part of my job. The other part is ensuring we meet our targets for making it as environmentally friendly as we can. We’ve pledged that by 2023, all own-label packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable, so we’re working with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers, looking at alternatives to plastics,’ says Karen Graley, Partner and packaging manager.

In addition, they’ve launched the Plan Plastic Fund with £1 million in grants available to projects aimed at reducing plastic waste.

Waitrose is also very big with regards to the environment and sustainability. They have a targeted plan to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050. you can see the timeline of what they are doing to get there here. They also aim to source all off their products such as Soya, palm oil, fish and cotton amongst others. In fact, they publish an annual corporate responsibility report, which is accessible here.

top 5 most ethical supermarkets


Planet Organic

Planet Organic is a small chain of London based stores that sell exclusively organic products. However, despite being London based they offer shipping to many parts of the UK. As a completely organic store, bar wild-caught game and sustainably sourced wild fish which are unable to be certified, they can sell loose packaged products that you can be 100% confident is organic as there is no risk of cross-contamination. They also aim to be as natural as possible below is a statement from their website on this.

No to processed foods, no to hydrogenated fats and a big, fat no to GM.
We do not only sell organic packaged foods, although there are minimum product standards that apply to every single product that we sell.  We have never sold anything that contained artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours, flavours or anything else.  Likewise we have never sold foods filled with hydrogenated fats, and we have always said a big NO to GMO.  We continue to avoid all GM crops, as well as all meat from animals that have been fed GMO.

They are also trying to be as environmentally responsible as possible as you can read below.

It’s not always easy being green.  We were disappointed in the late Nineties that our cargo bike delivery service didn’t take off.  We have struggled so many times to donate food waste to London shelters, and we deal with different recycling restrictions in each of the London Boroughs that we have stores in.  However, over the years there have been some marvellous successes.

We said goodbye to plastic bags years ago, and use fully recycled paper bags for all your grocery shopping.  We use food containers made from bagasse, a sugar cane waste material in our café’s, and to be honest got a bit too excited when we found the first compostable take-away coffee cup lid. It’s the little things…

And it’s not just what we do.  Encouraging our suppliers to move towards re-usable delivery boxes saves around 10 bales of compressed cardboard a day, while our sales of Life Water, a drop for drop not-for profit organisation, have so far provided clean-drinking water to 1200 people as part of the Gopavaram Community Well Project in Andra Pradesh.



Wholefoods, like Planet Organic is a chain of London based shops. Unlike Planet Organic it is part of a much larger USA chain, which has recently been bought by Amazon. They have high standards and try to minimize packaging and sourced as sustainably as possible. They are very good with animal welfare standards and sustainable fishing. Additionally, they support lots of up and coming artisan brands. For a comprehensive list of all the standards, they adhere to click here. You can’t order directly online with them, but you can order their products via Amazon Fresh.




Ocado is the biggest online-only supermarket in the UK. They provide a vast array of over 60,000 products including many organic and vegan options. As they are online-only it avoids a lot of waste. The following extract is from their corporate site.

In 2018 just 0.029% of food as a percentage of total sales was wasted. We’re committed to ensuring no food goes into landfill; inedible food is sent to anaerobic digestion, and edible food is redistributed. We redistributed 1,721 tonnes of food surplus in FY18, with over 90 tonnes of fresh and ambient food surplus donated to food banks and charities through our Donate Food with Ocado scheme. Since the scheme launched in December 2014, we’ve donated over 180 tonnes of food, demonstrating our commitment to strengthening food partnerships in the past 12 months. We contributed a total of £18,000 to support the Courtauld 2025 Commitment, a voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system – from producer to consumer – to strive for more sustainable food and drink consumption.

One of the unfortunate things is that they use plastic carrier bags in their delivery system. However as you can see fom the extract below they do this a sustainably as possible.

Our customers’ shopping makes its journey to homes across the UK in crates, each lined with three single-use carrier bags. Crates move around our automated, temperature-controlled Customer Fulfillment Centres, with items added along the way.

Carrier bags segregate and protect goods from damage during the picking process. They allow us to separate potentially hazardous products from edible ones, complying with UK and EU legislation. They also allow our Customer Service Team Members to safely carry groceries into our customers’ homes.

Carrier bags are currently an integral part of our operation. We continue to research and trial alternative bag materials and containers, although none so far have proven to be as efficient or as cost-effective. With this in mind, we have launched several initiatives to combat plastic bag littering and unnecessary waste.

Recycling programme Since 2007, when delivering shopping our Customer Service Team Members have been asking customers to hand back used carrier bags to be recycled into new Ocado bags. This includes carrier bags from other retailers, which is one of the reasons why our carrier bags are grey. The muted colour means we don’t have to bleach the raw plastic. 87% of bags are returned for recycling.

Our recycling programme is carried out here in the UK, rather than China, where the bulk of plastics are currently recycled. We are satisfied that this keeps “supply chain miles” and carbon emissions to a minimum.

As you can see they are trying their best to minimise waste and they do eliminate a lot of this by not having large power-hungry physical stores where food is wasted at a local level.


The Co-Op is a member-owned company. It costs £1 to join and that gives you an equal vote with other members on how it’s run. They do a lot of work in local communities 1% of purchases of Co-Op branded product is spent on local causes. In the last year, this amounted to £17million. As well as their charitable donations they are also trying to be as sustainable and ethical as possible.

They’re changing the way their products are packaged replacing plastic and polystyrene with cardboard and foil. They’re also rolling out compostable carrier bags.

They give food about to go out of date to local charities as per their policy below.

None of us can afford to throw away good food. That’s why our stores give products that are going out of date to local community groups at the end of each day to prevent food waste, so far we’ve given away over 3m meals and counting.


In addition to the top 5 most ethical supermarkets listed above below are two more food delivery options that might be of interest.

Approved Food

Approved Food, is slightly different to the other companies here. It’s a clearance house of near or just past best before items that would otherwise end up in landfill. You can buy big name brands at extremely low prices, with the knowledge that those products have been saved from landfill. As these are surplus products, availability changes on a daily basis.

Food Box companies

If you’re just after food for a special event or dinner please have a look at an earlier article detailing the most ethical food box companies. You can find the article here.

I appreciate any feedback and would like to know who makes your list of the top 5 most ethical supermarkets.

Top 5 most ethical recipe boxes delivered to your door.

Top 5 most ethical recipe boxes.

Getting food delivered directly to your door is a growing trend. It used to be home deliveries of supermarket staples from the likes of Ocado and Tesco. However more recently there has been a growing trend for the delivery of high quality, single meal boxes from the likes of Hellofresh and Boxfresh. Now countless others have joined the throng, but how ecofriendly are these boxes? There’s a reasonably large carbon footprint to send single meals by courier and some boxes come with lots of individually plastic-wrapped ingredients. However, I believe there are some good ones out there.

Top 5 ethical recipe boxes


Below are my top 5 most ethical recipe boxes.

Riverford provides a wide variety of meals from vegan and vegetarian to meals with ethically sourced line-caught fish. their own ethical statement is “To give a fair deal to farmers, customers, staff and the environment”. The majority of their produce is homegrown in the UK. However, as they point out it can be more environmentally friendly to use trucked in Spanish tomatoes than UK tomatoes that have to be grown under glass with heat and lamps. They are always mindful of the environmental impact. Their packaging policy is to be as environmentally friendly as well. Their main boxes are designed to be used up to 10 times and customers are asked to return it to the company with their next delivery. the rest of the packaging is designed to be as recyclable as possible.

Abel and Cole have been providing Fruit and Veg boxes for over 30 years. More recently they have branched out into recipe boxes. The good points are that 100% of ingredients used are either organic or wild. The majority of packaging is locally recyclable, however, if your local council doesn’t accept certain packaging for recycling you can return it with your next delivery and the Abel and Cole team will recycle for you. One issue that vegans might have is that they use a wool product to insulate and regulate the temperature within the boxes.

Mindful chef, established in 2015 is very similar in its ethical stance as the first two companies with regards, to organic, natural food and it’s welfare standards. Mindful Chefs packaging policy is also very similar. Where it does stand out is in it’s “One feeds two” program. With this program, they provide one free school meal to some of the poorest children in the world. So by buying a recipe box from Mindful Chef, you are also, in essence, making a charity donation.

Fish for Thought does what it says on the tin. It delivers ethically sourced fresh fish directly to your door. They are the only Online Seafood business with Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC). They also have fully recyclable packaging and support various sustainability programs.

Little Cooks Co is a recipe box company that specializes in kits to help get children cooking and eating organic, healthy, nutritional food. The kits are aimed at children from 3 to 10 years old. They don’t include refined flours or sugars in the kits and the packaging is 100% recyclable. However perhaps the most ethical part of the company is its support of magic breakfast, this charity provides breakfast to some of the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable children. For each kit sold Little Cooks will provide breakfast for one child.

As you can see amongst the plethora and evergrowing companies that supply recipe boxes and food direct to your home there are some gems that are trying to do this in an ethical way. You have seen my top 5 most ethical recipe boxes and I would appreciate any I might have missed in the comment section.


Ethical department store; Natural Collection

Natural collection is an online ethical department store. They operate in a wide variety of categories from fashion and homewares to beauty and groceries.

ethical department store

All brands and products at this ethical department store have been vetted and must operate in one or more of the following segments.

• Fair Trade
• Organic
• Eco Friendly
• Health and Wellness promotion
• Education and awareness building
• Locally Produced
• Charity

It is possible to search by the ethics that are dearest to your heart at this page You can choose from a range including animal welfare, fair trade, eco friendly, etc.

With such a wide range of categories and depth of products you will struggle not to find the product you are after.

To visit this ethical department store go to





Nuud: the vegan friendly, eco-friendly alternative to deodorant.

Some studies suggest traditional spray deodorants and even roll on deodorants can be harmful to your health. Nuud aims to provide a healthy alternative.

Experts have warned that over-using spray deodorants can lead to the inhalation of chemicals from the aerosols. These chemical can cause allergic skin reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties. In extreme cases the overuse of spray deodorant can even cause death as the gasses in the can can attack the lungs.

There are also other, unsubstantiated rumours I have to admit, that toxins in traditional deodorants can cause diseases such as cancer. I don’t think there’s any clear evidence of this. However wouldn’t you feel better using Nuud a deodorant that doesn’t use aluminium, parabens, artificial fragrances alcohol or vague chemicals.


Environmental impact of traditional deodorants

An abstract from the NY times  suggests that deodorants and other perfume based cosmetics are causing as much pollution as cars and trucks. according to a study published in the journal Science.

This is another reason for using an environmentally friendly product such as Nuud. Not only does it not contain any harmful chemicals, it is sustainably produced and comes in a sugar cane tube and biodegradable cardboard box. They also claim to have CO2 neutral distribution.

Vegan and cruelty free

On top of the environmental benefits Nuud is also vegan friendly and has not been tested on animals.

All in all I think Nuud is definitely worth checking out. You can find them here


MyVegan; Vegan plant based nutrition products

My Vegan is a UK based company that provides vegan, plant based nutrition products.

They have a large range of products available from protein powders to supplements and snacks. As they have their own production facilities they can be confident of the make up of their products and can ensure the highest quality in plant based nutrition products.

my vegan plant based nutrition


They are certified to Organic standard by the soil association, as well as having accreditation from the Vegan Society and the Vegetarian Society. As such you can be confident that you are getting excellent vegan plant based nutrition products and supplements.


You can buy My Vegan products from their own website or on Amazon.




The Organic Natural Paint Company

The Organic Natural Paint Company is a supplier of natural and organic paints.

organic natural paint company

Apart from being better for the environment than the majority of chemically created paints, natural and organic paints also have other benefits. There is a health benefit to using natural non-toxic paints as opposed to chemically created mass market paints.


In addition to organic and natural paints the company also has a range of vegan paints that allow vegans to paint their homes without compromising their vegan values.

In conclusion this company can provide you paint that not only is better for the environment, but also provides better air quality within your home. They believe that this can aid people who have breathing issues like asthma as it reduces the leaching of chemicals into the air.

So if you’re thinking of embarking on a painting project be it walls, ceilings or wooden furniture and fixings it is definitely worth checking out The Organic Natural Paint Company   to see if they have the paint that you need.

Vegetarian Shoes; footwear that is vegan friendly

Do shoes and boots have to be made out of leather to be durable and stylish? Vegetarian Shoes beg to differ they have an extensive range of footwear. Encompassing sandals, trainers, shoes, boots and more Vegetarian Shoes are both cruelty free and vegan.

vegetarian shoes

Although called Vegetarian Shoes the companies products are in fact vegan friendly. The reason they are not called Vegan Shoes is that 28 years ago, when the company was established, vegan wasn’t in the mainstream and the market understood the concept of Vegetarian Shoes much better.

To view their extensive range you can visit their site at Vegetarian Shoes.