Stocking a pantry can be challenging for anyone—but it's especially difficult if you’re committed to sourcing sustainable, ethical ingredients. How do you know that the products you're getting won't be damaging to the environment or to workers? It requires research—and it's not like you want to spend hours googling every brand at the supermarket while you're trying to shop efficiently and get home to put dinner on the table. That's why we did the work for you. We’ve rounded up everything you need to get dinner started (from spices to seafood), and still feel good about what you’re eating.
California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil
California Olive Ranch partners with sustainable olive farmers around the globe, and has helped family farmers throughout Northern California start growing their own olives sustainably. The brand follows a zero-waste production process, uses environmentally-friendly packaging, and has incorporated a drip irrigation system that cuts back on water use. Incidentally, they also won our taste test of the best olive oil for cooking, so sourcing sustainable oil won't mean you're skimping on flavor.
Dr. Bronner's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Prefer to cook with coconut oil? This stuff is Fair Trade Certified, and comes from Dr. Bronner’s Sri Lanka-based sister company, Serendipol. Serendipol works with over 1,200 farmers who are paid an organic premium for their coconuts, and also receive funding through a Fair Trade Fund. These resources fund various infrastructure, medical and educational projects, overall bettering farmers lives. Serendipol and Dr. Bronner’s also want to improve how the land is farmed, and have a goal of implementing regenerative organic agriculture.
Burlap & Barrel Spices
This company sources flavorful spices (like, really, so much more flavorful than what you're buying at the regular grocery store) by partnering directly with farms around the world, giving cooks an incredible ingredient and bettering the livelihoods of their partner farmers. Additionally, Burlap & Barrel seeks out products that are grown biodynamically using traditional techniques. Customer favorites include Wild Mountain Cumin and Black Urfa Chili, but we recommend getting started with the complete Fundamentals Collection. Read more about why it's important to buy fair-trade spices here..
This coffee is roasted in Brooklyn, but the beans come from all over the world. The brand partners with coffee growers and their communities to help them create a sustainable product and ensure a sustainable livelihood. Driftaway’s coffee subscription is a great gift option, or you can start with an a la carte bag.
We've waxed poetic about Larry's coffee in the past, but that was mainly in reference to its flavor and affordability. It's also a sustainable, ethical option. In addition to selling 100% organic, fair trade and shade-grown coffee beans (packaged in biodegradable bags!), Larry’s entire operation is committed to minimizing non-sustainable energy use. Their packaging facility uses insulation, natural light and zone heating to cut back on electricity, and they’re committed to composting and harvesting rainwater. From staples like Larry’s House Blend to wildcard beans like the Bad Kitty Blend, this is an ethical and affordable coffee to buy.
Numi is committed to sustainability. They source organic teas and herbs, use eco-responsible packaging, and work to offset carbon emissions. Their packaging is made from majority recycled and biodegradable materials, and they create gift boxes from organic bamboo. Numi has also offset 6 million pounds of CO2 by purchasing carbon offsets that support renewable energy projects in India and China. We recommend their Golden Chai loose leaf tea, or their breakfast tea, which was a top pick in our taste test of English breakfast tea.
Lundberg Brown Rice
Brown rice is a healthy pantry staple—it can be the base of so many inexpensive and filling meals. Lundberg’s has been using sustainable growing practices for the last 80 years, and the company is a member of the Sustainable Food Trade Association. This means they practice crop rotation, use water-conserving irrigation, and generate and purchase green power for their processing facilities.
Woodstock Foods Nut Butters
Peanut butter and almond butter are obviously staples—they make everything taste better, from apple slices to smoothie bowls. Woodstock is committed to sustainability, and produces organic and non-GMO nut butters. The company has also spent time volunteering and sponsoring American Farmland Trust, the Non-GMO Project, Young Farmers Coalition and Food to Bank On. Woodstock supports the American Farmland Trust, which is committed to preserving farms and natural resources.
Tony's Chocolonely Chocolate Bars
Tony’s mission is to make all chocolate 100% slave-free (not just their own). The brand works directly with over 5,000 farmers, paying them a fair, living income. Tony’s has also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in a “Tony’s premium” so cocoa farmers can earn a living wage and have funds for supplies and education. They’re taking steps to cut back on their carbon footprint and create recyclable packaging, too.
Wild Planet Tuna
Wild Planet has been named the #1 tuna brand for sustainable sourcing, and it’s also an Epicurious staff favorite for its superior flavor. Their tuna only comes from pole and line catch fisheries, which is better for the planet. All of their seafood is 100% sustainably caught, and their “Wild Way” promises they don’t overfish or damage any habitats.
Wild & Sustainable Seafood Box from Thrive
So this isn’t technically a pantry item (pop it in the freezer instead), but it can be hard to source sustainable seafood so we thought it was useful to include. We love this seafood box from Thrive Market. It contains shrimp, scallops, salmon, cod and barramundi, so there’s something for everyone. Everything is wild-caught or sustainably harvested, and the shrimp are harvested in small boats to cut back on emissions.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious