Ethical eating on a budget

Do you care if your food is ‘good’? A survey by research company Gekko UK found that, from 2015-2016 alone, an incredible 21% more consumers buy products from ethical food brands. But how do you balance your social conscience with your monthly budget?

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Think inside the box

Organic veg boxes have become a bit of a trend, so if you don’t shop around you could find yourself paying the same or even more than in supermarkets. Avoid the big, national veg box companies and seek out local ethical food companies instead.

For the Glasgow area, we found Locavore – a social enterprise that offers small fruit and veg bags from as little as £5. While The Organic Pantry (delivering through the North of England, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Northumberland) has a choice of value veg, pasta veg and salad boxes from just £7.50 each.

For the best boxes in your area, search online for local community farms, then sit back and wait for those healthy, packaging-free goodies to arrive.

Find the fairest prices for Fairtrade

Gone are the days when buying Fairtrade meant shopping in specialist stores. Now, even the most price-conscious shopper can pick up products that are affordable and good quality while also benefiting the farmers who produce them.

The Co-operative has had a range of own-label Fairtrade products since 2000, with around 150 lines across the whole store. Lidl also has its own range, called FAIRGLOBE, which includes coffee, wine, chocolate and bananas. Shop around, and you can definitely support ethical trading without paying premium prices.

“We don't expect you to turn the bath into a vegetable patch.”

Grow your own (yes, even in a flat).

OK, we don’t expect you to turn the bath into a vegetable patch, but there are lots of things you can grow in pots for convenience as much as for organic and money-saving reasons.

This article on lifestyle blog Greatist.com has step-by-step guides for growing 16 different types of food indoors. Even if you’re not up for having a go at growing carrots (actually really doable in a large pot), you can cultivate your own versions of root ginger, spring onions and herbs (which can be really pricey in supermarkets) with just a few basic supplies.

Be good when you’re on-the-go

If you’re into ethical living, chances are you’re already switched-on about recycling. But what about takeaway cups? A recent campaign headed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall revealed that most people don’t know that the polyethylene coating in those coffee cups isn’t recyclable.

So if you’re a fan of coffee-to-go, it’s time to consider a re-usable cup. There are dozens to choose from (these are Good Housekeeping’s favourites), ranging from less than £10 right up to designer prices.

The even better news is that retailers are picking up on the sustainable cup idea. In fact, Starbucks will give you 25p off the price of your drink when you bring your own cup. Your new purchase will have paid for itself in no time!

Seek out the sustainable

Pescatarians with a conscience probably already know about sustainable fishing, but – if you eat fish often - it’s always a good idea to keep up with the latest on which fish stocks are thriving and which need a little protecting. The Sustainable Fish Cities site has some great suggestions for which sustainable fish can replace your usual favourites. Swap haddock for coley, cod for pollack, and you won’t just be doing your bit for the seafood sector. Because fewer people generally know about these tasty replacements, you’re likely to get a healthy bargain too.

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.