The journey of each ingredient from farmer to table is as important as the quality
of the food itself to Essential Trading.
The co-operative has strict guidelines for all its producers, suppliers
and associates. Every item that
Essential Trading handles meets its stringent requirements. Every so often we hear a story that
epitomises all that we do and strengthens our resolve. These four projects have literally been
life-changing for the people involved and demonstrate how ethical enterprises
The Coconut Story
Coconut oil, milk and cream are increasingly popular for their health and beauty benefits. To meet consumer demand, some producers are clearing tropical forestland and planting coconuts to exploit the market. However, Essential Trading sources its coconut products from sustainable groves in Sri Lanka that are on established land and cultivated in balance with the environment.
Essential Organic Coconut Milk
is pressed from the soft, freshly picked coconut. Creamy and smooth, it has a pleasant, sweet coconut flavour and can be enjoyed by vegans and people with lactose intolerance.
Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
can be enjoyed in sweet and savoury dishes. It's also gaining in popularity as a beauty product, used topically on skin and hair.
Essential Organic Coconut Cream
is also made by pressing the fresh coconut flesh but it's thicker than the milk and less sweet. It's renowned for healthy digestion and can be used in place of double cream and is ideal to swirl into stews and curries and to thicken sauces.
The Café Rebelde Story
Back in 2000, the Zapatista group of autonomous indigenous people in Southern Mexico reclaimed 50,000 hectares of land in eastern Chiapas and set about farming it. Today, around 200,000 people from 1,000 villages are now gainfully employed with the money they make being reinvested in their villages to improve their health, education, water and food production infrastructure.
The water projects have been the highest priority for the Zapatista people and their fresh water supply and improved sanitation have brought immeasurable benefits and drastically reduced infant mortality rates and illness due to water-borne diseases. Quite simply, the success of the Café Rebelde Zapatista coffee production supports several villages and ensures the community is self-sufficient and able to work and live on the land.
Café Rebelde coffee is delicious and full flavoured with a slight bitterness, offset by an almost ‘chocolaty' roundness in flavour. It is available as coffee beans
or ground coffee
. This coffee doesn't only set you up for the day; it also sets up a whole community for a better way of life.
The Infusions Story
The Egyptian farm from which Essential sources its tea range is built on reclaimed desert sand. It has been cultivated with biodynamic farming methods since 1977, providing one of the most inspired eco systems in the world. The company behind this is SEKEM and its specialised form of organic farming is at the heart of this successful, self-sustaining farming unit.
As far as possible the farm relies on home produced composts, manures and animal feeds. The balance of nature is neither disrupted nor compromised. The success is shown by the farm having grown 28-fold, from 70 acres to over 2,000: proving its sustainability as well as the growing thirst for biodynamic tea!
Essential's biodynamic Egyptian teas are organic and Fairtrade accredited (notably, the Hibiscus tea is
the very first Fairtrade hibiscus tea available). The other Fairtrade Foundation accredited varieties are Camomile
, Camomile & Spearmint
and Peppermint & Spearmint
The Chocolate Spread Story
It is ironic that chocolate is associated with luxury and love yet the cultivation of cocoa is fraught with environmental and social troubles. Less discriminating farmers mass-produce cocoa plants by forcing them into the sun to ripen quickly and use artificial fertilisers and pesticides that degrade the soil and forest land.
Sadly, many cocoa farmers are paid pitifully low wages and child labour is commonplace. Essential's chocolate spread range is made from cocoa using organic methods to protect the environment. The beans are harvested and processed by adults and the whole process is approved by the Fairtrade Foundation; ensuring the farmers and their workers are protected and paid a fair wage.
A trio of organic, fairtrade chocolate spreads made from organic, fairly traded cocoa powder, simply blended with fairtrade cane sugar and just a little fairtrade vanilla. There's a choice of Dark Chocolate Spread (Vegan Society Accredited); Hazelnut & Chocolate Spread and Duo Swirl (mix of Milk and White Chocolate Spread).