VeggieGlobal should first point
out that although this page discusses the merits of Meat Free /
Organic / Environmentally friendly / Local Produce supermarkets
offering the same service and shopping experience as the big name
high-street-killer supermarkets, we would much prefer to see
ailing shopping streets in towns and villages recover through
initiatives to provide affordable local produce. We would ideally
like to see empty shops come alive again with innovative ethical
approaches to encourage and even educate local communities towards
the benefits of healthy, ethically, sustainably sourced foods and
everyday domestic items ... all locally grown and manufactured
when possible. Instead of sucking the heart out of town centres by
overwhelming them with giant supermarkets, let's hope for a
long-term revival of the high street ... but this time around with
individual businesses with strong ethical principles. The proposal
below is aimed at new-built communites and cities where the
socioeconomic collective of local high street shops doesn't exist.
On the bottom of this page you can
register your opinion on this survey based on a few questions and
leave a comment if you wish.
Some thoughts behind this proposal.
Since the surge in organic, myths
and hype have emerged with the trend. Consumers can be left clueless
when it comes to understanding what organic means in product ingredients.
Many believe that an "organic" vegetable-based product
must automatically mean vegetarian or vegan and sustainable. But just because
the product is labelled organic doesn't mean it has been sourced
sustainably or without animal suffering.
A vegetable-based product may be organic but might also
include byproducts from organically farmed animals or fish. For
example, organic wines are not necessarily suitable for veggies.
"Organic" only means that the grapes used to make the
wine are grown without use of chemical pesticides or chemical
fertilizers, but the clarifying and fining agents used during
the wine making process can contain various animal derivatives
including gelatin, and isinglass (from the bladder of the sturgeon
fish). Cheese made with organic milk may well contain animal derived
Organic foods can also be sourced from plantations created by
destroying ancient rainforests - an irreplacable, complex eco-systems.
All kinds of manufacturers are jumping on the organic ("bio") bandwagon by promoting
their products as "organic" or "bio" and upping the prices, even
though they may have always been made using the same "organic"
Recent news reports also reveal that many products claiming
to be organic aren't, but that issue commands a report of its
More info on ingredient confusion
this can be found at our Ethical Labeling Campaign section ...
(but vote here first if you wish and you will be linked through
to our main campaigns satellite afterwards).
However misunderstood by the public,
could the positive effect of the organic movement pave the way
to create the ultimate environmentally-friendly shopping experience
for everyday consumers?
By taking away meat and non organic products (including environmentally
unfriendly products and packaging) from the shelves of an average
supermarket we can still be still left with an abundance of choice.
There are thousands of startup organic and vegetarian / vegan companies
producing quality foods waiting to take over that spare shelf
space. With major sustainable shopping outlets created, prices
would drop further and would be comparable with non-organic foods.
Most importantly though, VeggieGlobal's idea is to add strong
emphasize on locally grown and manufactured and no unnecessary
packaging - particularly plastics.
Let's make clear the big difference between "locally
produced" and "locally grown and manufactured". "Locally produced"
is a greenwash term; it can easily mean that a local business buys
ingredients from anywhere across the world, makes something from
them, then packages it as locally produced. Yes, the product may
be assembled and packed locally, but it certainly doesn't make it
ethically "green". "Grown and made locally" means what it says.
The ingredients were grown locally and the end product was
assembled and packed locally - preferably using locally produced
packaging materials from a natural, sustainable or recycled
source. If a locally grown /sourced manufacturer gets it right
throughout the entire production process, the overall "production
miles" can be reduced to a very small carbon footprint.
The supermarket we are suggesting would be free of greenwash and stock a high percentage
of produce grown locally by organically certified gardeners, farmsteads
and smallholders. There would be only a small stock of organic
/ veggie "Fair Trade" products from other countries;
which, depending where you live might mean exotics such as coffee,
tea oranges and bananas, coconut and spices etc., which might
not grow suitably in your local area.
self-questioning style we also ask ourselves "WHY have a big supermarket
to sell organic / meat free / local produce? ... the last thing
we need is another high-street-killer supermarket in our town".
Unfortunately nearly every town community in the developed world
has already become the victim of large national supermarkets,
which have drawn weekly shoppers away from the high street (more
closing by the day) and into their price-aggressive,
easy-park-and-shop environment. Although we offer our ideal
preference at the beginning of this report to regenerate high
street shops with new ethical principles, that preference is a pipe dream and probably unattainable. We can't turn back
time before Tesco, Asda and the others invaded the pastoral
environs of our towns. Subsequently, there may be nothing more we can do about
high street mothballing,
so instead we need to challenge the supermarket giants at their
own game and offer consumers a truly green alternative supermarket
experience with the same conveniences as the major players.
By pooling together all the food
and household products made locally and stocking it in such a
supermarket, it also helps ease the product miles incurred through
the distribution and purchasing process; a cooperative based system
which enables participating local growers and producers to truly
integrate into a local economy, which in turn helps bring a sense
of opportunity, inspiration and uniqueness back into so many communities
that have lost cultural character and become lethargic through
plasticised, giant-brand consumerism.
Overall, the country and its rural
gardens could reap the natural benefits of a pesticide free environment,
and consumers can enjoy healthy, wholesome products. Packaging
of all products would obviously have to be environmentally friendly
and recyclable - and have the least amount of packaging possible.
An optional refilling service for many daily products would be
in place (bring your own container).
It's also worth noting that apart
from a huge vegan-based choice, this concept includes products
for responsible vegetarians, meaning that dairy and egg produce
will only come from small-holding animals reared completely free-range
and would live their full, natural lives without stress (no-kill
The proposed supermarket would not stock "organic" foods
made from rain-forest destroying plantations. (Typical foods and
ingredients sourced from such plantations can include palm oils
and soya beans). Only organic foods grown without deforestation
or destruction of natural savanna would be acceptable.
There are of course other logistical
aspects regarding this proposal which we haven't gone into on
this page, but we do believe that almost all hurdles can be overcome
and adapted to accommodate genuine environmental and sustainable
solutions, towards creating the greenest consumer shopping experience