14 Sustainable Food Companies You Can Trust

For consistently healthy, conscientious products, try these 14 sustainable food companies—selected for their health, environmental and social attributes.

| July/August 2012


Located north of San Francisco, Alvarado Street Bakery has been a leader in healthy, organic whole and sprouted grain baked products for more than 20 years, supporting sustainable agricultural and business practices.

Image Courtesy Alvarado St Bakery

Shopping for healthy, responsibly produced food can be a challenge. From confusing labels and long lists of complex ingredients to loose government regulation, identifying the foods that are truly good for our families and the environment can be a tricky proposition. Some companies, however, have made their business out of offering reliably healthy products that prioritize the health of their customers, their producers and the environment. In looking to identify such sustainable food companies, we partnered with the folks at GoodGuide, an organization that rates hundreds of companies on their health, sustainability and social attributes. We asked GoodGuide to offer us their top picks for national food companies that offer a wide range of products—focusing on those that offer healthy items and avoiding companies owned by larger parent companies that may not be doing as much good. This time, we aimed to include a wide range of products—in the future, we plan to offer more specific lists of companies that offer healthy foods in certain categories. Don’t see one of your favorite sustainable food companies on this list? Have a food category you’d like to see covered? Email us your thoughts at food@nhandg.com.

Grounds for Change

Overview: A family-owned and operated coffee-roasting company in the Pacific Northwest, Grounds for Change is committed to providing a sustainably, fairly produced product that benefits the environment, its farmers and its consumers. The company’s mission is “to support social equity and environmental sustainability through fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffee.”

Health: Certified organic; grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and conservation

Environment: Purchases 100 percent renewable energy for facilities; offsets 100 percent of nonrenewable energy used in business operations and transportation; uses 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper; donates jute coffee bags to local organic farms for use in erosion control; a percentage of profits goes toward the Northwest Shade Coffee Campaign, Save Our Wild Salmon and CarbonFund.org; shade-grown coffee prevents the clear-cutting of forest

Social: Fair trade certified, meaning products are grown by farmers who receive a fair price for their harvest, work under safe working conditions, and are able to invest in social and business development projects such as scholarship programs and health- care services

Products: Organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee; website also offers fair trade, organic tea and chocolate

7/9/2014 11:51:55 AM

Eden Organics is not a trustworthy company and according to comments below, neither are some of the others on the list. Makes the entire list suspect!

7/9/2014 2:04:35 AM

I’m appalled that Eden foods is on your list. Eden Foods CEO is opposed to contraception and petitioned the courts for permission to use their owner’s religious beliefs to discriminate against women. Eden’s CEO, Michael Potter, said he was “grateful” for the court’s decision, while calling President Obama a “dictator” who wants to take away Americans’ rights. This is not a socially conscious company. This is a right wing company that wants to turn the clock back on women’s rights.

7/8/2014 7:54:17 PM

Please read this article, and how very specifically Michael Potter, who is getting rich when you buy his Eden Organics products, is and has for some time, tried to deny women access to certain healthcare services because of his own personal religious beliefs: http://watchdogwire.com/michigan/2014/07/07/scotus-rules-for-eden-foods-hhs-mandate-challenge/ While I have purchase Eden Organics products in the past, I certainly will never spend another dime to enrich someone that believes he has the right to mandate other people's lives based on his personal religious faith.

7/8/2014 2:33:12 PM

Why is Eden on the list? They've been called the "Hobby Lobby of the Organic Aisle" and take the same attitude when it comes to health care for their workers, especially their female workers. Medical care is provided only as it aligns with the whims of Michael Potter. I am boycotting Eden as well as Hobby Lobby. I don't want to support what they stand for.

7/8/2014 10:58:41 AM

It's sad that Eden foods doesn't extend their concern for health and fairness to healthcare for their female employees. Instead, they put their religious agenda first. Wonder if this extends to their Fair Trade actions as well.

7/8/2014 10:52:06 AM

Eden Organic may meet all of your criteria for a sustainable food company, but their social policies are anathema to woman, minorities and the LGBT community. They are not the kind of company that Mother Earth Living should be touting as one to buy. It's time we started boycotting companies that try and impose their religion and social values on the rest of us.

7/8/2014 7:43:44 AM

I know that it is near impossible to find anyone that meets all of the criteria for being a truly honorable company. Eden Foods, while they may, (or may not), be a real "organic" supplier, their stance on the Affordable Care Act puts them in the category of a company that I will not buy from. Denying health care for women is in no way defendable.

7/8/2014 7:26:58 AM

Great list, except for NOW Foods. They do use GMO products in their supplements. I know because I took their NattoKinaise product and was very ill from it. I contacted them and the soy and corn in the product was not organic, thus was GMO.

5/21/2014 3:47:09 PM

I know a lot of companies that can be included on this list and I consider that the companies that use ammonia refrigerator equipment from http://www.arescobuyersclub.com/ also are eligible for this. Their equipment uses half the amount of ammonia of a traditional system and saves a lot of electricity by using a patented accumulator, making all of the company`s products environment friendly.

7/24/2013 2:38:59 PM

If you want to know exactly what is in your dog food go to dogfoodadvisor.com

Purina is one of the worst rated.

7/23/2013 5:01:55 PM

While the companies listed in this article are noteworthy - and have been for years - the GoodGuide app is a joke. In looking at the dry dog food list the top two picks were Science Diet and Purina One, each with a "Heatlh" rating over 9. These foods contain corn gluten meal, ground corn, poultry by-products and/or digests! To further the outrage, both companies scored high enough to be considered in GoodGuide's top 25% of socially responsible companies. Those are pretty low standards in my book! For an app that supposedly points consumers toward organic, healthy foods it falls far short.

I downloaded the GoodGuide app based on this article and deleted it within 20 minutes. Thank doG it was free although I'm left to wonder who the money is behind GoodGuide. The other dry dog foods at the top of the list included: Science Diet (owned by Colgate), Innova (along with Iams, owned by Proctor & Gamble), Royal Canin & Nutro (owned by Mars).

7/23/2013 2:31:33 PM

This information is not correct. Organic Valley has been found along with Stoneyfield Farms to succumb to GMO & Monsanto- http://www.fastcompany.com/1723063/organicgate-are-whole-foods-stonyfield-farm-and-organic-valley-cozying-monsanto

Nature Valley GMO- http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/general-mills-sued-for-using-the-term-natural


Newmans Own - Newman's Own Reply: Newman's Own cannot guarantee that the commodity items (such as corn and soybean oil) used in our products are GMO free since they may come into contact with GMO's. We can assure you, however, that all our organic products are USDA regulated and can contain no GMOs.

7/23/2013 10:44:36 AM

I'm confused - writers haven't included Unilever, Nestle, Kraft etc - they all repeatedly tell us they are sustainable and we can trust them ... where do you writers live? in the boonies? Unilever, Nestle, Kraft this is who we can trust ..... they tell us.

2/24/2013 11:53:03 PM

Thank you so much for this article and the names of companies that we should be supporting when ever possible. hats off to them and Mother Earth Living.

elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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