Want to go Paleo? Joy Skipper on ‘the caveman diet’

The Paleo diet is all about mimicking the eating habits of our palaeolithic ancestors. Think ‘clean eating’ – lots of fish, grass-fed meat, organic produce etc. Basically, the kind of unprocessed foods you’d get from hunting and gathering.

It’s become incredibly popular, and we’ve noticed our customers buying more and more of these types of foods. So we’ve created a special Paleo aisle to make shopping for ingredients easy – no foraging needed.

Joy Skipper is the nutritionist famous for bringing the Paleo diet – followed by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and even Freddie Flintoff – to the Great British public.

To help me understand more about the diet and its health benefits, she’s kindly agreed to fill me in. Read on to find out more.

Image of Joy Skipper Continue reading

Win one of five Royal Doulton dinner sets

Rachel’s Organic Yoghurts currently has a great on-pack promotion on their Greek Style Natural pots: win a Royal Doulton bowl in their new ‘1815’ style (plus the chopping board, pictured). Well, they’re just so gorgeous we thought we’d give you a shot at winning the full 16 piece dinner set, worth £90.

Image of Royal Doulton 1815 bowls

There are three colours to choose from – winners can pick which they’d like.

Image of the set in blue Continue reading

Want to know the top picks for Easter eggs?

Too many Easter eggs to choose from? No problem. As Ocado’s Confectionery Buyer, I’m here to give you the low down on my perfect picks.

Image of Ben, our Confectionery Buyer

Best for gourmets… Heston dark Chocolate Easter Egg

Crack it open and there is a surprise inside – mini eggs filled with fruity mandarin ganache, sitting in their own edible nest.

Heston easter Egg image Continue reading

And Britain’s Next Top Supplier is…

We have a winner! I’m very pleased to announce that Hannah Rhodes of Hiver Beers has been crowned queen bee of the competition.

Image of Hannah with Tom Kerridge and Sir Stuart Rose

Hiver is a delicious craft beer brewed with urban and rural honey. With a background in microbreweries, Hannah knows a thing or two about creating a tasty tipple. With Hiver, she chose to tone down the hops and used an organic specialty malt to make the honey flavours shine. The beer itself is long matured and unpasteurised. Continue reading

Star wines from Stellar Winery

We’re all super excited about new wine brand Stellar; an organic South African import that tastes ‘damn good’, in the words of our Wine Buyer!

Want to know more? Just read our Q and A with wine maker Klass Coetzee.

Q What makes Stellar Wines special?Image of Klaas

Many things, but I’ll just mention the top three:

 1.     They’re fully organic, certified to EU standards as well as fair trade certified by IMO Fair for Life, so everyone in the production and distribution chain gets a fair deal.

2.     The grapes are grown in a very special part of South Africa called Namaqualand. It’s a semi-arid region, and the vineyards are planted along the Olifants River, with most of the white grapes being grown close to its mouth. These cool climate vineyards are rapidly gaining a reputation for producing some of South Africa’s finest white wines.

3.     We produce the largest range and volume of wines made without added sulphur anywhere in the wine-producing world. Continue reading

Getting to the root of Root Camp

Intrigued about what teenagers can learn from Root Camp? We caught up with Root Camp’s founder, Cassia Kidron, to chat about her motivations, memories and more.

Q Let’s start with an interesting fact about yourself.Image of Cassia Kidron

I was approached by Mossad to be a spy. Most people think I declined…

Q Where did the name ‘Root Camp’ come from?

A My son came up with the idea. There’s the obvious vegetable association, but also the idea of taking root in life, which is so potent for this age group (15 to 21 year-olds).

Also, the rhyme with ‘boot camp’ seemed to fit – muddy teenagers coming back from a rigorous morning in the field, the exertion and camaraderie.

Continue reading

On the sofa with… Organic Burst

Ekaterina Igumentseva left her job in the City to set up a company that would make a difference – a company that would combine sustainable development with helping people to feel better in their day-to-day lives.

Today, she’s Founder of Organic Burst supplements. Let’s find out more.

Image of Ekaterina

Ocado: Obviously, sustainability is important to you – what initiatives have you seen that have really impressed?

Ekaterina: Sustainability, for us, goes much further than the usual idea of just sourcing raw materials responsibly.

Sure, this is a big piece of the puzzle and we’ve seen many impressive results on that front. For example, our non-profit partner, PhytoTrade Africa, reports to us of thousands of families are now able to generate a sustainable income due to rising Baobab demand. In Brazil, we know from our local cooperative partners that vast areas of the Amazon are now under strict protection to preserve trees, curbing deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity. These are really fantastic things and you as our customers are all a very real part of it.

But for us it’s about running a sustainable business. Every detail of Organic Burst is designed with the big picture in mind – our prices are affordable, our products are of the highest organic quality, our packaging is fully recyclable, we make the products easy to understand and fun to take.

Image of the Organic Burst range

O: Why do you believe that going organic matters?

E: Because being organic calls for our products to be 100% pure – no fillers, additives, chemicals or controversial ingredients.

For example, high up the Andes Mountains (4,000m above sea level) where our maca comes from, the farmers grow four plant varieties together – this technique strengthens the plants and naturally protects against pests. Our spirulina is grown in pure mineral water without Chilean Nitrate – a controversial fertiliser widely used in algae cultivation however banned by organic standards as an environmental contaminant.

Organic standards also go beyond cultivation methods. They contain guidance on social responsibility, as well as environmental and agricultural principles. For instance in Malawi, where our Baobab powder comes from, the harvesters of organic fruit are paid a premium over and above the standard rate. Trees and the entire ecosystems in the organic certified areas are protected from being chopped down as opposed to those outside the organic reserves. This is crucial for the environment and the lives of the local people.

Always look for the EU Certification mark on the product – it is a guarantee that the product fully adheres to these strict organic standards.

O: How far do you think your personal ethics and beliefs influence the products you create?

E: Our key belief is ‘win/win’ – everyone in the chain must win. This allows us to strive for the best and enables us to deliver superior quality products and service. It’s what motivates us and what allows us to work even seven days a week.

As long as our customers continue to report such fantastic health benefits, and we continue to grow demand together, that helps the local communities we source our materials from. We are achieving ‘win/win’ together.

In terms of ethics, the most important aspects for us are being gentle, honest and proper in every possible way. That is the foundation of Organic Burst.

O: You work with Fair Trade cooperatives and non-profit organisations. What impact is this having?

E: All of our sourcing activities have positive impacts on both people and the environment.

We have reports from PhytoTrade Africa that millions of people have directly benefited from the increase in Baobab demand. Thousands of families were living on only £65 a year!

The best person to tell you about these very real impacts is someone directly affected. Patuma Msyenda, from Maldeco-Mechesi village, Southern Malawi tells us, “I have made enough money from the Baobab business to start a small kiosk in my village. I have also built a house for us to live in and bought a plot of land. I no longer have to depend on anyone else to take care of me or my children – I am a home owner and a businesswoman with big plans! I also sell fish and grow maize to feed my family and help neighbours in need. It is important to be respectful of the Baobabs and help preserve them for the women who come after me.”

O: You obviously do a lot of research into some very unusual ingredients. Tell us about some of the most weird and wonderful ones.

E: In our quest we have definitely come across many weird and wonderful creations of nature – some with amazing properties (watch this space) and some which we wouldn’t want to put you through…

One that particularly gets smiles raised around the OB office is the ‘Poo Fruit’. Somewhat childish of us – agreed!

It’s referred to by many as the Poo Fruit due to its very… umm… ‘special’ smell. There are even strict regulations in some Asian countries forbidding it on public transport and airplanes!

O: If you could sum up Organic Burst in a pop song, which would it be?

E: We want to bring light into peoples lives, so what better song to represent Organic Burst than Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.

‘Here comes the sun…do do do do…and I say it’s alright…’

O: Good choice! Thanks for your time

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Read on:

On the sofa with… The Collective Dairy

On the sofa with… Painted Wolf Wines

On the sofa with… Natoora