At the heart of sustainability is a very basic idea: perpetuity. If a food is to be sustainable, then by its very definition it must be: 1) delicious enough that you’ll want to eat it over and over again and 2) nutritious enough to contribute to your continued health and well being. Through direct relationships with our partner co-ops, careful audits of our entire supply chain and a focus on heirloom varietals, we are able to ensure that Alter Eco foods are always reliably delicious.
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Farmer participating in Rice Fund’s monthly organic training
Fields of quinoa just after harvesting
Alter Eco staff with quinoa producers in Bolivia, March 2014.
Woman sorting quinoa in the Altiplano of Bolivia
WHOLE, HEALTHY & MINIMALLY PROCESSED
For their health and flavor benefits, we maintain a focus on whole grains and minimal, local processing. (As food bloggers have pointed out, some of our chocolate bars have as few as four ingredients). We’re also committed to saving heirloom varietals, many of which are disappearing in the face of industrial agriculture. Beyond their environmental boon (crop diversification and long term biodiversity), these ancestral foods have unique flavors and rich cultural histories that connect eaters across time and continents. Our Royal Black Quinoa, Mascobado Sugar and Purple Sticky Rice are flavors you won’t find anywhere else, specific to the terroir in which they are grown.
Terroir, which in French literally means soil or land, is more generally referred in regards to food, as a small region or area with soils and microclimates which have profound impacts on the flavors and nutritional values of a product. We believe terroir can be one of the single most important players in the flavors and quality of food — as do many of our partner producers who work incredibly hard to create the highest quality ingredients.
We believe the flavors of food can be wholesome and just as delicious without loads of highly processed ingredients and additional additives. We stand whole-heartedly by this idea and believe that even something as delicious and indulgent as chocolate can be simple and carefully crafted with a clean list of ingredients! With seven steps from start to finish, our chocolates retain the purest flavors of the Alto Huyabamba of Peru and the forests of the Ecuadorian coast, even after the cacao is delicately crafted into bars and truffles by master Swiss chocolatiers.
ACRES OF ORGANIC FARMLAND TO DATE
ACRES OF ORGANIC FARMLAND TO DATE
Alter Eco has never produced foods with the use of pesticides or emulsifiers and has always had a zero tolerance GMO policy since the day of inception. Our Organic certifications and non-GMO verifications are due to the high quality production and farming techniques used in our cooperatives. We are committed to using only the cleanest, wholesome, traditional and delicious ingredients for all our products.
To further guarantee the quality of our products, we monitor every detail of our supply chain. B Corp certification allows us to quantify our impact, policies and practices, and gives you a chance to learn more about how our business works.
Watch the video to learn more about B Corp Certification
In addition to Fair Trade practices, we work directly with our co-op partners to create a supportive and mutually beneficial business relationship.
Each visit to our partner co-ops allows us to build solid and trusting relationships with the people who grow our food. During these visits, we conduct careful audits of the co-ops’ fields, operations and finances, ensuring that organic and fair trade standards are being upheld. (Organic and fair trade certifiers also audit our cooperatives.) We are also able to identify and respond to the farmers’ needs, implementing programs that ensure the highest standards of quality. Sometimes that means investing in optical readers for quinoa sorting in Bolivia or a new rice mill in the Surin Province. In every instance, we have your taste buds in mind.
In-person visits are a cornerstone of these partnerships, giving us a chance to truly know the people who grow our food, and to support them in attaining self-sufficiency at every level. Food sovereignty is at the top of that list. Most co-ops have a shared garden where they grow their own organic, local food, diversifying their diets. They also retain a set percentage of their cash crops each year for personal consumption and seeds.