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The Secret Truth of Superfood Sourcing

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Do you love making acai bowls, nana ice-creams, matcha lattes and raw chocolate? Do you think of yourself as an ethical person that cares about health, the wellbeing of others and our blue planet? Then you need to know the truth behind where your ingredients really come from.

In this article:

  • We reveal the dark side behind a lot of superfood sourcing. For the 1st time ever we’re sharing insider industry knowledge to help stop you from supporting something unwholesome.
  • Discover whether your hard-earned cash spent on superfoods is reaching growers or whether the majority funds a wealthy middleman (unknown to you)?
  • We expose the shocking truth that a lot of superfood brands don’t know who grows their ingredients, how they are produced and where they come from!
  • We give you a guide on how to choose superfood companies to protect yourself and your family and to ensure you’re not supporting unethical trade!


Some scary news, you probably never heard about: 

  • 17 samples of chlorella found in high street stores (sourced from a variety of countries) were lab tested by Natural News – it was concluded that the Chinese grown chlorella was the most contaminated with heavy metals – even “organic” Chinese chlorella was more contaminated than non-organic chlorella from elsewhere. Taiwan was found to be the cleanest source in the world. 
  • In Aug 2015, a brand of superfoods, sold throughout health stores in the UK and Europe, had to recall their barley grass powder - as reported by the UK Food Standards Agency - as it was found to contain gluten (but it was claimed to be gluten-free). This made it a possible health risk for anyone with coeliac disease or intolerance to gluten. It just shows that you can’t trust what some brands say on their packaging! 
  • Many cacao powder/butter and chocolate products that are claimed to be “raw” really are not raw at all - and undergo heated processes. David Wolfe in his report The Cacao Controversy says, “…there’s a very big cultivar, it’s a hybrid chocolate [cacao] tree… called CCN-51, which is flooded into the US market as being real, pure, raw chocolate and really isn’t”. 
  • There are many so called matcha tea powders out there that are not real Matcha at all. Mary and Robert Heiss, dubbed The Professors of Tea by The New York Times, tell us that in the U.S.:

    “…there is the proliferation of non-Japanese powdered green teas marketed as ‘Matcha’… Calling these powdered teas ‘Matcha’ suggests that they are Japanese when the truth may be quite different. One such offender has gone as far as to advertise Chinese ‘Matcha’ as a less expensive alternative with the same taste! Another tea wholesaler is marketing non-Japanese green and ‘white’ tea powders of unspecified origins (Africa?) as ‘Matcha’.”

The list goes on. Being on the inside, we hear about this all the time – but this information is what some want to hide away from you.

Read on to find out the shocking truth on how a lot of superfood sourcing is done >>

Why do these things happen? 

Superfoods are powerful nutrient-dense ancient foods that have been taken for millennia by indigenous people around the globe.

Because they have become so popular worldwide – many companies have been recently jumping on the superfood-bandwagon with the motivation to simply make money.

Many superfood brands do not know where their ingredients come from or how they are cultivated or processed!

…Enter the problem of the “superfood middleman”. 

A LOT OF Superfood Companies DON’T KNOW WHERE THEIR SUPERFOODS COME FROM 

Did you know that many superfood companies are buying their ingredients through a small group of large wholesalers / resellers and do not know where exactly their ingredients really come from, who grows them or what the production process is! It's only logical that it's in the interest of a reseller to keep their sources a secret.

This means there are lots of products on the shelf selling you exactly the same product (just under a different brand name, in different packaging and at a different price)! 

Why do so many of these brands choose not to research their ingredient backgrounds and source directly… surely everyone wants to source responsibly and sell products of high quality that they know are ethical?

Sadly, not in reality. Because, as mentioned above, for many companies the growing superfood market is purely seen as a lucrative business.

These businesses (some small, some large) care about increasing their profits and so only focus their efforts on branding, marketing, approaching and selling to stores (and sending free products to bloggers in the hope for free exposure!) – and NOT on proper research, sourcing, importing, documentation, transportation and lab testing.

This could be destructive for you as a buyer and for the highly vulnerable and struggling communities who grow and cultivate the raw materials that go into these products.

Read on to find out how you can ensure you’re only buying truly ethical products >>

YOU MAY BE FUNDING UNETHICAL PRACTICES LEADING TO SUFFERING OF VULNERABLE FARMERS WITHOUT KNOWING IT

Most superfoods are sourced from far away locations and less economically developed countries - where they are farmed by people whose sole survival depends on the price they receive for their crops.

So how do you know that the hard-earned cash you’re paying for your superfoods actually benefits the farmers and that they are not being exploited?

Real examples of how some resellers work:

  • One of our farmers explained to us in person that they were in the past forced by a large reseller to sell most of their organic harvests without earning ANYTHING on it – they were threatened with the stop of all business if they didn’t sell their harvest at such a low price.
  • Another of our farming partners was in the past pressured into entering an ‘exclusive agreement’ with a reseller if they wanted to continue doing business (meaning alienating all other buyers from the farm for that one single reseller!).

Obviously we’re not saying that all resellers act this way - but the only way to guarantee it for you as a customer - is to buy from a brand that sources directly and ethically.

HOW CAN YOU ENSURE YOUR SUPERFOODS COME FROM AN ETHICAL SOURCE & ARE OF A HIGH QUALITY 

Check the website - if the brand is sourcing directly – their website should be showing evidence of that.

Look for the description of the sourcing locations, names of the farmers and photos of their visits to the farms (such as this one) – on the websites.

Ask questions! We can’t stress that enough.

Every brand must be able to immediately answer your questions (without hesitation or delay) on exactly where their ingredients come from, which contaminants they test for and how.

The other day we called up a large and common superfood brand (selling their wide range of products across leading health food stores in the UK) to check where their product was grown only to hear that they don’t actually know where for sure because they buy through a reseller.

Here’s a guide, and list of questions, for you to keep yourself and your family safe while ensuring you’re not supporting unethical businesses:

  1. KNOW YOUR SOURCE

    - Does a brand source directly from growers? Brands that source through resellers/wholesalers often do not know how their products are grown, who makes them and a large chunk of your money goes into the pocket of the reseller and not to the farmers.

    * remember: many of the products sold in health food stores and online are 100% exactly the same as they come from the same resellers, just in different packaging.

    - Are there photos on the brand websites showing their team with the growers together? If not… wonder why?

    - Does the website clearly state the exact location of where the products are grown (and not just a country or continent)?

  2. KNOW YOUR QUALITY

    - Is there an explanation of the exact preparation and processing of the products in detail (e.g. is acai freeze-dried or not & how long from picking until freeze-drying so the antioxidants are preserved)?

    - If buying Chlorella or Spirulina (or any superfood mixes containing them), ask for the heavy metal levels, BMAA and radiation testing.

    - If the product is from China ask for independent laboratory test results showing no heavy metal contamination, lack of pathogens and low bacterial count.

    - Ask for an explanation of quality controls.
  1. COMPANY ETHOS

    - Does the brand act in an ethical way in all aspects of their business? 

    E.g. If you see a brand commenting on the competitor’s customers social media posts for attention, then how can you trust they are ethical in other areas of their business?

Organic Burst only source DIRECTLY from small-scale organic producers and cooperatives of organic farmers, so you can be sure your money is not going towards enrichment of middlemen - and that our harvesters are always paid the best prices and never squeezed!

We NEVER bargain with any of our farmers for price and always accept their asking prices - that they are happy with.

We can’t comment on any specific brand quality and processing standards but you can find details of all our own processes on each product’s page.

HOW IS ORGANIC BURST DIFFERENT

Organic Burst is a social enterprise.

That means we’re not in it for the money – we have NO shareholders outside our 2 founders (Dimi & Katya, husband and wife) whose sole mission is to help as many people transform their wellbeing worldwide.

Our profits are reinvested into providing our Bursters with powerful foods on the planet in highly potent form – while supporting the people that harvest them and their habitats.

The reason why thousands of people in 105 countries choose and trust Organic Burst is because they know that we have very strict sourcing and quality standards in place.

We spend a long time researching every superfood before we launch it (that’s why we still only have a few products in our range!):

  1. For every specific food, we first research and identify the geo-locations based on the ideal growing conditions such as climate, altitude and soil type.
  2. Then we spend a long time researching unique organic and ethical farms in these locations.
  3. After that we conduct a thorough audit with each farm to make sure they 100% fit our high quality, ethical and environmental standards.

That is a very time consuming process – in short if your goal is just to make money it’s much quicker to buy from a reseller!

For more visit our “KNOW YOUR SOURCE” page >>

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