Category

Food & Drink

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

AD | Plastic-Free Instant Coffee – Finally!

plastic-free instant coffee uk

Paid-for content in association with Little’s.

I’ve never understood why up until now it’s been so difficult to find plastic-free instant coffee. Most instant coffee is sold in jars with plastic lids – why not switch the plastic lid to a metal lid and the job’s done?

Thankfully, one instant coffee brand has taken the initiative and switched to plastic-free packaging: Little’s Coffee.

Little’s Coffee is a small independent family business, selling 100% Arabica coffee, and they are proud to now be 100% plastic-free. Spearheaded by husband and wife duo Henry and Leila Little 25 years ago, the business is now run by their son, Will Little, and his wife, Caroline. By taking the lead on removing plastic from their jars of instant coffee, this small company is definitely leagues ahead of the big boys of coffee.

Their delicious range of instant coffee is all packaged in glass jars with 100% aluminum lids, both of which materials, unlike plastic, can be infinitely recycled, which is much better for the environment.

Rather than popping mine in the appropriate recycling bins once I’ve finished my coffee, I’m planning on recycling my Little’s jars in different ways. Call me a geek, but I do like a good jar, and Little’s jars look so very good. I have plans to use them either in my kitchen for food storage, or for health & beauty DIYs, before recycling them appropriately at the end of their lives.

Of course, it’s not just all about the packaging. The plastic-free packaging is all well and good but the coffee has to taste good too. Thankfully, Little’s delivers above and beyond on this point. The 100% Arabica coffee is gently brewed with no nasties to deliver a smooth and tasty single blend plastic-free instant coffee that’s available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated options.

Their decaf coffee is made still using the best quality 100% Arabica coffee and decaffeinated using a gentle CO2 process. This process retains all the coffee’s great natural taste, without the use of chemicals that are used in solvent-based decaffeination processes.

Flavoured Instant Coffee

plastic-free instant coffee

As well as standard coffee, Little’s star of the show is their flavour infused instant coffees, which has evolved to suit peoples busy lifestyles. Available in a wide range of flavours – from Cardamom Bun, to Gingerbread Cookie, to Irish Cream flavoured coffee – I counted 13 different flavours of plastic-free coffee to choose from, all modestly priced between £2.99 and £3.20 a jar.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of flavoured coffees, finding the taste of coffee syrups too sweet, and the process of measuring out sticky syrups being a bit of a faff. I was surprised to find that Little’s range of pre-flavoured coffee (again, available in caffeinated and decaffeinated) has no added sugar. This means their coffee hits the spot without the intense sugary sweetness that coffee syrups often have, and can be whipped up in the same time it takes to make a cup of regular coffee.

I bought some Chocolate Caramel coffee and some Island Coconut coffee and both make great pick-me-ups to combat the 2 pm post-lunch slump. At only 4 calories a cup, the coffee is better for you than raiding the biscuit tin for that chocolate hit! Needless to say, I’ve got jar of Little’s at work now to help keep me out of the biscuit tin.

Without being overly sweet, the Chocolate Caramel coffee smells and to me tastes just like tiramisu – my partner hates all coffee but even he conceded that the coffee smelled delicious. A world first, let me tell you! The Island Coconut coffee is not too dissimilar to a Bounty bar, which is a very good thing in my book. It’s a great way to liven up your coffee!

Where to Buy Little’s Plastic-Free Coffee

Little’s Coffee is available across the UK and is stocked in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Dobbies Garden Centres, Booths, Whole Foods Market, Selfridges & Co, and Harvey Nichols.

Little’s also has an online shop if you can’t find a jar near you. I ordered my coffee from their online shop and was delighted to find that it shipped in a cardboard box sealed with paper tape – no plastic to be found – not even a shred of bubble wrap.

If you’re shopping online too, Little’s Coffee has kindly set up a discount code for Moral Fibres readers: use the discount code MORALFIBRES10 at the checkout of the Little’s Coffee webshop for 10% off your order.

Visit the Little’s online shop here for delicious coffee in recyclable packaging, and pay them a visit on Instagram for colourful coffee-related content!

Food & Drink

Palm oil – it’s time to tackle this problem ingredient

problem with palm oil

In the western world, we’re addicted to palm oil.  It’s everywhere – in cleaning products, cosmetics and in many snack foods: from biscuits and bread; to chocolate and spreads.  It’s missed off ingredient lists in cosmetics and hidden under pseudonyms in food, but its use is ubiquitous.

Why do we use it?  Because it’s useful, cheap, high-yielding, and versatile.  The problem: palm oil is the biggest contributor to rainforest destruction.  Its production destroys unique habitats and contributes to climate change.

Tim Hunt, from Ethical Consumer magazine, explores the complex issues with palm oil and how consumers can bring about change where governments and campaigners have failed.

The problem with palm oil

Our addiction to palm oil lies within the plant itself.  With its oily flesh and nut, the palm oil fruit produces a vegetable fat that is solid at room temperature.  This saturated fat is the perfect alternative to more expensive and labour-intensive animal fats and per hectare: it generates higher yields than many other vegetable oils.  Simply put, it is cheap, plentiful and it does a job perfectly.

But like all apparent panaceas, it has a dark side.

At Ethical Consumer we’ve been tracking the palm oil issue for over 20 years and we’ve just released our latest report.

Despite huge campaigns from Greenpeace and WWF, the start of certification schemes like Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the involvement of multiple governments and the World Bank, our report highlights that deforestation due to palm oil production is actually getting worse, not better.

In fact, a football pitch sized patch of virgin rainforest is cleared every 25 seconds to make way for palm oil plantations and production is increasing to meet the demands of a growing world population.

Over recent years ‘sustainable palm oil’ and RSPO-certified labels have popped up all over food packaging so you might think that the problem has been solved.  Not so.  Most major snack brands – even with these labels – still have palm oil from deforestation areas in their supply chain.  Just last month Nestle was suspended from the RSPO for failing to file progress reports towards sustainable targets.  In March this year, Greenpeace conducted a report into palm oil production and came up against enormous resistance from brands to disclose their palm oil sources, indicating deeper issues.

problem with palm oil

So, what can we do?

In the west, we are major stakeholders in snack food companies.  We drive their profits through our purchasing decisions so we can apply pressure.

At Ethical Consumer, we advise avoiding palm oil altogether, wherever possible, or buying only from those companies who have a firm commitment to ending deforestation in their supply chain.  We’ve released four new product guides looking at palm oil use in more detail and we recommend the following brands.  Click on the titles to see the full guides.

Butters and spreads
We recommend Biona, M&S and Yeo Valley who offer palm oil free spreads.  Suma and Waitrose brands are actively reducing their use and working to use only deforestation-free supplies.

Chocolate
Although chocolate itself is palm oil free, the sweet fillings often aren’t.  We recommend Pacari, Chocolat Madagascar and Divine who are not only palm oil free but Fair Trade too.

Biscuits
Sustainable palm oil use is being taken seriously by biscuit brands.  There are many brands that are taking an active stance to reduce their usage and shake up the supply chain.  We love Island Bakery whose biscuits are organic and palm oil free.  We also recommend Against the Grain, Doves Farm and Traidcraft brands.

Bread
Although only used in small amounts many bread brands do use palm oil.  For supermarket own brands, Waitrose and M&S are showing real commitment to sustainable policies.  For a branded loaf, choose Biona, Warburtons, Weight Watchers or Jackson’s.

Want to do more?

Take a look at the red category companies in our reports, avoid their products and get in touch to tell them what you think.

Join campaign and boycotts led by Greenpeace and Sum of Us to force big brands to think differently.