Supplier Spotlight: Essential Trading
It’s one of our favourite days when the Essential order gets picked up. It means lots of delicious tea! We choose to use Essential for our tea, coffee and sugar because they are a Bristol-based worker cooperative providing sustainably and ethically sourced products which is in keeping with our ethos. We love supporting other ethical businesses so we asked them a few questions to get to know more about the business.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Phil – and the main hat I wear in our Worker Co-operative is one of a graphic designer / marketing person – but we all wear many hats here..
What is the best part of the job for you?
Colouring In. No – to be serious, I like the pressure of a deadline when we’re bringing a new product onto the market. Creating high quality artwork to help promote our ethics involves working alongside some amazing people here – which is a great feeling and provides great job satisfaction.
How long has the company been around for?
Essential is one of the largest Worker Co-operatives in the UK. Based in Bristol and Bath, we’ve been trading since the early ’70s – I think we’re celebrating 45 years this year.
What is your favourite product and why?
Right now – it’s Organic Young Jackfruit. The latest addition to our brand – and it’s proving difficult to keep in the warehouse – the interest and demand has been very high, it’s flying out!
What does your company specialise in?
We’ve been pioneering organic, vegetarian and vegan foods – with an emphasis on trading fair and making quality food affordable for all. We focus on unprocessed ingredients in our own brand – but wholesale over 5000 lines of healthy (mainly organic, always vegetarian, never GMO) alternatives, only to the independent trade – we never deal with supermarkets.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is one of our key principles. We are working to maintain a healthy planet, fit for further generations – this leads us to work with projects and fellow co-operatives around the globe to ensure our customers get the best quality produce, while supporting working communities and organic farmers who also hold these ideals dear.
What would be your #MeatFreeMonday recipe?
We served up samples of Jerk-style Jackfruit at a trade-show recently – with a recipe from a member of our 100 strong team here. Relatively unexcitable traders were queuing up, clamouring to try and later returning to the stand, dragging colleagues. Never seen the like! This was marinaded Organic Jackfruit pieces, shallow fried in olive oil. The marinade contained Tomato Puree, Chipotle Chilli Flakes, Lime Juice & Pomegranate Molasses. Incredible.
What are the trends coming up in your field?
Other than the incredibly delicious and versatile Jackfruit you mean! We’re really excited to see a huge trend towards less processed wholefoods; people choosing to avoid pesticides and eating much more consciously. The explosion of interest in plant-based and ‘free from’ diets also resonate majorly with our ethical standpoint.