Our Food Policy
The Real Food Store is driven by a commitment to ethical & local food. We try to keep our ethics and policies simple & these are constantly evolving. We believe in trading with integrity & we have tried to spell out our position. We are always open to dialogue with customers so please do get in touch with us about any aspect of what we say below- or about anything we've missed. You can contact us at email@example.com.
1) OUR REAL FOOD SHOPPING POLICY
It's really simple!
We sell food that is as local as possible, as organic as possible – and at the best possible price.
We do stock a range of non-local food, so you can shop here for what we class as essential ingredients. Where we have to import from abroad, we will always source from either organic or Fairtrade producers. We are committed to keeping all waste to a bare minimum.
The ethics of food are complex and people's needs are very varied. We will always try our best to make the right decisions. If you think we haven't spotted an opportunity, or have overlooked something, please let us know.
2) BUYING IN SEASON
We aim for most of our vegetables to be locally grown- as close to Exeter as possible & this means actively promoting and selling food that's in season.
- Why? Because it's fresher and tastier!
- It's not been chilled, shipped, trucked or flown half way round the world to reach you
- It's honestly priced: we have a direct relationship with the producers & we work with them to get the stock levels right & keep waste to a minimum
- Clocks up far fewer food miles so reduces environmental impact
- Reduces the need to use packaging to extend shelf life
- Helps local producers and the local economy
- Eating food that is freshly harvested is tastier & more nutritious
What about the other stuff?
Eating food that's in season can be a positive lifestyle choice. But it does mean we have to rely less on imported goods. You will find some imported items on our shelves because they are staples in many households for example bananas and lemons. We also sell spices & other staples such as lentils or tea. These will always be organic and / or Fairtrade & transported by sea or road. We do not stock air-freighted goods because this causes an unacceptable environmental impact.
The Real Food Store is committed to re-assessing our shopping and eating habits. We don't have to stop enjoying wonderful international flavours and recipes: just make local and seasonal produce the star of the show! Look out for our recipe suggestions in-store.
3) WHY BUY ORGANIC?
Organic food is grown to strict standards that prohibit the use of artificial fertilizers and chemicals. Organic systems enhance natural soil fertility and local biodiversity as well as maintaining a balance of pests and predators. This allows the crops to be strong and healthy.
Great value organic veg
Organic food is often more expensive than conventionally produced food, because it doesn't cut corners on the environment or animal welfare. However our vegetable producers are selling what is in season and because we communicate with them on a daily basis and they are so close to the store, we are able to minimise wastage and keep the prices comparable to conventionally-produced vegetables. We are committed to passing on the benefits of this arrangement to you the customer.
4) OUR APPROACH WITH MEAT
We sell meat with organic certification because it guarantees that the animals are kept to optimum welfare standards and that they are fed organic feed, which in turn promotes the health and vitality of the animals. Organic farmers are strictly inspected so we know they are really reliable partners; but they also have to bear higher costs of production.
Some free-range farmers, who aren't registered as organic, are still rearing to high welfare and environmental standards. So we source from them when we have visited their farm and seen their production methods; and we can pass the cheaper costs on to you.
Sticking to these principles means that sometimes we are short of certain items, so please be patient with us – we are always looking for new suppliers that we feel confident using.
5) LOCAL FOOD IS MILES BETTER
When you buy local you are doing a wonderful thing with your money!
- Local farmers and producers are getting a fair price for their food
- The food comes straight from the field to your plate – so it's fresh and hasn't cost the earth being driven around the country
- Your money stays in the local area and strengthens the Devon economy
Food miles: what does it mean?
- It's the distance our food travels from its original growing place to our plates
- Including journeys food makes to be produced, processed, packaged and displayed in shops and supermarkets
- Large amounts of fuel are used to move food around by air, sea & road
- Food miles have a huge impact on the environment
Buying locally produced food in season whenever possible helps to reduce food miles. Our non-local foods (e.g. citrus fruit, lentils, pasta, tea & coffee will have travelled by road or sea but have not been air-freighted).
6) MAKING THE MOST OF FOOD: MAKING GOOD SENSE & LESS WASTE!
At the Real Food Store we aim for zero food waste. Because the store and the café work closely together we get pretty close to this. Why is food waste an important issue? Did you know:
- In the UK we throw away a third of the food we buy: 6.7 million tonnes a year
- That includes 1.2 million sausages & 4.4 million apples per day!
- Most of this food ends up in landfill and produces greenhouse gases as it decomposes
- Much of this food ‘waste' is still in date
- The average UK household throws away over £500 worth of food a year
So what is the Real Food Café doing about it?
Kelly, our talented and creative cook shops for all her ingredients at … you've guessed! The Real Food Store. She keeps a beady eye on:
- Vegetables that are beginning to lose their freshness but still fabulous if cooked up
- Sell by dates & use by dates on e.g. our range of dairy products and meats, making sure they are used in time
Then the cook and the staff team:
- Make the most of what's available, adapting a favourite recipe or inventing a dish to use up ingredients
- Plan the daily specials to take advantage of what is available (this could be an unexpected fabulous ingredient!)
- Just shop for what is needed to avoid an excess of ingredients
- Prepare & freeze excess ingredients (e.g. fruit compote)
- Compost vegetable waste (e.g. peelings, unusable salad leaves etc). We also compost the paper napkins
- Put bread that is too old to use (not much ever gets to this point) aside for a friend who feeds it to his pigs
- Bag up our coffee grounds for RFS customers to take home for their home composting
- Always recycle all card, glass and plastic containers
You can apply your own genius to making the most of your food shopping and reducing your waste. We want to share our top tips about this topic including with recipes in-store- about how to cook simple and delicious meals for you, your friends and family that don't cost the earth. We want to put good food on your plate and not in landfill!