My love for Deliciously Ella began I’d say when I was just 11. I don’t know if it was more admiration of her confidence and success at setting up a business or the exquisite taste of her products but whatever the reason I was definitely a fangirl. I saw her speak in 2016, went to see her again at Fare Healthy in 2017 and since have been to her new restaurant and purchased her app: to this day I am a fan so hopefully her products are as sustainable as I so desperately wish to believe…
Deliciously Ella was set up in 2012 by Ella Mills and she began sharing recipes first on a website and then launching social media platforms (all of which I follow). She then started doing supper clubs, designed and launched an app and wrote her first cookbook (which I also have… did I mention I’m a fan?). This book became a bestseller but there was much success to come: she now has 6 number 1 bestselling cookbooks, 7 lines of food products in over 7000 stores in the UK, a restaurant and a podcast.
The product I have chosen to review are £1.60 each!! So I do hope with that amount of money the company have been able to produce a both sustainable and delicious product.
The ingredients in the double chocolate caramel cups are as follows: date syrup, gluten free oats (26%) coconut oil, dark chocolate (11%) (cacao nibs, coconut sugar, cacao butter), coconut sugar, cacao powder (6%), roasted almond butter maple syrup, salt. The product is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and are vegan.
They say they source ingredients from suppliers where agriculture environmental standards are well controlled although details of these standards are not made clear. They do say they work with production partners who minimise the waste that is sent to landfill and who minimise the usage of electricity and other fuels but again precise details have not been included.
By only using plant-based ingredients the company are lowering their carbon emissions: the livestock industry contributes more to our collective build-up of greenhouse gases than all planes, trains and cars put together, so they believe in bypassing these industries the company can have a positive impact.
However, they do not provide details on where they source their ingredients. In general almonds require vast volumes of water and are most commonly produced in California- 81% of almonds globally. A single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce and since globally we are facing a water crisis this is unsustainable. The transport for these almonds to reach the UK also requires huge volumes of petrol producing greenhouse emissions. Coconut oil, coconut sugar, date syrup and maple syrup could all potentially require long transportation journeys as well as cause deforestation particularly in the case of the coconut-based products. Cocoa farming also often requires deforestation and specific conditions that mean long transportation required to reach the UK. However this is all general speculation as there are no specifics from the company about where they source their ingredients and if this information was provided they could have potentially received a higher rating.
There is very little information provided about the production of the product itself so it is difficult to give the product a higher rating without a certain level of transparency.
The company has a focus on recyclable and sustainable packaging- designing the tray for these products to be recyclable but they are still struggling with the wrapper: it is made from a thin layer of plastic which is not recyclable however they are working on a solution and hope to have one by the end of the year. This is disappointing as many other brands have already found solutions.
Part of their business model includes transporting products from their production partners to your home which plays a large role in the carbon impact that they make as there can be a lot of vehicles and miles associated with this process. They know that making this as efficient as possible is the critical way to reduce the carbon impact of their company. They do maximise the load each truck takes but they acknowledge progress needs to be made.
The only details the website gives is that the products are produced and packaged in the UK which does mean less transportation as most products are sold within the UK however there is no detail on workers conditions or conditions within the factories.
Overall the products are relatively sustainable focusing on using natural vegan ingredients and trying to ensure all packaging is recyclable. The reason the product could not receive a higher rating is a lack of transparency about where the ingredients are sourced and the factory conditions. The delivery service also increases their carbon footprint- unlike other companies with sustainability at their core Deliciously Ella does not have a net carbon zero goal which is disappointing.