Graze is a subscription snack box service set up in the UK. For £4.49 a month, a box containing 4 random snacks that are tailored to your tastes, will be delivered straight to you. However, for a company so insistent on being natural and healthy for people, there is very little about how their practices are affecting the natural world and the health of the planet as well. Personally, I think almost £5 a month for 4 portions of snack is a bit of a rip off and would rather buy unpackaged fruit and veg at my local green grocers to eat as a healthy, all natural snack. However, I do understand the appeal of this service, so I wanted to look at how sustainable it really is.
All of the snacks made by Graze are comprised of five staple ingredients: Nuts, Seeds, Fruit, Wholegrains, and Veg/Pulses. The components are 100% natural, containing no artificial colours, flavours or additives. The ingredients are sourced primarily from the UK and only foods that cannot be grown here, such as cashew nuts, are imported. There isn’t much from Graze on the sourcing of products, however, they are partnered with the Ethical Trading Initiative, Freeworld, and Voicevale, organisations that train farmers and processors to improve social and environmental practices. Given the fact that the company very heavily uses nature as a key component in it’s marketing, I expected a lot more from Graze, and their parent company, Unilever, in the way of transparency and am a little disappointed. The packaging aspect is, however, very good. All trays are 100% recyclable, and, when they are made, at least 50% of the plastic used has already been recycled. All the cardboard is Forest Stewardship Council approved. Although, since this is has become such a mainstream certification, I definitely see this as the bare minimum now for companies.
There is very little given here from Graze on how their products are made and I couldn’t find a single piece of information about who makes it and where. As ingredients are sourced within the UK, I assume that means manufacturing is here too, but honestly who knows and that is very worrying! There is very little about how workers are treated and their rights, and the code of conduct that suppliers have to conform to can’t be found anywhere. Graze does have some statements about going carbon neutral by 2030 and currently their factory and bakery are 100% carbon neutral as all electricity is produced by a windfarm in Scotland. Although this goal sounds great, there is really no information on how this will be achieved and what the next steps are for Graze as they begin this process. One thing I did like, however, was their Zero Landfill policy. No waste goes directly to landfill. Instead, paper waste goes to paper mills, food waste to compositing, etc., meaning less rubbish ends up going in landfills.
Personally, I think that Graze has the right idea. Levels of obesity are becoming a large issue within the UK and a lot of this is down to people choosing unhealthy snack options. There is definitely a space in the market for a company like Graze as getting healthy snacks to people is more important than ever. However, the company’s transparency is considerably lacking and this needs to be changed. Surprisingly, Graze is B Corp certified. Considering B Corp is all about public transparency regarding social and environmental sustainability, there is massive insufficiency in the information provided by the company’s they have certified, such as Graze. Though I like the idea of the products and the subscription service in theory, Graze needs to make a lot of changes before I purchase any of their products.