Late July Snacks makes organic tortilla chips and other organic and non-GMO snacks which are great alternatives to snack brands with many additives and preservatives. Although it is great that Late July Snacks are organic and non-GMO, they could improve their transparency in the sourcing of their ingredients, production, or manufacturing processes. I would advise Late July Snacks to include on their website a report of how they are actively working to achieve sustainable goals of reducing carbon footprint from their transportation or distribution and manufacturing processes. It would be ideal for Late July to create goals to improve their sustainability in all sectors including labor, sourcing their ingredients, etc. That is why I rate Late July Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips a .53 planet.
Late July Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips are made with a couple of ingredients: organic whole ground corn, organic sunflower and/or safflower oil, sea salt, and lime oil. These ingredients are said to be organically derived including oils. It is not made clear by Late July how their ingredients are organic but they are non-GMO project verified and USDA Certified Organic. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Certified Organic means that the ingredients are grown on soil with no prohibited substances like pesticides or fertilizers. Non-GMO project verified means that the product cannot contain GMO by less than 0.9%. This is verified by manufacturers working with independent certification companies to ensure the standards are true. This brings me to question how do we know these products are certified correctly and without corruption or bias?
The production or sourcing of these ingredients is not made transparent by Late July Snacks. An article by Heal Abel explains the production of sunflower oil. To produce sunflower oil there are many effects including high water usage, high carbon footprint, and poor labor working conditions due to conditions of farming practices. Sunflower oil has a high carbon footprint including farm equipment, animal feed production, greenhouses, food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, and packaging waste. This does not include the food wastage of the sunflower seeds after the oil is pressed. For safflower oil, it is similar to sunflower oil with the same environmental concerns of high water usage, high carbon footprint, and poor labor working conditions. Lime oil also has these same production concerns as Late July does not make it transparent. For this reason, I give 1 planet.
Late July does not make the production of their tortilla chips transparent. Referring to a general model of how tortilla chips are made, the cornflour and other ingredients are mixed, formed into sheets, and cut into size. After this baking at high temperatures of 350-450 degrees Farhenheit, equilibrating, frying, and salting/seasoning are the following steps that involve high energy-intensive processes.
For the packaging of the chips, Late July uses plastic bags which are not sustainable for long-term use. They make a point that these bags can be recycled with Terracycle. The bags are then sent to a Terracycle recycling facility that requires shipping. This increases the carbon footprint to recycle a bag which defeats the purpose of lowering carbon emissions. This puts the responsibility on the consumer instead of the corporation which is a heavy burden to carry and not all people will participate in recycling the bag and shipping it out.
For the transportation of these chips, it is not made known if Late July makes efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. For these reasons, I would give .1 planet because the production of the chips is energy-intensive, the packaging makes efforts to have reuse for their bags, but the transportation or distribution of the chips doesn't make an effort of reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally, there was a lack of transparency regarding the manufacturing process where I had to consult general chip production.
The founder of Late July is Nicole Benard Dawes. Dawes founded the snack as she searched for a healthier and non-GMO snack for herself and for her children. Dawes is the daughter of the founder of Cape Cod Potato Chips which gives her a strong background in the snack industry. In an article by Forbes, she explains that she is teaching her children the economic aspects of her company for their benefit. Although this is great, to ensure a healthier future for her children the ingredients, production, transportation, and packaging of Late July chips should include sustainable practices or efforts. The chips are a great healthy snack but, it may not be healthy for the Earth. For this reason, I would give .5 planet.