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Sustainability in the Supermarket

Since moving to the Pilbara, my shopping options have decreased significantly. Where I used to pick and choose my suppliers, going to the local Farmers Market on the weekend for my vegies, the butcher for meat .... I now just have two choices - Coles and Woolworths. And the occasional visit from the North West Mobile Butcher and The Pilbara Fish Truck.

I tend to favour Coles, as the fruit and veg seems to be fresher, and they usually have a better range. One thing I learnt pretty quickly here is that you need to pick your shopping days, and if you time it wrong (i.e. the day before the truck is due, rather than the day after), you'll end up staring at empty supermarket shelves, wondering what on earth you are going to cook this week. 

Some of my favourite supermarket picks are explained below.

Mayver's spreads - Dare I say it, but I think I like Mayver's peanut butter more than the Ridiculously Delicious Peanut Butter I discovered last year. Using all Australian peanuts, and just a touch of sea salt, with easily removable labels on the jars for re-use, what's not to love? We've been using the Hulled Tahini for ages, but have recently tried the Almond, Coconut & Cacao spread as well. A lot of the Mayver's is stocked at most Coles & Woolies now, although unfortunately the local Coles doesn't stock the Peanut Butter, so we make a trip to Woolies for that.  

McKenzies beans & lentils - As I mentioned in my To the River Chickpea post, a large proportion of McKenzie's dried lentils & beans are Australian grown. The chickpeas, red lentils, and French style lentils are favourites here, but the Borlotti beans, yellow split peas, and pearl barley are Australian grown as well.

Coles Australian Frozen Blueberries - I have smoothies for breakfast a lot here. The 5am alarm, for a 6am start, coupled with the heat mean they're often the only thing I can manage. We have a freezer full of diced fruit, bought when on special for just that purpose, but fresh berries are never on special enough to buy in bulk. So, frozen is the way to go. Coles have a pretty good range of frozen berries, with an Australian grown option for blueberries. Given the hepatitis scare earlier this year in relation to imported frozen berries, these are the only ones we buy now.

Ardmona tinned tomatoes - I know these aren't the cheapest ones on the shelf, but they're Australian made, from Australian tomatoes, and SPC have a strong commitment to Australian grown fruit & vegetables. For more info, see here.

Nuts - Finding Australian nuts has always been a challenge for me. I know they are gown here, but they have been hard to find in non-commercial quantities. Thankfully, Coles seem to have realised that there's a demand for Australian grown produce (possibly lead by Curtis Stone's 'makeover' of their range??), and they now have a good selection of Australian nuts. But, this is the trick, don't look in the nuts/baking aisle, they are next to the fruit & veg section - at my Coles at least. The almonds, peanuts, pecans and macadamia nuts are all Australian grown, and there are salted & dry roasted options too.

Orange Power and Earth Choice cleaning products - we use a combination of these products at home. Both companies are Australian made & owned, with a focus on minimising environmental impact, while still delivering products that work (always helpful!). Orange Power/Aware as our first choice (Orange Power multi-purpose cleaner, pre-wash stain remover, and air freshener, and Aware washing powder and soaker) as the brand is 100% palm oil free. And Earth Choice where there is no Orange Power option, or our store doesn't stock the Orange Power version (dishwashing liquid, dishwasher tablets, wool wash). Earth Choice is not completely palm oil free, but a number of products are, and they are working on palm oil free formulations for those that aren't, and using fully traceable sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in the interim.

Fruit and Veg - I have started using the Coles app quite heavily, and have worked out the fruit & veg specials cycle for our store. Once the specials for the week have come out, I use that to help plan the shopping - usually if it's on special, it's in season and local, but sometimes they trick you with cheap imported cherries in July or something like that so make sure you check, but the app always has the origin details for the fruit & veg on special, so it's not too hard to keep on top of it.

They're my favourites - what are your fave sustainable supermarket choices?