This article first appeared in our ‘Why organic is the answer’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 03 September 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Here at Equinox, we have always been organic.
Ever since our business was founded in 2012, the benefits and ethos of organic food have been so central that they have never even been questioned.
To this day, we are still one of the only large-scale craft, organic kombucha brands in Europe – something we are incredibly proud of.
Organic certification means we are naturally making a positive impact by eliminating toxins and chemicals in our production processes and encouraging the growth of the UK’s wider organic market.
Being organic also allows us to have a different conversation with our customers; we can talk more broadly about the role organic products play in people’s health and lives.
Being fully organic is something that we passionately believe in, so we are certified organic through the Soil Association.
We chose to align our brand with the Soil Association not only because of its fantastic work as a champion of organic farming and practices in the UK, but also because the network of businesses that have chosen Soil Association certification creates an ecosystem of advocates for the key social and environmental issues about which we are passionate.
Being an authentic organic kombucha is an important USP that contributes to our award-winning taste. We won three Great Taste awards in 2020 and have been winning them every year since 2016, making us a Great Taste Producer.
This is so important to our story and our ability to invite new shoppers to try and, we hope, regularly buy a living, healthy drink like ours.
Having consistently great-tasting products opens the door for people who would be less likely to buy organic.
It’s a reason to try a product people often end up loving, and which has the potential to convert them to healthier eating and drinking habits.
According to recent research by the Soil Association, the UK’s organic food and drinks market grew by 12.6% in 2020 to £2.76bn, with £50m now spent each week on organic products.
For us, this represents a shift in the consumer narrative around ‘organic’; more people appear to see their health – as well as the health of ecosystems – as a key priority when they shop.
Being fully organic does come with some challenges; for smaller UK farms it can be difficult to produce locally grown, organic herbs and botanicals in the quantities required to make this kind of farming cost effective.
As an example, when we were developing the River Cottage range of kombuchas in 2020 we struggled to obtain UK sources of key organic ingredients such as rhubarb, which is only currently available from Germany. We needed to source herbs such as lovage, meadowsweet and dandelion through Organic Herb Trading in Europe.
The truth is that currently the UK organic specialist herb farming system is lagging behind that of Europe; according to Defra, farming land conversion to organic decreased 14.7% in 2019.
There is a lot that brands like ours can do in this space to catalyse conversations that could introduce innovation.
Organic September is always important to us and this year we will be hosting several Instagram Live conversations with key organic partners in our ecosystem, including the Soil Association, Planted Cities and River Cottage.
Our goal is to explore some of the challenges and opportunities around educating more people about the social and environmental benefits of organic products and businesses. We hope you will connect and share your views!