By Paul Crebar
Expanding from a mobile business, the first Santos Organics store opened in Mullumbimby in 1978 as Santos Organics, The Good Food Shop.
The shop’s philosophy was to provide food that was ‘good for you’. Forty years ago this was less complicated than it is today. Santos Organics now employs an ethics researcher to continually monitor and investigate their entire product range and business choices. This ensures attention is paid to the social and environmental impacts of products, ingredients, suppliers and service providers and all the processes that go behind these.
No product contains synthetic chemicals, petrochemicals, parabens, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, or contains refined sugars, flours or other processed ingredients that may be considered harmful to health. Following an audit commissioned by Santos, all products containing unsustainable palm-oil ingredients are being removed from shelves, owing to the huge environmental impact of the deforestation occurring as a result of the demand for palm oil.
Santos does not sell any products containing genetically modified or irradiated ingredients. This is based on the belief there is no conclusive research as to the environmental, social or health impacts of genetically modified food and as such the organisation chooses to stay true to its natural-food philosophy.
As more corporations now operate in under-regulated and developing countries, Santos Organics also refuses to stock any products owned by multi- or transnational corporations, recently removing their biggest-selling tea range after it sold to Unilever. This decision creates opportunities for smaller-scale and local suppliers whom they are dedicated to supporting. Any imported coffee or chocolate must also be Fair Trade certified.
To minimise environmental impacts, all cleaning products must be readily biodegradable and non-toxic. Products with minimal packaging, wrapped in biodegradable or compostable packaging, are preferenced. Snack or convenience-size products are discouraged. They also recently removed all disposable coffee cups from their cafes in response to the War on Waste research.
To minimise transportation greenhouse gases, you’ll only find organic fresh produce from Australia and NZ (coconuts the only exception). Local food and producers are preferenced and highlighted via specific instore signage. Encouraging localisation is a key priority and influences all product and service provider choices.
They are a 99.99 per cent ovo-lacto-vegetarian, only stocking remedial-use fish oil owing to no other viable alternatives, and no product sold has been tested on animals.
They’ve been serving healthy bulk food for more than 40 years and with the strong community support they now have an extensive range of fruit and veges, and personal-care products as well as sustainable home products. Their continual attention to the social and environmental impacts of their products have taken ‘the good food shop’ philosophy and expanded it, recognising the simple truth that what’s good for the earth is good for us too.
*Paul Crebar is the communications and culture manager at Santos Mullumbimby.
105 Jonson St, Byron Bay | 51 Burringbar St, Mullumbimby