Vendor Spotlight: Abundance Foods
From their signature decadent truffles to their raw desserts, Abundance Foods offers indulgent sweet treats made from ingredients that nourish your body. Abundance Foods is built on the philosophy that having a sweet tooth is not a bad nor shameful thing. Their offerings are made from mainly raw, organic, super-food ingredients and contain no refined sugars, dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, or eggs. Clean eating doesn’t need to taste boring.
How did Abundance Foods get started?
The inspiration came at a time when I was beginning to look after myself better by eating healthier and cleaner. And I started to notice that there were healthier treats out there that were good for you but that they were what you would call, ‘too healthy’. They didn’t taste indulgent or like you were treating yourself; it felt more like a compromise that you had to make to be healthy. So, I started working away in my kitchen, coming up with alternatives. I used to go to these ‘raw potluck’ events, which were for people who are into raw food diets, vegans and vegetarians, just people looking for alternative ways to eat better. You would bring along a raw or vegan dish and share with everyone, and get to sample everyone else’s dishes. It was a good way of finding alternatives and trying new things but even then, a lot of what was on offer tasted too healthy. Instead, I decided to look for better alternatives myself and kept trying and testing new recipes and trialling them on friends and family. As I went on people began telling me that the treats were getting really good, and that I should consider starting a business. It all just snowballed from there!
"The available healthier treats felt like a compromise you had to make"
Why do you think it was so difficult for you to find healthy but tasty alternatives in supermarkets?
A lot of the alternatives belong to ‘free from’ ranges, either free from dairy, or egg, or they’ll have the gluten or wheat taken out… but instead they’ll just pump them full of chemicals and stabilisers, and flavour enhancers and artificial things to make up for the lack of dairy or gluten. It’s either that or it’ll have such minimal ingredients that they won’t taste very good.
You have a range of key ingredients on which you base many of your recipes, such as cacao, coconut palm sugar, agave nectar, etc. How did you select these ingredients?
A lot of it was speaking to people who had been at it longer than I had, but also going off and doing a lot of my own research. It became a journey of discovery. I make sure to use ingredients that are good for you, which isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem: there’s an ingredient we use call lecithin, which comes from a plant and helps adjust the mouthfeel and extend shelf life. That’s a natural derivative from a plant, but the one I use is sunflower lecithin, whereas in most mass-produced foods, they’ll use soy lecithin. I don’t use soy in any of my products because from the research I’ve done, it doesn’t seem like a good addition to our food. Soy or soya is the most genetically modified product in the world, lots of people are allergic to it and it’s usually processed with a lot of chemicals. It’s the same with palm oil, I prefer not to use it. It’s important for me to run an ethical and sustainable business. We’ve already got a myriad of plant-based oils to use, and destroying the rainforest to harvest this product is just unnecessary.
"It's important for me to run an ethical and sustainable business"
What other values is your business built on?
We strive for our ingredients to be natural, plant-based, and good for you, using nothing artificial. I also try to be as sustainable as I can, so all my packaging is made from recycled materials. For instance, my truffle boxes are made from recycled card, and I don’t use any more materials than I have to. I try to avoid plastic unless it can be recycled or can biodegrade. The pot I make my cheesecakes in is a biodegradable one that will only take up to three months. When I send orders out to people, I include a pamphlet where I ask them to recycle all the packaging that the order comes with, and I make suggestions of how to reuse them, like using the boxes as jewellery boxes or using the ribbons to gift-wrap.
What’s the meaning behind the name ‘Abundance Foods’?
I believe there is an abundance of resources for humans on this planet, that there’s more than enough for everybody. There is an abundance, and yet we’ve been taught that there’s a lack of some key resources and that some people aren’t entitled to things like clean water or electricity. And with food, it’s really the way in which we manage our food resources that’s bad. The way that we grow food leads to excessive food waste to the point that, in this country and many other developed nations, we throw away a third of the food we buy. There’s no reason for people to be starving in some countries while others are dying from obesity-related diseases.
"There is an abundance of resources... yet we've been taught that some people aren't entitled to things like clean water or electricity"
Can you talk a little about the products you offer?
I offer a range of truffles, which are made from 70% dark, raw chocolate. As I’m sure most people know, the more heat you apply to plant-based ingredients, the more you destroy the healthy nutrients and vitamins in them. That’s why most of my recipes are raw recipes, and I’ll always apply the minimum amount of heat. I use Theobroma cacao, which comes as a block of chocolate from a raw chocolate company, and then I slowly melt that and put it into moulds and add my fillings. It’s a healthy form of chocolate that balances out the sweetness of the truffle fillings. I also use unrefined sugars in all my recipes because these are the natural ingredients that our bodies know how to process and break down.
And I make things like salted caramel sauce, energy balls, granola bars, fully loaded flapjacks, just things that people like to snack on. I find one of the things that makes people trip up on the road to being healthy are ‘snack times’, those stretches of time in the morning and afternoon when you get hungry and reach for unhealthy things. Most of my treats are also vegan and gluten-free, so there’s no ingredients slowing you down or making you feel bad. I think vegans and healthy eaters have been missing out for too long because all too often, whether it’s in supermarkets or in restaurants, the dessert or treat options are just lazy. People are slowly waking up to the fact that veganism isn’t a fad and that it’s not just about what people are eating, it’s also about the impact certain diets have on the planet. People are realising that we’ve been misled about fossil fuels being the biggest threat to our planet, or pollution from transport or whatever else. The thing that’s having the worst impact on our planet is our food production system. And the pandemic has put a spotlight on that too, because so many recent diseases and outbreaks have come from human interactions with animals, or from eating animals.
"Veganism isn't a fad and it's not about what people are eating, it's about the impact diets have on the planet. What's having the worst impact on our planet is our food production system."
I also think that one of the reasons people can be reluctant to become vegetarian or vegan, or just to cut down on the consumption of some things, isn’t because they don’t want to. It’s because it can be hard to find good alternatives to the things you love to eat. People don’t want to feel deprived in their alternatives, or like they’re making a compromise. And while it’s true that right now, those alternatives are more expensive to produce and using the healthiest ingredients is more costly, it will become more accessible as time goes on and demand rises. I want everyone to have access to healthy, organic, tasty foods. I believe that what you eat doesn’t just affect you physically, but psychologically and spiritually as well, so it’s so important to pay attention to what you put in your body.
Find out more about Abundance Foods here.