Supermarket Sweep: Finding Real Food In The Aisles

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If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been harping on a lot recently about the importance of real food, real ingredients and paying closer attention to the ingredients list on packaged food. Not because we want to encourage calorie counting or restricting ingredients and not because we want you to check for gluten or dairy but because we think it’s important to understand exactly what is in our food. We’re so used to walking into a supermarket and seeing aisle after aisle of long shelf lifes, ‘perfect’ food and jars of anything and everything that don’t need refrigerating that it doesn’t really cross our minds as to how exactly it all gets here (and why it can stay here for over 2 years in some cases).  You can read a little more about preservatives, hidden ingredients and what we put in our food on the blog, but today we’re here to celebrate the guys that are bringing food round the full circle and back to a place where the ingredients lists are recognisable and the ethos a little more about passion than profit. Call it our little black book of eating real food when you don't time time to prep everything yourselves and don't live near a whole foods.

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MEALS

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It goes without saying that of course our no.1 preference is our own meals - we started the business because we couldn't find what we wanted on the market after all. All of our meals are prepped by chefs, in a kitchen rather than a factory and they're made from 100% natural, fresh ingredients - sourced locally where possible and organic where possible. 

Find them: Ocado, Whole Foods + Planet Organic

Daylesford
Before we started Pollen, Daylesford were our absolute go-to for pre-prepared food, and we still see their name as a mark of quality. Yes, they're a little pricey, but you get what you pay for.

Find them: Ocado or London-based stores

   THE 'COOK' KITCHEN

THE 'COOK' KITCHEN

COOK
A year or so ago we visited the 'COOK' kitchens and our admiration for them instantly tripled. All their products are still very much made by hand, assisted by machinery that they have had custom made to perfectly match the action of a human. It's amazing to see and we swear the product tastes even better once you know it's made with such care. 

Find them: They have 87 stores across the UK

Charlie Bighams 
Charlie Bigham's is another #companygoals of ours - whilst their food is focused on indulgence rather than 'health', their passion and commitment to quality needs a round of applause. As with COOK, everything is still made in-house by hand and you can really tell. Our founders mum keeps a stockpile of their lasagna in her freezer for 'emergencies' and swears it's the cure to a bad day. 

Find them: Ocado and Waitrose

SNACKS

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Us again (hey). But in all seriousness, we've been struggling with a lack of natural ingredients in the snack market as recently as last year so the development of our new super squares was based on filling this gap. They taste really good, leave you 100% satisfied and have no 'iffy' ingredients in them. Some are date sweetened, some are maple sweetened, all are completely natural so we hope there's an option every can feel happy about. 

Find them: Launching 29th June at Planet Organic (with world domination soon to follow) 

MightyBee Bananito 
We have to quote the product description on this one because it's just too good not to: "bananas grown in a chemical free environment in rural Thailand and slowly tanned under a sustainable solar dome to keep its nutrients intact". Have you ever heard a sentence more perfect? The innovation is amazing, the taste is great and they're less than £1. We eat a lot of these - kudos to you MightyBee. 

Find them: Ocado  

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"bananas grown in a chemical free environment in rural Thailand and slowly tanned under a sustainable solar dome to keep its nutrients intact"

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Freaks Of Nature
These guys are probably the brand we're most obsessed with at the moment - they managed to swoop in and cover the board of amazing taste, actual good ingredients (as in no sneaky soy or sugar or natural flavourings) and a whole bunch of great stockists so you don't have to rely on being near a whole foods to get a decent dessert. If you're yet to try, you should definitely try. 

Find them: Ocado, Tesco, Waitrose

GATO
Last year we had the chocolate fondant pots (ok, pots) for Christmas Day dessert because they're just that good (and we were so shocked/ecstatic to find them in a Sainsbury's in the middle of the countryside). 

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NOT TO MENTION, The fact you can now get a honey sweetened, gluten and dairy free chocolate dessert made with aubergine in a major supermarket surpasses us.

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Find them: Ocado

Deliciously Ella
There's not many 'healthy snacks' we have time for (after a few too many hard-enough-to-cause-injury date bars we pretty much gave up) but the Deliciously Ella oat bars are a refreshing change. The ingredients list is impressively simple and those all important things like flavour and texture are clearly thought out. When in need, these have our backs. 

Find them: Tesco, Ocado

Livia's Kitchen
The Biccy Boms by Livia's Kitchen again break the boundary that so many healthy snack bars fit into e.g. dates and nuts just mushed together. They've become a bit of a saviour when we're not in London and in need of a biscuit (you'd be surprised at how often we find ourselves in this situation) and it's refreshing to see supermarkets opening up to something that was previously so hard to find. 

Find them: Tesco, Sainsburys, Boots, WHSmith, Ocado 

DRINKS

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Kombucha Kat
Whilst we're loyalists to so many kombucha brands, it's great to see a small-batch brewer finally break through into the supermarket scene - we know how hard it is to convince stores on something that isn't 'the norm' so hats off to these guys. Small batch brewed, low sugar, non-pasteurised kombucha no matter where in the UK you are? Times are changing and we couldn't be happier 

Find them: Ocado 

Purearth 
When we met the founders of Purearth, we were blown away by both the knowledge and science that goes into their kefirs and juice shots, but also the quality of every single thing that goes in them. They taste amazing but most importantly the brand is dedicated to creating a product that genuinely really loves your body. 

Find them: Ocado

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