Ethical shoppers guide to Baking Flour

Ethical shoppers guide to Baking Flour


This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

Research Report Download - includes all the detailed research behind this buyers' guide.

Download this Report now (£3 or free to subscribers).
Free sample report & A-Z list

We take a look at the companies grinding flour

The report includes:

  • ethical and environmental ratings for 19 brands of flour
  • Best Buy recommendations
  • which flour companies are involved in biofuels
  • which brands are organic
  • price comparison of the brands
  • which brands are ground by windmills or waterpower

Customise the scorecard ratings

Click the + icon to expand categories

To save your personal score settings and use them elsewhere around the site, please  Log In.

 

Help

Score Ratings

Our ratings are live updated scores from our primary research database. They are based on primary and secondary research across 23 categories - 17 negative categories and 6 positive ones (Company Ethos and Product Sustainability). Find out more about our ethical ratings

 

Score table

The score table shows simple numerical ratings out of 20 for each product. The higher the score, the more ethical the company.

Move the sliders to customise these scores. 

Click on a product name to see the stories behind the score (subscribers only). 

 

Full Scorecard

The Full Scorecard shows the 'black marks' for each product, by each of the 17 negative categories. The bigger the mark, the worse the score. So for example a big black circle under 'Worker Rights' shows that the company making this product has been severely criticised for worker abuses.

Scores start at 14.  A small circle means that half a mark is deducted, a large circle means that a full mark is deducted.

Marks are added in the positive categories of Company Ethos and the five Product Sustainability columns (O,F,E,S,A).  A small circle  means that half a mark is added, a large circle means that a full mark is added.

The Full Scorecard is only available to subscribers. Click on the More Detail link at the top of the score table to access it.

 

Customising Rating Scores

Move the sliders to change the weighting given to each category. You can open up each of the 5 main categories by clicking on the + sign. This way you can compare products according to what's ethically important to YOU.  

 

Saving Your Customised Weightings

You must be signed-in to save your customisations. The weightings you have given to each category will be saved premanently (subscribers) or only for this visit to the site (registered users).  Once set, they will be used to calculate the scores in all the buyers' guides that you view. 

 

Stories and Data behind the scores

To see all the stories and research data behind the ratings you'll need to be a subscriber.

You must be signed-in to save your customisations. The weightings you have given to each category will be saved premanently (subscribers) or only for this visit to the site (registered users).  Once set, they will be used to calculate the scores in all the buyers' guides that you view. 

 

Stories and Data behind the scores

To see all the stories and research data behind the ratings you'll need to be a subscriber.

How the Sliders work
Move the sliders to see how different issues affect the score table
Refine each category by clicking the + icons
Save your settings (you need to be signed in first)
Key to expanded Score table

Best Buys

as of July/August 2008


As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that company ratings on the ethiscore website may have changed since this report was written.


Bacheldre Watermill organic flour (01588 620489) is ground using ancient stones in a mid-Wales mill.

Glebe Farm organic flour (01487 773 282) is ground in Cambridgeshire - sometimes using local windmills.

Little Salkeld Watermill (01768 881523) sell a range of organic and biodynamic certified flour ground in its Cumbrian watermill.

Doves Farm organic flour is best of the more widely available brands because of its commitment to organic farming through its entire product range.


Flour Power

Rob Harrison and Arwa Aburawa look at how UK consumers buying flour are slowly changing the faceof agriculture towards a more sustainable future.

In a new age of anxiety over food and fuel shortages the BBC News website recently featured an article on how to grow your own wheat and grind it into flour.(1) And while most of us can't go to these lengths, one question we wanted to explore was the extent to which flour suppliers were involved in the shift to biofuels behind some of these concerns. Do any of the common brands of flour come from the huge agribusinesses accused of diverting crops from food plates to car engines, causing hunger and food riots? Of the brands on the table we found evidence that only one, Allinson, was clearly linked to biofuels projects through its parent company British Sugar.(2)

The companies supplying flour to UK consumers split fairly neatly into four distinct groups:
The super-ethical brands: Glebe Farm, Little Salkeld and Bacheldre offer genuinely sustainable organic products ground with ancient technologies of wind and water power.

The family milling firms: Matthews, Marriages and Shipton Mill are medium sized traditional firms supplying bakeries and consumers with growing organic ranges.

The big flour millers: Premier Foods (new owner of Rank Hovis McDougall) and Allinson have dominant but declining market shares because of their failure to offer organic options.(3)

The supermarket own-brands: Waitrose discloses the manufacturer of its own-brand organic flour and therefore is ranked differently from the other companies on the table.


PRICE COMPARISON

All the companies on the table produce a very wide range of flours. There are spelt flours, gluten-free flours, wholemeal flours, short flours, bread-making flours and many more.
For the price element of this report we concentrated on plain white flour and organic where possible. It is interesting to note that quite a few ethical choices are actually cheaper than the best-selling brands of Homepride and McDougalls.

Brand Average Price per Kg
Sainsbury 24p
Asda 50p
Hovis 57.2p
Morrisons Organic 80p
Allinson 82.4p
Waitrose Organic 83p
Tesco Organic 95p
Doves Farm Organic (Best Buy) 96p
Cotswold Organic 97p
Homepride £1.02
Carrs £1.02
Be-Ro £1.03
McDougalls £1.06
Marriages Organic £1.19
Shipton Mill Organic £1.26
Bacheldre Watermill (Best Buy) £1.32
Glebe Farm Organic (Best Buy) £1.50
Little Salkeld Watermill (Best Buy) £1.63


References

1 World warned on food price spiral 10th March 2008 BBC News website 2 The Ecologist March 2007 3 Mintel Home Baking August 2006 4 www.carrs-milling.com viewed 18/6/08 5 www.dovesfarm.co.uk viewed 18/6/08 6 Office of Fair Trading statement 25/4/2008

Navigate To: