Ethical Fry Up

Last updated: April 2016 


How ethical can you make the all-day breakfast?

The English breakfast need not be the preserve of meat-eaters and the environmentally unaware.

The least ethical aspect of a full English breakfast is the meat element so Meat free May seems a good time to experiment with an ethical fry-up.

veggie breakfast 

Pig farming produces 11 kg CO2 equivalent per kg of product e.g. bacon or sausage. This compares with 6 kg CO2 for Quorn or 2 kg CO2 for soya.

Of course this is in addition to the various animal rights and welfare arguments that make eating meat a big no no for many ethical shoppers.


But don't despair there are plenty of tasty veggie options available.

In our guide to Veggie Sausages and Burgers, our Best Buy companies Veggies, Dragonfly, VBites (VegiDeli), Life Foods (Taifun) and Fry’s all produce vegan sausages.  VBites also produce Cheatin' bacon.  



Breaking eggs

After recent revelations from PETA over the treatment of free range hens (and their unfortunate male offspring) it seems the most ethical option is to ditch the eggs as well. 



In theory free range and organic hens live in sheds but can also go outside during daylight hours, where they often have trees and shrubs for shelter. Sadly this doesn't always seem to be the case.

Organic hens are limited to smaller flocks, given extra space both indoors and out, and their beaks are not usually trimmed. Soil Association organic eggs have the highest welfare standards and this is clearly the better option for those who want to stick with eggs.

Of all the supermarket own brands, The Co-op, M&S and Waitrose will only sell free range or organic boxes of eggs.



Baked Beans

Geo Organics Fairtrade beans are an Ethical Consumer Best Buy. They are produced by Venture Foods, a small independent company based in Shropshire. All the companies products are vegetarian and the vast majority are organic. They are the only company to offer Fairtrade baked beans which come from a group of farmers in Inner Mongolia.

They are available from Waitrose, or mail order from Essential Trading and Suma Wholesale. 



Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Potatoes

There are a number of companies that sell organic tinned tomatoes that were Best Buys on our rankings table. These are Mr Organic, Biona, Suma and Essential.



A great way to get your fresh veg is through a box scheme

There are an estimated 500+ veg box schemes in the UK. Two, Riverford and Able & Cole, run nationally but most serve local markets. 

You will soon be able to find your local scheme on the Soil Association website. 

If you're buying from a supermarket, the Co-operative and M&S are best buys in this sector. You can read more about supermarkets in our special report. 



The oily goodness

You can't have a fry up without oil. Lard and dripping are out (does anyone still use these?) so the most likely candidates are vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil or olive oil.

We'd go with olive oil so that we could support Palestinian farmers by purchasing from Zaytoun. This co-op was founded in 2004 to support the resilience and livelihoods of Palestinian farmers under Israeli occupation through fairly trading their olive oil. A fair trade company and member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), Zaytoun also supports a model of agriculture that is naturally organic, sustainable and that is “rooted in time and tradition”.



Bread 'n' spread

No fry-up is complete without a nice slice of hot toast or fried bread.

We recommend finding your local, independent, organic, bakery through the Real Bread Finder. 

bread and butter

We recommend Biona or Suma margarine for your toast. Biona only produce organic products and the palm oil they use is also certified organic (you won't find a marg that doesn't contain palm oil). Suma also has a positive palm oil policy and are a workers' co-operative.

If you can't resist a bit of butter, Yeo Valley Organic butter comes out top in our ethical shopping guide. 


So there you have it, while you may not get an ethical breakfast down your local greasy spoons, it is possible to go green in your own kitchen. Roll on Sunday morning...



Share your breakfast ideas


Avocado on toast or beans and hash browns? What's your favourite ethical or veggie breakfast? Share your tasty breakfast ideas on our forum.






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