Part of the reason for starting Hard Bar was to try to do ‘the right thing’
What that ‘right thing’ is isn’t always obvious or easy. We are learning about it every day. But overall we seek to have a positive impact on people’s lives, from the farmers who grow our ingredients, to the people eating our bars having adventures they love.
- We believe in eating real food. (No additives. No fillers.) Keep it natural. Keep it healthy.
- We aim to create a great product in a sustainable fashion. If we don’t do that, we can’t make anything else can happen.
- We aim to be open, honest and transparent.
- We aim to give back to the community that nurtures us.
- We are passionate about health and wellness and seek to help our clients make informed choices.
- We care deeply about the environment. We want to make the most of this incredible playground that the earth offers us.
Every time we go out in the mountains we see how fast the glaciers are melting. The difference just in the time we’ve been in Chamonix is huge.
The impact of processed sugar is something we feel. The effect it has on children is very obvious.
Consumption for its own sake is not meaningful or fulfilling, serving only to prop up an arbitrary GDP number which seems to have distracted from the humanity of being human.
All of this seems pretty grandiose for a company peddling ‘energy’ bars huh. In some ways of course it is. But is also informs the small choices we make and direction we are travelling in.
Minimise waste, minimise packaging, maximise taste, maximise nutritional value.
To make energy bars that taste damn good, it starts with damn good ingredients.
As a starting point, we are very excited and proud to be working with some producers and suppliers that are as concerned as we are about doing the right thing as we are. All our ingredients are organic. And are fair trade whenever possible.
As a small start-up business dealing in low volumes, we have the advantage of being very selective when it comes to our suppliers.
Apples & Almonds
Mountain fruits is one such company. https://www.mfc-fairtrade.com/
We buy our apples and almonds from them in the Hunza Valley in the disputed Gilgit region of Northern Pakistan. They work with a co-operative of farmers called the Mountain Fruits Farmers Association. This is a network of over 6000 farmers, organised into over 110 growing groups, whose land is irrigated by the glacial melt of the Karakorum and Himalayan mountains.
As well as pre-financing and making Fairtrade purchases from farmers, Mountain Fruits (MF) also train farmers in best farming and post harvest practice. MF also run 2 factories where they grade and further process the dried fruits and nuts.
Over the years, Fairtrade premiums have been spent by the Farmers Association on books for community schools, a new playground, water tanks, a generator, sewing machines, school fees for the poorest students and irrigation upgrades.
Since 2010, the Sainsburys Fair Development Fund administered by Comic Relief has helped Mountain Fruits construct a new nut processing factory, to distribute improved almond seedlings to farmer members, and to conduct farmer training workshops to improve harvest yields.
When looking to develop new recipes in the future, working with the produce of Mountain Fruits is something that we are aiming to do.
Fairtrade organic cashews come to us from Gebana Afrique in Burkina Faso, West Africa, via our supplier in the UK. These are purchased from seventeen different rural co-operatives and associations in the south of the country.
As well as supplying cashews, Gebana Afrrique also produce and process mangoes, something which doesn’t feature in our recipes at the moment.
The vast majority of people working on the mangoes and cashews are women.
Mango and cashews brings three fold benefit to the cooperatives.
The fresh fruit farmers benefit from sales, the women doing the processing gain from paid employment. Then in addition, there is the Fairtrade social premium which benefits the whole community.
Adult literacy, new water sources, bicycles and cereal banks are just some examples of what the social premium has been spent on by co-operatives.
Since 2009, Comic Relief have funded a project under their Trade Programme to develop Biogas as an energy source for the Mango drying Cooperatives, to improve the overall efficiency of mango drying technology, to tackle mango pests, and to reduce the use of wood as fuel in cashew processing.
Our supply partners in the UK are currently working on a cashew project – courtesy of funding from Comic Relief. The project is helping new producer groups to begin cashew processing for the very first time – the cashew processing facility will also include the waste-to-energy heat generation and associated drying systems designed by the field team.
The team is also helping the group to develop very simple, low-cost technology to enable them to produce their own charcoal using excess cashew shell waste. This will reduce the use of firewood being used, and also enable the women to improve their finances by selling excess charcoal to generate additional income.
The main objective of the project the field team is working on is actually to increase the yield of cashews generally – and since pollination has such big impacts on yield, they are also introducing training on bee-keeping. The honey is an added bonus that the women from the cooperatives can sell, consume or both.
Our beautiful organic dates come to us from Gebana BV, hard-working producers in Tunisia. The dry, hot climate makes fertile grounds for delicious dates. Gebana BV has made significant investments in food processing operations as well as in the education and training of the organic farmers. They are also working on water conservation projects.
We seek to work with the finest producers and organisations like those above as much as possible. We support farming communities and encourage their sustainable growth. Here at Hard Bar, we continually look at ways to improve our processes and seek to bring you the most sustainable products available.