Pantry

7 of Our Favorite Ethical Brands to Keep in the Kitchen in 2021

From high-quality wine to sustainable cleaning products, we’ve got you covered.

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December 28, 2020
Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.

We teamed up with A to Z Wineworks to highlight companies that not only do good, but also make great products. From our favorite baking staples to the bright and fruity Bubbles we're toasting 2021 with, every product on this list comes from a certified B Corp—aka companies that maintain the highest standards of economic, environmental, and social responsibility.


If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in media (and from being a consumer myself), it’s that there’s been a definitive shift in the way people make purchases and fill their homes with products. While ease and convenience were the driving forces of consumption for decades, the practices leading to such mass production left us feeling…a little guilty. Luckily, many companies now put transparency and ethics at the forefront of their missions, and one of the easiest identifiers for a brand you can trust is a B Corp certification.

Simply put, a Certified B Corporation is one that balances purpose and profit. These companies are held to a higher standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, according to B Lab, the nonprofit that provides the B Corp certification. Companies are evaluated based on their supply chains and input materials, as well as facets like charitable giving and employee benefits.

Taking this into account, we’ve rounded up a few of our most-favorite ethical companies—from feel-good wines to equitable cheese—that are worth trying in 2021.

1. Bee’s Wrap

Something I’m very focused on in the new year is reducing my environmental impact by cutting back on single-use products as much as possible. One of the first big switches I made in my kitchen was using Bee’s Wrap in place of plastic wrap, and I’ve never looked back. Hunks of cheddar, halves of lemons, and unfinished bowls of rice all get wrapped up neatly for safekeeping in the fridge. Plus, they’re just as easy to clean as any other kitchen item: all you need are soap and water.

2. A to Z Wineworks

While I’m a sucker for a funky Oregon pinot noir, I’m specifically stocking up on the perfect way to bid 2020 adieu—which is of course, lots of bubbly. A to Z Wineworks’ Bubbles blend is the cheeriest shade of pale pink (we all need a little cheer after this year), and is deliciously fruit- and floral-forward with a nicely balanced hint of creaminess. In honor of 2021, find me pouring myself a glass…or two.

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I also keep their versatile 2017 Pinot Noir—it goes with everything from seafood to sweet-and-savory snacks—and rich, citrusy 2019 Chardonnay handy for sipping with dinner throughout the week.

3. Grove Collaborative

As an online marketplace of sustainable household essentials, Grove Collaborative is home to some of my all-time favorite brands like Method, Burt’s Bees, and Mrs. Meyers, but I actually love their in-house brand the most. I’ve tried lots of plant-derived and eco-friendly cleaners, but Grove’s line of cleaning concentrates (with reusable glass spray bottles) are some of my favorite spray cleaners. It’s quite a comforting feeling to know that the solution I use to clean my stovetop and counters isn’t going to negatively affect my health.

4. King Arthur Baking Company

A longtime Food52 favorite, King Arthur has expanded far beyond flour, and their range of goods cover just about every need a home baker might have. From excellent spice blends to stunning bundt pans, they’re a one-stop shop for high-quality ingredients and bakeware.

5. Tillamook

What better way to enhance the flavor of bubbling wine than to pair it with expertly aged cheese? (Hint: There is no better way.) While I live for the classic combo of medium cheddar and salty cracker, I think this year I’ll treat myself to Tillamook's more complex (think: smooth, bold, buttery, crunchy, earthy) and decidedly more fancy 2010 Maker’s Reserve. Because I’m worth it, that’s why.

6. Stumptown Coffee

Another Oregon favorite (how does one state produce so many good things?), Stumptown makes some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. While I have indeed made the pilgrimage to Portland for an authentic cup, I also frequent their New York City locations, and brought home some fresh-roasted beans to replicate the experience with my French press. Oh, and don’t get me started on their oat milk blended cold brew or unparalleled merch collection.

7. Allagash

I have long had an affinity for sour beers, and no one does it better (in my opinion) than Maine-based brewery, Allagash. Their Belgian-style White is a staple of beer halls and bars across the country, but their limited-release brews are where it’s really at. If I could, I’d spend every weekend in their tasting room, sampling all the experiments they roll out, but instead, I’m stocking up with delivery or a stop at my local retailer.


Do you have a favorite B Corp company? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with A to Z Wineworks, we’re sharing products from B Corp companies that you can feel good about stocking your kitchens with in 2021 and beyond. Think: a reusable food wrap that'll make you ditch plastic wrap for good; sustainable cleaning products; and A to Z Wineworks' lineup of delicious, food-friendly wines that represent the essence of Oregon.

This post contains products selected by the Editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Janet Martin
    Janet Martin
  • Diana Maureen Sandberg
    Diana Maureen Sandberg
  • CelliSean
    CelliSean
  • Lynn D.
    Lynn D.
  • Smaug
    Smaug
Assistant Editor, Home52

6 Comments

Janet M. January 17, 2021
I had largely eliminated single use plastics from my life until last March, when reusable bags were pretty much banned in my community due to the risk of carrying contaminates into the stores. They have revised that a bit since, allowing us to bring our own grocery bags and then do the bagging ourselves, but no small produce bags allowed. I suspect it's the same in most communities, so those are only useful at the farmers' market
 
Diana M. January 15, 2021
Not a comment on the company in particular, but in general I have been very disappointed in the beeswax wraps and bags. Having anything that cannot be washed in hot water touching food is just foolish.
 
CelliSean January 1, 2021
+1 to Tillamook outsourcing from megafarms (primarily 5 or so driving hours east in the desert). That said, I grew up on Tillamook as far as block cheese goes. When buying cheese, go with a smaller creamery for better product and probably animal welfare as well.... Rogue River, also in Oregon, has won international awards for their blue wrapped in grape leaves soaked in pear brandy.

Since you're featuring Oregon brands here, I'd also like to toot a horn for Bob's Red Mill. They're employee owned and have a wide variety of products that make it easier for people looking for organic or special ingredients for dietary restrictions.

While the B Corporation certification is a neat thing, it's only recognizing one part of ethics in business..... You want to pay attention to employee treatment and compensation as well as how they source materials. Those are a little harder to just slap a label on and require consumers to do more homework though.... but it's worth it.
 
Lynn D. December 31, 2020
I really don't like the model of shipping items on a schedule. (Grove). I would like to be in control of when and how much I order. Also to call Tillamook an ethical company is a farce. They source their milk from mega farms that have been cited for pollution and flouting environmental regulations. If Tillamook is a B corporation, that whole rating system is a joke.
 
Smaug December 29, 2020
Ethical companies apparently have a high affinity for the overly monied.
 
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Caroline M. January 5, 2021
Smaug, you never fail to crack me up.