Ethical Business Spotlight: BReD

Welcome back!

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Ed and Natasha Tatton, Co-Founders of BReD! Discover how these two animal rights advocates create vegan, sustainably-made sourdough breads, baked goods, and espresso coffee drinks in the picturesque mountains of Whistler, British Columbia!

Natasha and Ed Tatton | Co-Founders of BReD | Credit: Darby Macgil

You founded your 100% plant-based organic sourdough bread shop with your husband Ed. What inspired you to create BReD and what is your mission?

Opening a bakery was a gradual realisation. Ed had often made sourdough bread in restaurants over the years so he implemented a sourdough program at the restaurant he was working at in Whistler. They had been buying in all their bread from another bakery at the time and this was an opportunity for the bistro to save money and produce a better quality loaf. Ed would experiment with new recipes at home and at work. Eventually, Ed asked his employer if he could rent the kitchen for a couple days a week to make and bake bread for family and friends.

BReD | Credit: Darby Magil

Natasha was a passionate animal rights advocate who had been teaching English for 15 years while also venturing into various food and beverage roles, nurturing her desire to establish a vegan eatery to provide more compassionate food choices for locals and tourists alike. Once the seed was planted that Ed should open a bread shop, Natasha decided to team up with her husband and found the BC Sea to Sky corridor’s first 100% plant-based bakery café.

Our mission to bake healthy naturally-leavened sourdough, wholegrain and plant-based products from scratch and baked fresh daily, which look and taste great, and make every eating experience more satisfying. We want people to prefer our offerings over animal-based products because our objective is to make veganism an easily-adopted and widely-recognised approach to reducing animal suffering and environmental damage.

We strive to create an atmosphere where we can attract, retain and motivate the brightest and most talented people in the industry; where employees can learn, grow, and innovate, while holding true to the roots of traditional baking.

BReD | Credit: Darby Magil

From hearty loaves of sourdough, to English flapjacks, cashew cheeze flatbreads, and hot chocolate with home-made coconut whip, BReD offers unique menu items that are sure to please vegans and non-vegans alike. What are your 3 favorite menu items and why?

Hot Cross Buns | BReD

Hot cross buns are so nostalgic of growing up and you can be quite creative with them. Last Easter, Ed made some with carrot in them, topped with an orange butter, and they were phenomenal! We tried selling them past Easter as they were so popular, but people’s buying habits change with the seasons so we all have to wait till next year.

Spinach + Sunflower Pesto Tartine | BReD

The tartine which is Natasha’s favourite has got to be the spinach + sunflower pesto one topped with roasted tomatoes. The crust is flaky like a croissant, and makes the most delicious lunch.

Our best selling loaf is the country sourdough. It’s a blend of organic wheat, rye and spelt flours, naturally leavened and people love it as it goes with anything – sweet or savoury. You just can’t go wrong with this loaf – it’s a crowd pleaser.

Country Sourdough | BReD | Credit: Darby Macgil

What has been the biggest challenge and biggest reward while working in the sourdough bread game?

In the Whistler winter, it gets down to -20°C in the village, which is especially challenging for sourdough because when the bakery doors are opening all day, the air is coming in and out. It’s quite a challenge to keep it consistent. We invested in a heating and cooling system, which generally keeps the shop at a constant temperature of around 22°C. In the summer, we’ll have extra air conditioning on as well, to try and keep it a little cooler.

Whistler, BC

Being in the mountains, it’s so dry during the winter and then gets so hot and humid through the summer. It really keeps Ed and the team on our toes that we have to adjust – it’s not the same recipe we use day in, day out – sometimes less water, sometimes more. We’ll use a slightly warmer water with the dough or slightly cooler water, to moderate how long the bread is fermented for. Sometimes you just have to wait, or you have to move quickly. Maybe you can go for a walk in the afternoon or maybe you get no lunch break and just keep working the whole day.

The reward is hearing people say “This is the best bread I’ve ever eaten!” or “I didn’t know I could eat bread until I ate your bread. This is the only bread I can eat!

Nestled at the base of Whistler mountain, a world premier ski resort, we get to enjoy natural beauty every day. The views outside the bread shop’s windows remind us how precious our planet is, and the privileges of clean air, water and fertile soils are not to be taken for granted. It is imperative that we preserve all we can for future generations to come.

Using organic locally-sourced grains encourages regenerative farming practices and we refrain from using glyphosate-sprayed monocultures which pillage the land. Most supermarket products travel approximately 2000km to reach the shelf from where they are made. Our grain travels around 10% of that distance to reach our facility and our local customers tend to live within a 7km radius. This reduces our carbon footprint substantially.

BReD | Credit: Mirae Campbell

Using plant-based ingredients means we are cutting out the environmental damage created by animal agriculture. 40% of agricultural emissions in Canada come directly from methane, with 90% from cattle and sheep as a result of feed digestion (according to http://www.agr.gc.ca ).

Plastic is a global problem and we do not want to contribute to it so our packaging is compostable. We believe that our local customers have the same environmental values and respect for the land as we do, and ultimately want to support businesses who contribute to a better world.

Even with compostable packaging, there is still the environmental cost of deforestation, transportation and production, and we spent our first year in business encouraging guests in dine-in when possible, and rewarded those who brought their own reusable cups with a discount.

Covid-19 gave us time to reflect on our sustainability impact, as well as a new challenge of heightened health and safety measures which favour single-use disposable items.

Vegan Baked Goods | BReD

How do you find balance between profitability, quality, and sustainability? What are some of BReD’s practices and policies to work towards a sustainable future?

We looked at our reusable discount metrics and found that less than 10% of customers were bringing their own cups anyway, and came up with a more impactful way to support both environmental and social sustainability.

Partnering with Trees for the Future, we now plant a tree for every coffee served. This way, we offset our carbon and environmental damage of compostable containers while lifting impoverished African farmers up (many of whom are women) funding a programme which gives these sub-Saharan families seedlings, tools and guidance to regenerate their degraded land and create forest gardens for food, shelter, firewood and an income.

Ultimately, the problem of world poverty has to be addressed before we can expect everyone to be on board with creating a more sustainable future for life on the planet. Therefore, we use a Vancouver-based coffee roaster who buys directly from farmers in developing countries.

Supporting local suppliers is more sustainable environmentally but also keeps the local economy going. Many people are looking to buy local more now, and the government has launched many campaigns encouraging this. If you have a good product of consistent quality, people will come back for it and won’t mind parting with their hard earned cash to get it.

Ed Tatton | Co-Founder of BReD

Many bakeries and cafes factor in 30% food wastage into their costs but we want to avoid any food waste by closely monitoring and controlling numbers to ensure all baked goods are consumed and not thrown out, even if it means offering an end-of-day deal or donating products occasionally.

What’s next for BReD?

It’s difficult year to make plans, but actually despite Covid-19 and a shift in consumer habits, we have found that overall our daily sales have improved since last year. This has given us the confidence to open for more days, and hire more staff to introduce new product lines and up the quantities of what we can currently produce.

We have strengthened our employee benefit program, so they will be even better supported from now on in terms of medical coverage and paid sick days, which of course, is a concern for many people during this pandemic.

We are also launching a fundraiser doggie treat with all profits donated to local animal sanctuaries who have not been able to host tours and events due to Covid-19, so need financial support more than ever.

One day, we would love to open another location in Vancouver, but still have more potential to reach in our Whistler store first.

BReD | Whistler, BC

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Thank you so much for checking out this Spotlight! Head on over to Instagram to support this inspiring ethical business!

Review: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar in Asheville, NC!

Hello, hello! I’m here to share my thoughts on a brand new café and juice bar in the cute and trendy West Asheville area!

Location: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar, 643 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806

Atmosphere: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar definitely draws you in. The overall vibe is laid-back, despite a steady stream of customers! The interior design is clean, comfortable, natural, and  minimalistic (totally my scene!). There’s seating at the bar along the window and cushioned seats in the main eating area. Upon ordering, we received a nice, friendly greeting from Suzie, one of the owners, who also let us know they would be launching some new seasonal items very soon. 

Food:  When I write these reviews, I usually take a few notes while I’m in the restaurant and wait a few days before posting. However, I enjoyed the food SO much, I wanted to post right away! You can find their menu here.

The first menu item I ordered was the Vegan Bahn Mi. Let me tell you, this sandwich was FULL of flavor and I couldn’t get enough! This bad boy featured house-made sietan that had a meaty, sausage-like flavor, tangy Vietnamese pickles, a nutty mushroom walnut paté, crunchy cucumbers and carrots, jalapeños and spicy mayo for some heat, and cilantro… all piled onto a fresh, soft roll. If I had more room in my stomach when I left, I would have ordered another!

Next, I tried the Supa Dupa Acai Bowl. I love a good smoothie bowl, I really do. I just don’t eat them very often because I don’t keep a ton of fresh fruit and toppings on hand. So, when I can get a great smoothie bowl, I truly appreciate it and this Supa Dupa did not disappoint! 

The base was a sweet Acai smoothie covered with bluebs, strawbs, and bananas. For some crunch, there were crispy coconut strips, chia seeds, and some sweet, cinnamon-y granola with pumpkin seeds. This bowl was fresh, healthy, and downright delicious!

Last, and not at all least, was the Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie! I honestly don’t know how this little gem was healthy, but it was! I made sure to ask if it was vegan, because the menu said it contained yogurt. Make sure you ask when you order and they can mostly likely create a vegan version, like they did for me.

Strawberries, bananas, cashew butter, vanilla almond milk, blended together and topped with graham cracker dust? Yes, please! I recommend ordering this for a sweet, rich dessert (it really did taste like cake!) or when you really want a healthy treat but don’t want to throw away all of those hours at the gym!

Dig it or Ditch it? Friends (deep breath), I must tell you Simple Cafe & Juice Bar has become one of my favorite places! Yes, the new kid in town has stolen my little vegan heart! I tend to return to the same handful of establishments because I know the food is great and I will be treated well.  The food, atmosphere, and service at Simple were exactly what I wanted it to be. Everything I ordered was fresh, healthy, and bursting with flavor. The owner and staff were friendly and helpful and the welcoming atmosphere will definitely make me return again soon. I 100% DIG IT!

I overheard they had vegan soup and faux lox and I can’t wait to try out their new seasonal items. I had my eye on their Carrot Cake Smoothie and some of their baked goods and coffee, so I’ll let you know how they are!

Thanks for checking out my Vegan Treasure Hunt! Please follow me on Instagram @VeganTreasureHunter

Eat Your Coffee Bars… Delicious Vegan Bars with a Caffeine Kick!

Company: Newgroundsfood.com

Products:

Mocha Latte Coffee Bar

Coconut Mocha Coffee Bar

Caramel Macchiato Coffee Bar

Review:

Calling all coffee addicts… there’s a new kid in town! Eat Your Coffee Bars contain a cup of coffee in each bar! They’re vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with fair trade coffee!

When it comes to coffee, I’m slightly (and by “slightly” I mean VERY) picky. It needs to be smooth, not too bitter, and of course, it better wake me up!

I recently started a new job that requires me to wake up incredibly early and commute about 40 minutes to get there. So, even making coffee before I leave can throw off my schedule and make me late. That’s why I am so happy to have found these Eat Your Coffee Bars! I don’t need to make my coffee, I just eat a bar!

The Mocha Latte Coffee Bar is made with dates, gluten-free oats, almond butter, and dark chocolate. It is chewy, sweet, and full of chocolate-y coffee flavor. The dark chocolate chips really amp up the mocha flavor and cashews give it some crunch, making this a seriously delicious pick me up!

The Caramel Macchiato Coffee Bar actually tastes like a fancy drink that would cost you around $7.00 at Starbucks! The sweetness of the dates and the subtle bitterness of the coffee are in perfect balance. Yum!

The Coconut Mocha CoffeeBar is my favorite! It is chewy like the others and has a sweet coconut flavor that is absolutely mouthwatering. It also has brown rice and quinoa  to make it crunchy and satisfying. The combo of coconut, dark chocolate, and coffee really can’t be beat!

The Bottom Line

Eat Your Coffee Bars are delicious, good for you and will actually wake your a$$ up! Whether you’re a coffee addict (like myself) or just want a healthy, easy way to get energized, these bars are for you! To make things even better, this company is part of The Chain Collaborative, a non-profit that supports coffee producers in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Awesome!

Thank you, Eat Your Coffee, for sending me these fantastic bars to review! I highly recommend them!

Fivesso Coffee Scrub Reviews

Company: Fivesso

Products:

Mint Coffee Premium Coffee Scrub 4 oz. $15.99 USD

Lavender Premium Coffee Scrub 4 oz. $15.99 USD

Cinnamon Premium Coffee Scrub 4 oz. $14.99 USD

Reviews:

If you love coffee, you'll really dig these scrubs! They're made of natural, organic ingredients and smell like a dream!

The Mint Coffee Premium Coffee Scrub smells like sweet, refreshing mint and freshly brewed coffee. The Cinnamon Premium Coffee Scrub is probably my favorite scent. It's smells just like a cinnamon latte and reminds me a little bit of Autumn and cooler weather. The Lavender Premium Coffee Scrub is an interesting scent combination. Who would have thought that lavender and coffee would smell nice together? Well, it works!

The coffee grounds make these scrubs abrasive enough to remove dead skin cells to make your skin nice and smooth, without being too rough or irritating. Coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and cocoa butter really work together to moisturize the skin. You're left smelling delicious with skin that is radiant, hydrated and healthy. I really liked using these scrubs in the morning. The smell of coffee perks me right up!

The Bottom Line

These scrubs smell fantastic and really do a great job smoothing and moisturizing the skin. These would also be perfect to use before applying self tanner or pampering dry feet. These scrubs contain honey, so they may not be suitable for all vegans.

Thank you, Fivesso, for sending me these samples to review!

Pure Stella Skin Care Review 

Company: Pure Stella Skin Care

 “Pure Stella Skin Care creates handcrafted products to nourish and protect your skin naturally. Our line of botanical and essential oil based products includes luxurious lotion sticks, moisturizing and cleansing oils, clarifying masks, and exfoliating scrubs to enlighten your skin. With no harsh chemicals and artificial fragrance, your skin will smile with Pure Stella.”

The products reviewed are vegan and cruelty free.

Products: 

Vanilla Latte Coffee Scrub (4 oz. bag, $20.00 USD)

Coffee Infused Eye Serum (1/3 oz., $14.00 USD)

Reviews:

Calling all coffee junkies… here’s a way to get your fix and help your skin at the same time!


I drink a vanilla latte almost everyday, so I just had to try the Vanilla Latte Coffee Scrub! Organic sugar makes this a great exfoliator to get rid of dead skin cells. The coffee almond oil leaves your skin smooth and moisturized. My favorite thing about this scrub is the smell! As you scrub away in a warm shower, the bathroom fills with a sweet delicious coffee scent. This scrub is truly any coffee addict’s dream!


The Coffee Infused Eye Serum comes in a convenient roller ball that easily glides the product onto your skin. It has a unique coffee/herbal scent and a thin consistency so it absorbs quickly. The coffee infused sweet almond oil, along with rose hip, jojoba, and hazelnut oil nourish the delicate skin around the eyes. After using this product, I noticed that my undereyes were moisturized and “perked up” due to the caffiene. I do not suffer from puffy eyes, so I can’t speak about this product’s tightening abilities, but I do feel like my eyes look more awake when I use this eye serum.

The Bottom Line

Pure Stella Skin Care creates naturally effective products that smell delicious and actually work… all without harming animals! What’s not to love? Turn your shower into the best smelling coffee shop around with the Vanilla Latte Coffee Scrub or add a little zip to your skin care routine with the Coffee Infused Eye Serum! Let me know how you like it!


Thank you, Pure Stella Skin Care, for providing me with these products to review!