BetterBody Foods: Organic Chia Seeds

overall Rating:

1.75

planets

Kaitlyn Murphy
7/13/2021
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Organic chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. BetterBody Foods’ mission is to source the best natural ingredients that they are able to share with their family and customers. It is great to see their website also including a guide to beginners composting, vegan and keto recipes, and gluten free desserts. Although chia seeds habitually have a low water footprint and do not require pesticides, BetterBody is not transparent enough about their production methods despite highlighting their care for humanity and the natural environment.

what it's made of:

2.75

This product only contains organic chia seeds certified by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. BetterBody chia seeds are non-GMO, keto, paleo, vegan, and gluten free. Per serving chia seeds contain 5g of protein, 37% of your daily fiber, and 5,350mg of omega-3 fatty acids. They have a variety of nutritious health benefits including that they may lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation, reduce blood sugar, and prevent blood clots. Specifically, due to high levels of soluble fiber and mucilage, which is why wet chia seeds expand and form a gooey texture, this fiber can help lower cholesterol and slow digestion, helping decrease blood sugar spikes and foster a feeling of fullness. Another benefit of chia seeds is that they are easy to incorporate into your diet. Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and can be added to cereal, puddings, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, rice, vegetables, and baked goods. They have even been known to be a great egg substitute for a plant-based alternative in a recipe. 

how it's made:

1.5

BetterBody chia seeds originate from Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and/or Peru. The BetterBody website has a “How It’s Made” section that states that their chia seeds are organically grown and picked, naturally cleaned, shifted and tested for impurities, and finally packed in their Utah facility. This is very vague information that does not disclose any of their harvesting practices, what “naturally cleaned” means, how their laborers are treated, and their transportation methods. It is not enough to provide the bare minimum information on how their items are produced. BetterBody states that they use a sustainable production process known as “The Circle of Better Life,” but also fail to be transparent on what exactly this includes. Although the name sounds environmentally friendly, there is a lack of information around their production methods. This is especially disappointing for a company that advertises that their goal is to source the best natural ingredients and give their customers better food choices.

Although BetterBody does not reveal enough information about how their products are made, chia seeds are generally a sustainable food in itself. Specifically, chia seeds have a low water footprint because they grow well in an arid climate and require little irrigation or maintenance. Pesticides are not needed for chia seeds to grow and the oils in them repel insects naturally. Therefore, they produce no known damage to the environment. However, since BetterBody sources their chia seeds from South America this may increase their carbon footprint depending on their method of transportation.

who makes it:

2

BetterBody Foods was founded by Stephen Richards in Lindon, Utah. Richards has a family history of diabetes and created BetterBody Foods to produce nutritious foods that he could share with his family. The 150 employees of BetterBody have a deep care for the environment and encourage giving back to the planet. Locally, in Utah of April 2019 the BetterBody community celebrated Arbor Day by planting trees and cleaning up local parks. It would be great to see BetterBody having an annual Arbor Day celebration in Utah that includes even more members of their community.

BetterBody Foods is involved with the Community of Hope International in the Dominican Republic. They support a medical facility that was formed by one of the BetterBody board members with the mission of creating a future “where everyone has affordable, accessible healthcare and education.” BetterBody provides monetary resources and has made trips to the Dominican Republic to help distribute goods including 1,800 feminine hygiene kits, 1,500 personal hygiene kits, and 1,600 sporting equipment items. BetterBody has coined the idea of “The Circle of Better Life.” This is described as helping the Community of Hope create economic opportunities and jobs that raise the living standards that will help BetterBody further make monetary and service contributions.

Although BetterBody clearly cares about social justice issues and giving back to their community, they have not revealed any of their labor practices. Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries due to health and safety concerns, such as exposure to toxic chemicals and the sun, inadequate wages, lack of labor laws, and unsafe machinery. Even if their employees in Utah are treated in a fair and equitable way, BetterBody must review their labor standards for the farmers that harvest their chia seeds and other products.