• Nationwide Delivery
  • Next Day Delivery Available
  • Friendly Customer Service
  • Worker Co-Operative

What we value at Essential

The Essential Team putting together goodie bags outside at the Essential Open Day in 2023

We Value Our Ethics

  • We are opposed to the exploitation of animals. All of our products are vegetarian and largely plant-based.
  • We attempt to minimise our impact on the environment as much as possible. All of our products are shipped by land or sea, never by air. This was a precedent we set on the first day of trading.
  • Our warehouse is fitted with solar panels that generate clean, green energy. Any additional energy needed to run our sites comes from 100% renewable sources. We even have a carbon-neutral website hosting service!
  • We strive to minimise packaging and use ecological variants wherever possible. We have introduced paperless invoicing for our customers, and any paperwork that does require printing is done on recycled paper. The shrink wrap we use to bind our products for delivery is made of recycled plastic, and we return it for further recycling. Reducing plastic in our retail packs remains an ongoing project.
  • We have partnerships with some of the most dynamic organic food producers, giving the Essential brand a little extra kudos. The long-standing relationship with the co-operatives in the Marche farming region of Italy awards our customers with the finest tinned tomatoes, pesto, and a range of pastas that are only available through us.

Bristol Local Food Fund team with placards and fresh fruit and vegetable boxes

We Value Our Community

  • We are constantly reviewing our range to support zero waste. We do our very best to ensure any food that is fit for consumption but that we cannot sell, for whatever reason, is directed to charities, food banks, and community centres in Bristol and the wider South West.
  • We support many charities in the South West. Some of these charities include Marmalade Trust, St. Michael’s Maternity Hospital, FareShare South West, The Hatch Camphill Community, Eastville Park Food Club, Bristol Local Food Fund, and the League Against Cruel Sports.
  • At Essential, we know the importance of locally grown food and the positive impact it has on our community. We are proud to support local growers, and at the end of 2022, we worked with Sims Hill Shared Harvest to finance vegetable boxes for residents of Bristol who otherwise may not have access to nutritious, seasonal, and locally grown food.
  • We have teamed up with the charity project Trees for Streets to green Bristol, our home city, through tree planting. This partnership is personal, as it honours much-loved colleagues who have sadly passed away.

Kate and David at Essential in front of a delivery truck holding Essential tote bags

We Value Our Co-operative

  • We are owned and operated by our workers. We make decisions democratically to ensure everyone has an equal say in how our business is run.
  • Recognition as a Living Wage employer is central to our work ethics. As a co-operative organisation, we believe in a structured and fair pay scale, one where all workers are introduced at the same rate and further offered membership to the employee-owned business after a six-month period.

We strive to stick to the 7 Co-operative Principles:

  • Essential is owned and controlled by our voluntary members.
  • We are democratic. This means every member has an equal say in how we run our business and how profits are used.
  • Every member contributes financially in some way.
  • We are an independent business owned and controlled by our members.
  • We offer education and training to all our workers so they can develop the co-op and promote the benefits of co-operation.
  • We co-operate, work with, and support other co-operatives.
  • We support our local community.