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The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.

Thomas Berger

The world of intelligent plants and fungi and their application to health is captivating and stirring for most. As with anything new and engaging, a lot of fun and relevant questions arise.

Below you will find some frequently asked questions and our answers to them. If you can’t find the questions or answer you are looking for and would like to ask another or contribute (we don’t know everything) we would love to hear from you.


Why is your packing black when others are transparent?
We use black packaging because most food products are degraded by light. Black packaging significantly slows the natural degradation of food products, leaving you with a fresher, more effective product.
What is an Anti-oxidant?
An Anti-oxidant is a molecule that prevents another molecule from oxidising. When oxygen is metabolised in the body it creates 'free radical' molecules, these free radicals steal electrons from other molecules/cells causing damage. This damage can occur in proteins, fats, other cells and even our DNA. We need some free radicals to function normally, but as with anything, it's a balancing act. Our bodies are wonderful at maintaining this balancing act every single day, flushing out cancerous cells (yes everyone has them) and fighting off the common cold. But if we overload ourselves with things that exacerbate the levels of free radicals, or, don't nourish ourselves to help flush them out, our bodies can't cope and we get sick, ideally this is just a common cold, but it can also lead to things like Cancer, DNA damage and heart disease (to name but a few).
Anti-oxidants can help neutralise the free radicals and so are an important addition to today's diet, because our surroundings are full of things that accelerate oxidation i.e. stress, smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution etc.
What is the difference between Cacao and cocoa?
Cacao, or Theobroma cacao, is the botanical name for the chocolate tree.
Theobroma is greek for “food of the gods” (theos—meaning “God”, broma— meaning “food”).
The name Cacao came from the native name of the plant in Mesoamerican languages, for example it was known as Kakaw in classic maya, tzeltal and k’iche. As the story goes—cacao was too difficult to say, so it was misinterpreted as cocoa and the name stuck. Well, until now! (Insert evil laugh—muhahaha.)
So, cacao and cocoa are both from the same plant, the difference typically lies in how they are processed—cocoa being more heavily so. Cocoa is usually blasted at much higher temperatures than cacao is, but that is not to say all cacao is raw—it isn’t. 
Basically, the name cacao can be adopted by any company wishing to market to a more health-savvy audience. So be careful, and look for organic products provided by companies who are proud of their suppliers and have full transparency with their consumers regarding the farming, processing and packaging of these magical, chocolatey friends of ours. 
Our cacao is from Peru, and all of the processes that it goes through can be found in each product’s description.
Our cacao is not all raw, as the temperatures are higher during the extraction of cacao butter and powder—see point below for more information.
What classifies as RAW food?
The temperature below which defines a product as raw can change depending on who you ask, or where you look. It can be anywhere between 30 and 45 ºC, typically.
We like to think that a raw food is defined by not being exposed to temperatures above that which humans can survive in.
As an example, Coconut Oil begins life in a coconut’s flesh, and the maximum temperature it is exposed to in the process of extracting it from the coconuts, all the way to arriving in your hands—from tree to jar—will determine whether or not it is classifiable as raw. 
So what is this magical temperature at which a product is no longer considered raw? Well, currently there is no legislation in Australia outlining what is raw when one is considering these types of food products. When these government organisations determine raw food, it is usually regarding raw meats, fish and chicken. Not much use to us!
Basically, it comes down to knowing what you are buying and what processes it has been through from seed to table. 
#knowyourfood
Why is your Cacao Powder and Butter not RAW?
When our Peruvian cacao is pressed in order to extract the cacao butter and leave behind what then becomes cacao powder, it is exposed to temperatures up to 60 ºC. It is not that hot, but it is still above the usual, and not particularly well-defined classifying temperature for raw foods. The separation of the two products is more defined in this process. But, it is a process none-the-less. Our cacao nibs and beans are not exposed to this process, and are—as such—raw. 
Since more cacao butter can be extracted, our Peruvian cacao powder is more dense in antioxidants and lower in fat. And, our cacao butter is more complex, and better tasting, due to the warmer processing—in our opinion. 
What does SEBS quality stand for?
SEBS stands for ‘sustainable, economical and brilliantly satisfying’. We realise the word sustainable is a bit used and abused, and has become a rather unattractive word in recent years. But, it rings true for us in its most fundamental sense. We want to be a part of the great movement of likeminded humans who wish to re-embrace the power of the natural world. This necessarily leaves us with one impetus—long term ecological balance. Mother nature is our god, in a sense. 
Economical is multifaceted in this context as we want to provide product that is affordable and delivers on quality—economical for you; whilst at the same time, we are careful not to waste resources in the globals sense—an economical manner of operation.
The brilliantly satisfying component of SEBS isn't intended to sound prescriptive (#youwillbesatisfied #wearebrilliant). It is, however, intended to be representative of how our products fascinate and inspire us with their colour and intelligence—brilliantly. And, how satisfying it is to be fully immersed in the world of nature, intuition and powerful plants. Oh golly it feels right!
Regarding the “quality” component of SEBS quality… Well, we just think it sounds pretty neat. (Oh, and of course, and our stuff is of high quality.)
What is Fair Trade? Why are some of your products not Fair Trade?
Our Peruvian partner carries the Fair Trade Certification. 
This certification is a guarantee of sustainable development, improvement of social conditions, human development, social principles, and environmental and economic smallholder ideologies of Latin American countries. Products with this certification will carry the logo within the product description. 
Our Peruvian supplier is also a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). 
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is the global network of Fair Trade organisations whose mission is to improve the living conditions and welfare of producers. Products with this certification will carry the logo within the product description.
 
Our India suppliers do not require a Fair Trade certification as they do not fall under the Fair Trade umbrella. Instead, our India suppliers provide an environmental cultivation and processing solution. See below for more information regarding this.
 
Our China suppliers do not require the Fair Trade certification as they do not fall under the Fair Trade umbrella, either. They are an independent organic farming company.
Is The Grove environmentally / eco-friendly?
Our aim in the future is to be self-sustained—using 100% renewable energy to power our facility and bring our products to you.
We are also doing everything within our power to ensure our supply-chain is using renewable energy—where possible—and having minimal impact on the environment. 
Our India partners use 100% solar energy to cultivate and farm the products that we purchase, and 20% solar energy to process them. They are also certified with the ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard (EMS) accreditation.
Our Partners in China are certified with the ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard (EMS) accreditation.
Our partners in Peru are certified with the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), which guarantees sustainable development, improvement of social conditions, human development, social principles, and environmental and economic smallholder thought of Latin American countries.
All of our partners are Organically certified with one or all of the following: EU, USDA, JAS, (their local countries Organic certification bodies). These certifications confirm that they do not use toxic fertilisers, pesticides or processing agents which are harmful to the environment and product(s).
We ensure that our suppliers of our printed material comply with ISO 14001 EMS and use vegetable inks instead of solvents.
All of our collateral is printed on Envirocare 100% recycled paper which has been milled in Austria using 86% renewable energy and has a minimal carbon footprint.
Where possible, we source our consumables from renewable or environmentally-friendly sources. And—where possible—have a paperless office environment. When it comes to shipping, we use recycled vessels and incorporate what would normally be considered waste into shipper padding—internal recycling, if you wish. 
We have minimal waste and encourage the use of reusable items / products where possible. And, if not possible, we encourage recycling of all of our packing and shipping materials.
Our impact on the environment is a work-in-progress. It’s always possible to fine-tune one’s approach to sustainability, and we hope that you share our passion for immersing ourselves in recycling, and treading more lightly on the earth. 
We would love to hear how you make a difference, and any suggestions you might have for us to incorporate into our operations. 
Email us via the contact form or at sustainable@thegrove.life
Is the packaging eco-friendly?
As our products are essentially all perishable food goods, we have taken certain precautions to ensure shelf life and prevent health risks, whilst also meeting particular legislation regarding which materials can or can’t be used, when it comes to the packaging of food goods. 
Currently:
  • The cylinders that we use for the Nourish range are made from 100% recycled board.
  • Our shippers are made from 70-100% recycled board and paper.
  • Our collateral is made from 100% recycled paper milled with renewable energy.
  • We are currently looking to find a better solution for the stand-up pouches.
  • We are currently looking for a printing company who use renewable energy.
We would love to hear any suggestions you might have for us regarding our improvement of eco-friendly packaging. 
Email us via the contact form or at sustainable@thegrove.life
Are The Grove products Organically Certified?
Many of our suppliers have been inspected by various Organic associations confirming that the products have been grown and processed in compliance with the particular certificate’s regulations. These certificates include, USDA Organic, Organic EU and Organic JAS. Products with certifications will carry the relevant logos within the product description of each product.
Once the raw product arrives at The Grove HQ, we repackage the products to enable us to sell them to you.
The Grove HQ does not currently have an Australian Organic Processing Certification for our facility, however, we are working towards obtaining this certification and will advise you as soon as we have been approved.
Are The Grove products Kosher Certified?
Many of our suppliers have the Kosher Certification confirming the purity and quality of the products complying with the religious requirements of the Jewish Community. Products with this certification will carry the Kosher logo within the product description. 
Products of Peru that carry this logo have been inspected by a team of rabbis representing the Orthodox Union in New York.
Products of India that carry this logo have been inspected by a team to be given the Star-K Kosher Certification in India.
Products of China that carry this logo have been inspected by a team to be given the Star-K Kosher Certification in China.
 
Are The Grove products Halal Certified?
Many of our suppliers have the Halal Certification confirming that the supplier’s facilities have been inspected and that the products identified under the certificate are handled in accordance with Halal requirements under Islamic law. The Grove products suppliers with this certification will carry the Halal logo within the product description. 
Products of Peru that carry this logo have been inspected by a panel for the Halal Certification of Latin America.
Products of India that carry this logo have been inspected by a team to be approved for the Halal India Certification.
Products of China that carry this logo have been inspected by a team to be approved for the American Halal Foundation.

 

I have a dairy / gluten intolerance, can I consume your products?
The Grove products do not contain gluten or dairy unless specified within the product description.
If you have a question regarding one of our products—if you are unsure—please contact us using the general form on the contact page or via email at admin@thegrove.life

 

What does alkaline / alkalising actually mean?
We do not suggest that any of our foods have an alkalising effect on the body, and we are not part of the alkalising diet approach to health. At The Grove HQ, we enjoy anecdote as it is enchanting and historical and gives us a better understanding of our product, but at the end of the day, we want to see scientific evidence supporting anecdote. 
We are open-minded, but not in what is perceived to be a negatively-implicating manner. Essentially, we are not confident in selling products or delivering ideas that have no/limited founding in science (that we have found). However, we are not opinionated or dogmatic when it comes to those who do believe in particular products and their efficacies due to anecdote. 
The alkalinity of the human body is always accurately maintained, (otherwise we would die) in a process called homeodynamics. It is this dynamic organisation—under homeodynamic conditions—that makes the complexity of life possible  
Science suggests that it is simply not the case that consuming alkaline food adjusts blood alkalinity. 
And, just because acidosis (acidic blood plasma) can be caused by the particular diseases that proponents of the alkaline diet suggest the diet can cure, does not mean that acidosis causes these diseases. Furthermore, ignoring the cause of an illness by focussing solely on the outcome, doesn't make a lot of sense. 
As an analogy, if you were a car salesman, and you received a car back from a test drive with all the paint scratched off, would you paint it and wait for it to happen again? Or would you find out why it was scratched off, and prevent it from happening again?
Acidosis isn't simply a feeling of being unhealthy, it is crippling.

 

What quality control measure do you adopt?
During our sourcing process we build relationships with our suppliers to ensure that they align with our objectives and ethics.
Our products are grown as close to their natural state as possible, whether that be organic or wild. They have not been genetically modified and are free from any nasties. They are sustainable and renewable with a minimal carbon footprint.
Each product is dried and processed locally at its place of origin, within the parameters of the organic certifiers.
Based on its natural state, it means that the colour of the powder may vary from batch-to-batch, that the shapes and sizes may also vary from batch-to-batch, as well as a slight flavour variance. 
In the interest of maintaining the products’ purity and the reduction of waste, we are happy to accept this shape and colour variance. In fact, we like it—nature isn't bound by our rules of such strict uniformity. However, at the same time, we are assured that our partners are adhering to strict quality control parameters based around the international ISO 14001 EMS standard.
We do not wish to succumb to the vast waste culture that is so overwhelmingly all-embracive, currently.
When product arrives at The Grove HQ, we check it for quality and taste, and log the batch for our records. During the repacking process, The Grove HQ maintains a rigorous quality control method to ensure our products leave and arrive to you in the best condition possible.
Should your products arrive and they do not meet your expectations, please contact The Grove immediately in accordance with the Terms and Conditions. We hope that you can appreciate that no process is 100% perfect and we welcome and encourage your feedback so that we can progress and improve, to provide you with the best possible product via the best possible production methods.
If you have a question regarding one of our control measures—if you are unsure—please contact us using the general form on the contact page or via email at admin@thegrove.life

 

What is the Food Standards Code ANZ?
When we embarked on this journey we wanted to ensure that we were complying with the various legislative bodies based on the nature of our products and their intended use. One of these bodies is the Food Standards Code Australia New Zealand (FSC).
The FSC has been compiled to ensure that the food industry adheres to particular rules and regulations in order for the consumer to not be blatantly misinformed by marketing.
We have been told by employees at the FSC that the code is essentially open to interpretation and that they cannot advise if something you say is correct or incorrect. Although, some things are pretty clear.
Below is a basic, shortened, example summary of our findings in the FSC, and some questions that arise.
Food labelled:
  • to contain a vitamin or mineral must have at least 10% of the stipulated RDI of that vitamin or mineral in order for it to be mentioned on the packaging.
  • to contain a vitamin or mineral, and for it to be considered a “good source” of this vitamin or mineral, the product must be at least 25% of the stipulated RDI.
  • to be Low Fat - means a product must have less than 1.5g of fat per 100 ml (liquid), or 3g per 100g (solid).
  • Reduced Fat - means it is 25% less than its predecessor. 
  • Low Gluten - means less than 20 mg of gluten per 100 g.
  • to contain protein (as a selling point), must have at least 5 g of protein per serve.
  • to be a “good source” of protein, it must have 10 g of protein per serve.
  • to have “increased protein”, it must have at least 25% more than its predecessor.
  • to have “increased omega 3”, it must contain at least 25% more than its predecessor.
These appear to be relatively straight forward, but there are loopholes. 
For example, a certain company recently printed on their packaging that their oats were a “good source” of protein. Oats do have a significant amount of protein in them, but not enough for the serving size presented on the package to meet the FSC’s protein requirement of 10 grams per serving. 
Alas, it was still able to be printed, as a component of the nutritional panel involved the addition of milk. It should have said “a good source of protein when the amount of protein is doubled after the addition of milk, which you will also have to purchase and add to this product in order for this claim of protein content to be true.” (We have our oats with water.)
Furthermore, if there has been protein added to a product, where has it come from? 
To suggest a product has reduced fat, doesn’t really tell us much about the product. Some foods are full of fat by nature, and this doesn’t directly correlate with the healthiness of the product; and, some foods are unnecessarily high in fat to begin with. 
Increased omega 3s is worrying for us. Is the food supposed to have omega 3s in there in the first place? How did they get the new omega 3s in there? (#nanotechnology) And, are these omega 3s safe to eat, or has the process of delivering them into the product in unnatural concentrations rendered them rancid—the antithesis of healthy, anyway? 
Essentially, we want you to ask questions regarding every product, not just ours. And, we aim to be as transparent as possible in regard to this.
We want to bring these guidelines stipulated by the FSC to your attention, so that you can be more informed when shopping and not overwhelmed or tricked by marketing labels.