Burlap and Barrel is a pioneering Public Benefit Corporation that aims to transform the international spice industry by building equitable, transparent, and traceable supply chains. The company was founded by Ori Yosef Zohar and Ethan Frisch with a mission to end inequality and exploitation in food systems. They work directly with smallholder farmers to source high-quality, unique spices that have never before been available in the United States, while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of their partner farmers.
Ethical and Equitable Sourcing
Burlap and Barrel is committed to sourcing spices directly from the best farmers and foragers worldwide. By cutting out brokers and middlemen, they can pay farmers 2-10 times the commodity price, ensuring a fair and equitable income for these skilled producers. Furthermore, their direct sourcing model allows them access to unique spice varietals that have never been imported to the United States.
Sustainability and Social Impact
The company recognizes that sustainability in the food industry must go beyond environmental concerns to consider the conditions under which farmers earn their livelihoods. They work tirelessly to connect smallholder farmers to high-value markets, educate consumers about the impact of product traceability on human rights, and source organic and sustainably grown spices using traditional techniques.
Challenges and Building a New Global Supply Chain
Burlap and Barrel acknowledges the significant challenges to their direct sourcing model, such as established industrial food supply chains that are slow, opaque, and outdated. These systems often prioritize quantity over quality and lack traceability. To address these issues, Burlap and Barrel sources spices directly from farmer cooperatives and small farms, bypassing the middlemen that typically drive up prices and reduce quality.
Through visits to farms and direct interactions with farmers, the company learns about the economic, social, and cultural factors behind farming methods. They support farmers in improving the quality, quantity, and value of their products by offering purchase commitments, sharing knowledge from their global farmer network, and helping farmers expand on-site value-added activities such as sorting, grinding, and packaging.
Exceptional Ingredients and Quality Guarantee
Burlap and Barrel’s customers appreciate the distinctive flavors of the spices, which are influenced by the unique environments in which they are grown. The company is proud to offer a 100% quality guarantee, ensuring that their spices meet the highest standards. To ensure food safety, they conduct comprehensive testing and follow strict protocols, including sterilization when necessary, while never irradiating their spices.
Organic and Eco-friendly Practices
Most of the spices sourced by Burlap and Barrel are organically grown. While some partner farmers have organic certifications, others do not due to the high costs associated with certification. However, all of their spices are non-GMO, non-irradiated, and free of gluten, allergens, and additives. As the company grows, they are working with partner farmers to obtain certifications and develop new capabilities to enhance the value of their spices and increase farmers’ share of the final product’s price.
Burlap and Barrel is a trailblazer in the spice industry, working tirelessly to transform the way spices are sourced, produced, and consumed. By partnering with smallholder farmers, they are not only bringing unique, high-quality spices to the US market but also promoting ethical and sustainable practices that improve the livelihoods of farmers and create a more equitable global food system.