Thank you Sprouts Farmers Market for inviting me and sponsoring today’s post.
On rare occasions I step out from behind my laptop, camera and styling tools to do something new. Mostly food-focused, the activities are chosen specifically because I know they’ll be meaningful. My most recent adventure was to a retreat hosted by Sprouts Farmers Market. I enjoyed a day at SproutsFest and a behind the scenes look at how the company sources food, gives to the community and promotes more sustainable practices. I’d say the experience paired with meeting other likeminded individuals, who also value health and nutrition, makes me confident in my decision to support Sprouts.
So what did I do? What did I learn? I’m glad you asked. In my mind, Sprouts is such a large company, but somehow remains wholesome. They focus on serving and enriching the lives of people. Even more, the company upholds ethical practices when it comes to food and the environment – responsible retailing. They are committed to zero food waste, which in the United States, waste is estimated up to 40% of the food supply! While sad, it’s wonderful to learn that Sprouts cares enough to reduce their impact in that area. Every bit counts. In terms of environmental practices, they put substantial effort into energy efficiency. As we made our way through a store tour, they pointed out numerous things I would have never noticed as a shopper. Night curtains are utilized in the open refrigeration sections to reduce energy usage by half and employees are consistently monitoring the units to ensure air grates are not blocked. The latter increases energy efficiency by allowing air to circulate with ease. Other practices worth mentioning is that Sprouts actively recycles and has recycled 70 million pounds of cardboard to date, and they are currently converting lighting to LED in stores.
A big highlight for me was learning about Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. The foundation launched in 2015 and through grant programs, they help students learn about health and nutrition by supporting construction of school gardens as well as make it possible for families to access crucial vitamins and minerals that can be lifesaving. Our inside look at the foundation was at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). An organization they support, SARRC has a garden where people diagnosed with autism can learn how to grow and harvest food. The food is then sold through a CSA, which raises funds to support ongoing programs, including Beneficial Beans, SARRC’s coffee company that operates in two Phoenix locations. The coffee cafe provides opportunities for adults with autism to gain work experience. It was incredibly heartwarming to see it firsthand and plant a few seeds with new friends. It was a beautiful day for cultivating food and friendships.
Of course, no event I go to is without wonderful food. I got to prepare shabu shabu, essentially a Japanese hotpot, with responsibly raised beef sourced and sold by Sprouts. When I say responsible, I’m talking no hormones. We ventured to a local restaurant to enjoy the best bruschetta and crudite. A tasting of soon-to-be-released, ready-made Sprouts Market Corner meals was also devoured. I felt so special eating foods no one else has access to just yet. My favorite, by far was the vegan pakora wrap. I did not expect to like it best to be honest, mostly because there were so many other foods that caught my eye. But this one I can certainly recommend with no hesitation. Inside the spinach wrap are greens, cauliflower, chickpeas and mix of tamarind chutney and hummus. Oh my, it was amazing! And while the price point for any prepared meal at Sprouts convinces me to consider it, what actually encourages me to buy (other than convenience), is that quality ingredients are used, which can only mean the taste will be stellar.