PRODUCT POLICY

The products we do carry, the products we don’t, and why

General Principles
Through our product purchase and sales policy, we at Sevananda seek to gain control of our food supply system and to promote health and well-being among our Members and community.

We provide affordable, nutritional products which nourish the body and foster good use of the Earth’s resources. Emphasis is placed on providing high-quality whole and natural foods, preferably those grown and prepared using organic methods. Natural care, household and general merchandise items will also be provided.

We avoid purchasing from companies and, in appropriate cases, countries that disregard human rights and environmental health. We give preference to local suppliers, producers, growers and those who demonstrate humane and non-exploitive business practices.

Other Considerations
Demand for a product may override other guidelines. Demand is demonstrated by documentation of sales volume for products already on the shelves. If any such products contain one or more of the excluded items they will by clearly documented for shopper review. More desirable alternatives will be provided whenever possible and will be substituted when they are available at competitive prices (where “competitive” is defined generally as being as much as 25% more expensive).

While lack of profitability may be one factor in choosing not to carry a product, profitability will not be the sole or major determining criterion in stocking a product.

If removal of a product would jeopardize the survival of Sevananda, the product will remain in the store while alternatives are researched and information is provided to the consumer.

Product Selection and Exclusion
In a cooperative where the Membership is large, diverse and growing, there will be many different ideas regarding which products are appropriate for Sevananda to carry. Many may wish to exclude certain products that they believe are unhealthy or are politically or morally wrong. We do not want to worry about accidentally buying these products. We do not want them on the shelves because they prevent more desirable products from being carried. We believe that Sevananda should not be using its resources to promote them. Others, however, may have different views about these products and wish to have them available.

The selection and exclusion of products based on principle rather than market forces is potentially controversial. Very specific resolutions tend to be divisive while general resolutions may not be effective.

For these reasons decisions on product selection and exclusion will be made in three ways:

1. This Product Policy will be regularly reviewed by the General Manager based on a survey of the Membership.
2. As an integral part of the normal product selection process, staff will make decisions based on this Product Policy and their perceptions of and sensitivity to the current values and preferences of the Membership.
3. When the above process is judged inadequate by a Member or Members, a Member Product Policy Review Committee may be formed and used to review and recommend products, as well as determine the preference of the Sevananda Membership on specific products and issues. It can be used, for example, for adding a product or supporting boycotting efforts by recognized organizations. Members should contact the Member Services Manager for more information.

Specifically Excluded Products

• We exclude from our product line — to the extent we have been made aware of them — genetically-modified foods, products containing artificial chemicals, and products that have been subjected to irradiation.
• We exclude products that contain sugars refined using animal by-products.
• We exclude animal flesh or byproducts for which the animal must be killed, including beef, fowl and fish intended for human consumption.
• We exclude products such as soaps and cosmetics that have been developed using cruel and abusive animal laboratory tests.

Education
The Member Services Manager will serve as an educational resource for both staff and Members on the principles described in the Product Policy and on relevant current issues. In order to aid and educate consumers, we will attempt to provide information regarding the ingredients, nutritional composition, integrity and origins of products sold in the store.

There will be a constant effort to make people aware of what is contained in Sevananda’s products. We will inform manufacturers and suppliers of our objections to products which are not in agreement with this Product Policy.

Member Product Review Procedure
At Sevananda we want to avoid conflict when dealing with questions of product selection, individual political and moral convictions, and every Member’s right to choose his or her own diet. This Procedure is available and designed to provide Members with the ability to determine whether or not the Co-op will take action on a specific product. Please see the Member Services Manager for a copy of the Member product review procedures.

PRODUCT POLICY EXCEPTIONS
A companion to Sevananda’s Product Policy

Hydrogenated Oil
Although not specifically excluded from Sevananda’s Product Policy, hydrogenated and saturated tropical oils are things we generally don’t carry. Current exceptions are:

• Margarine
Many people want to avoid butter for ethical or health reasons. Although it contains hydrogenated oil, margarine is an all-purpose substitute for butter.

Sevananda carries Earth Balance® as a vegan, non-hydrogenated natural buttery spread and Spectrum Naturals Shortening® as a non-hydrogenated vegan shortening.

• Candies
Good quality carob and chocolate candies are made with highly saturated oils such as fractionated palm kernel oil.

• Others
A few isolated products like banana chips contain hydrogenated oils. We carry these products to meet customer demand.

Animal Byproducts

While Sevananda carries no animal flesh for human consumption, we do carry the following items which contain animal by-products:

Rennet
Many cheeses are made with animal rennet, a coagulant that contains ingredients from the stomach lining of calves. Most cheese at Sevananda is made with rennet from non-animal sources. A few imported cheeses are made with traditional animal rennet and these are marked “animal rennet” on the label because of EU requirements for cheese making.

Soaps
Many soaps contain animal tallow (fat). The only soap at Sevananda that may contain animal tallow is the Bee & Flower® soap from China.

Gelatin
Gelatin is made with animal by-products, particularly hooves and bones from pigs and cows. In traditional grocery stores, marshmallow and Jello® contain gelatin. At Sevananda we have found an acceptable vegetarian marshmallow, and marshmallow crème substitute and made them available. The only place you will find gelatin at Sevananda is in some capsules in our Wellness Department. While some of our wellness products use vegetarian capsules, these are usually more expensive than gelatin capsules. Vegetarian capsules are usually clearly marked on the product label.

Glandulars
Glandulars are supplements that are derived from organ tissues of animals. They are often a necessary component in rebuilding human tissues according to many health professionals.

Homeopathics
The homeopathic philosophy is based on the introduction of the aggravating constituent into the body to increase the body’s defense mechanisms, much like a vaccine. A small portion of Sevananda’s homeopathic products have animal ingredients — most notably goose liver in Oscillococcium®.

Enzymes
Enzymes are necessary to help humans digest and assimilate food. A few of our enzyme supplements are of animal origin, particularly the combinations with papain or ox bile. Most enzymes are found in the Digestive section of the Wellness Department. Some are also found in combination formulas in the Vitamin section.

Fish Oils
Fish oils are a valuable source of Essential Fatty Acids and vitamin D. Fish oils are rich in Omega-9 fatty acids, which some people believe are hard to find in vegetable sources.

Vitamins
Vitamin E, D3 and certain forms of vitamin A are derived from animal sources. If you wish to avoid these, look for vitamin labels that state “vegetarian” or “vegetable sources”. You may also consider “green foods” as a vegetarian source for nutrients.

Exceptions to Our Product Policy
Sevananda’s Product Policy is designed by the management and staff of our co-operative and it serves as a general guide for choosing the products we will carry and those we will not. Because Sevananda’s number one priority is serving our Member-owners and shoppers, demand for a product may sometimes override our general guidelines. This usually happens only when there is no alternative to the product or when the alternative is significantly more expensive.

Exceptions to these guidelines are rare and when made, our shoppers will be notified. This brochure serves as a guide to general categories where exceptions are made.

We firmly believe that our integrity is based on carrying only high quality natural foods, vitamins and supplements. On this point we will never compromise.


Sevananda GMO Statement
Foodwatch Action Plan