FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our company and products:

1. Is everything Organic?
2. Celtic Sea Salt?
3. What is fermentation anyway?
4. Bacteria! Really?
5. Is it safe?
6. Will this cure my [insert health complaint here]?
7. Will I notice any side effects?
8. How much should I eat/drink?
9. Can I mix different types of fermented foods?
10. How should they be stored?
11. How long will they last?
12. Tell me about the water that you use?
13. How long do you ferment for and does this matter?
14. What's the deal with delivery?
15. Why do you use glass? It’s not the 19th century!
16. Help! My jar is fizzing and/or leaking. Is that normal?
17. Do you offer bulk discounts?
18. Can you supply to trade customers?
19. Do you ship Internationally?

1. Is everything Organic?

Yes, everything. Except water, because.....well.....you can't get organic water. All of our other ingredients though, from the largest cabbage to the smallest hibiscus leaf, are 100% organic and we're pleased to say that we are now Certified as an Organic Producer by the Organic Food Federation, GB-ORG-04.

2. Celtic Sea Salt?

Indeed. It's probably the best salt in the world. We are now using Sel de Guérande, which is considered to be one of the highest quality of the traditional Celtic Sea Salts, carrying an organic accreditation from Natur and Progréss, a French organic and environmental standard, denoting it's purity, quality and sustainability. This salt has been produced in using the same ancient methods for several thousand years. Only wooden tools are used, as wood is considered an inert material which will not harm the delicate balance of the salt. The sea water is not evaporated using an artificial heat source, as most modern sea salts are, as it is believed that this damages the structure of the salt. Instead, sea water passes through several kilometres of clay lined channels and pools. The water slowly evaporates solely under the influence of the wind and the sun and at a certain point in the year, the conditions are just right for the salt to be collected. In tests, this Celtic salt has been shown to contain approximately 70% sodium chloride, leaving approximately 30% as other minerals - including Magnesium, Calcium and Iron - all the natural minerals that occur in the sea. Nothing is added or removed. Iodised table salt, this is not!

3. What is fermentation anyway?

Fermentation is a centuries-old technique that has been used throughout civilisation for the preservation of food. Before refrigerators, it was essential to find ways to store food through the winter, once the growing season had ended. Although there are many different methods of fermentation, Loving Foods fermented vegetables follow a basic, time-honoured process of storing food in an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment to let the already present bacterial cultures flourish and multiply. Our Kombucha and Jun on the other hand use a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, known as a SCOBY (sometimes called a "mushroom") to ferment either sugar or honey with organic green tea, producing a fizzy, tasty, healthy beverage. So, now you know.

4. Bacteria! Really?

Absolutely. Bacteria have gotten a bad press over the past few decades as humans, in developed countries particularly, have sought to wipe them off the face of the earth with antibiotics, antibacterial products and over-zealous cleaning regimes. For every human cell in our bodies, there are another nine bacterial cells. That pretty much makes us 10% human and 90% bacteria. Whilst some of these bacteria can be harmful to us given the right circumstances, the vast majority are friendly and live in peaceful co-existence with us. Not only that, but many are actually essential to our survival. Scientists, researchers and the broader medical establishment are just beginning to realise the importance of these beneficial bacteria to our overall health. Inside our bodies, most of our friendly bacteria are found in our gut, sometimes referred to as our gut microbiome, and these bacteria help process our food and break it down into the essential by-products and compounds that we need for many processes throughout our entire body, including our immune system. It is true that there is still divided opinion in some circles as to whether ingesting beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, allows these species to take hold and flourish in the body, but recent studies have clearly shown that the right kind and the right variety, taken in the right quantities, can provide benefits to our health in countless ways.

5. Is it safe?

Very. We are not aware of any cases of people getting sick from properly prepared and stored fermented food and drink. The very nature of the processes make it extremely difficult for pathogenic bacteria to propagate and survive. Salt, anaerobic environments, low pH and friendly bacteria, all make it nearly impossible for bad bacteria to take hold. Whilst we're on the subject of safety, we can also tell you that Loving Foods was awarded a 5-star hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency after our most recent inspection. This rating was awarded after the local Council rigourously reviewed our production kitchen, cleanliness, food hygeine & safety procedures and our management policies.

6. Will this cure my [insert health complaint here]?

Not in isolation. Fermented food and drink, and probiotics in general, are not magic bullets. They aren't likely to offer a cure for anything on their own. However, taken regularly as part of a healthy and nutritious diet, they have been shown to provide many benefits to the body by improving the overall health of the gut microbiome and immune system.

7. Will I notice any side effects?

It's possible, although we'd tend to call them "effects" rather than "side-effects" and they're usually minimal. If you are new to fermented products, you might notice some tummy rumblings or extra wind. In some cases, you might notice slight changes in your toilet habits (frequency and consistency, without getting too graphic), but this usually indicates positive changes in your gut flora and should subside in due course. In some cases, particularly in people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), fermented foods and probiotics in general, could cause unwanted effects. If you're unsure, we'd always recommend you seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.

8. How much should I eat/drink?

Again, if you're new to this, start small. A forkful or two of Sauerkraut or Kimchi, or a small glass of Kombucha or Jun, contains billions of bacteria and can have a profound effect. With the Kombucha and Jun, try a quarter of a bottle per day and go from there. Whilst you'll be fine with most reasonable portions of Sauerkraut and Kimchi, we'd probably advise to limit yourself to no more than a bottle of Kombucha or Jun per day. As with most things, it's not ideal to eat or drink them in excessive quantities.

9. Can I mix different types of fermented foods?

Not only can you, but you should. In fact the more the better. For the most beneficial effects, it is generally recommended to have as much variety as possible. Ideally, three to four different types of fermented food products should be consumed throughout a typical day. This is because different products - and even different batches of the same product - have diverse bacterial cultures and strains, providing various benefits to the body.

10. How should they be stored?

In the fridge. Whilst it is perfectly safe to store them at room temperature providing that the lids are sealed (hence the lack of refrigeration required during transport), Loving Foods products are literally ALIVE and will continue to ferment if kept out of the fridge for extended periods. We take great care in following a strict process and timeline to ensure that our products reach you in the most optimum condition. Storing them in the fridge slows down the fermentation, ensuring a consistently great taste.

11. How long will they last?

Fermented foods are pretty tough. They are designed to be stored in cool, dark places for many months at a time, even outside a refrigerator. All Loving Foods products are generally good for around three to six months, even after opening, providing that they are sealed, refrigerated and that the introduction of external bacteria is kept to a minimum. However, to be safe, we recommend consuming within four months of purchasing and eating within 7-10 days of opening.

12. Tell me about the water that you use?

You might have seen us talking about our "double filtration process", either on our labels or on our product pages. Water quality is extremely important for Kombucha and Jun. First of all, Chlorine, present in most tap water, can kill off a lot of the friendly bacteria, rendering the end product more dead than alive. After that, there are many other contaminants that are still present in tap water in small quantities. These can affect the fermentation process, the presence, variety and quantity of bacteria in the final product, and of course, the taste. We use two different filtration processes, one using active ceramics and the other using activated charcoal. Together, these processes remove 99% of impurities that can be present in water, including Chlorine, Flouride, Organic Contaminants, Heavy Metals, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Trihalomethanes (THMs), Pesticides, Industrial Solvents, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and some pathogenic bacteria such as e-coli. And if all that sounds scary, maybe it's time to invest in a water filter!

13. How long do you ferment for and does this matter?

Yes. It matters. The shorter the fermentation time, the fewer the different strains and quantity of bacteria present in the final product. Obviously, shortening the fermentation time would allow us to produce quicker and sell more. However, this would significantly reduce the quality of our food and drink. All of our veggies are fermented for a period of 21 days, whilst our Kombucha and Jun go through three stages of fermentation, also totalling 21 days. This ensures maximum friendly bacteria, maximum consistency and maximum taste.

14. What's the deal with delivery?

Glad you asked. We've created a specific page to explain our delivery costs, so please click here for more information.

15. Why do you use glass? It’s not the 19th century!

It’s true that plastic is lighter, cheaper and much easier to ship. However, fermented foods and beverages are acidic in nature, and acid will quicken the breakdown of the toxic chemicals that are present in plastic, including BPA and phthalates. These chemicals are known to disrupt the endocrine and hormonal systems in the body, leading to a range of diseases. Also, plastic isn’t great for the environment and glass is much more readily recyclable.

16. Help! My jar is fizzing and/or leaking. Is that normal?

It happens, and it's nothing to worry about. Because this is a live, unpasteurised product, the friendly bacteria continue working away whilst the veggies are in transit. This can lead to a bit of CO2 build-up in the jar, and this can ocassionally be heard as hissing or seen as leaking, but it's perfectly normal. Sometimes when the veggies are super-active, they can even bubble up and expand when you open them, but this is just due to the built-up gas being released. Give them a chance to settle, push the veg back down into the jar, seal, rinse and pop in the fridge. And in case you're wondering, opening the jars to release some of the pressure doesn't affect the use-by date on the bottom. Just make sure you always use clean utensils.

17. Do you offer bulk discounts?

Yep. On each of the individual product pages, you'll find a drop-down option to purchase multiple items at a discount. All of our products will last for months in the fridge and don't forget that delivery is free over £100, so take advantage of these discounts and stock up to get free delivery.

18. Can you supply to trade customers?

We sure can. Loving Foods can supply to shops, restaurants, bars, co-ops, distributors and wholesalers. Anyone looking to increase their product ranges with fresh, tasty, locally-produced and interesting new products. Please contact us for pricing and additional information.

19. Do you ship Internationally?

We do now. Please contact us for more information.