Bread Beer, Lager & Cider Fish Supermarket Cooking Oil See More Ethical Food and Drink Categories See Pasta, Rice and Pulses Ethical Comparisons Ethical Food & Drink – Pasta, Rice and Pulses Pasta and rice have long been a popular choice of carbohydrate – quick to prepare and with a long shelf-life – they have become a kitchen cupboard staple in most households. And with the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, pulses are now earning their space alongside these traditional staples. Pasta Traditional quality pasta should be made with 100 per cent durum wheat, in wholewheat or semolina form. However, with growth in the own-brand market pushing prices down, many of the cheaper pastas now contain ‘soft wheat’ substitutes, which can result in a slightly sticky or slimy texture. A richer pasta is produced with the addition of egg, making it unsuitable for vegans. Tomato or spinach is added to produce the distinctive red or green pastas, and some pasta-makers are fond of ingredients such as nettles, beetroot and chilli. Rice Consumption of rice is a complex ethical area. On the negative side, growing rice has a number of environmental drawbacks – and indeed, is a crop with one of the highest carbon footprints. From the high-levels of water usage (rice is grown flooded ‘paddy’ fields); heavy use of fertilizers not to mention the food miles as 90% of rice is produced in Asia. But most significantly, flooded rice fields are responsible for the release of methane gas into the environment, due to the microbes which live in the soils of rice paddies. However, rice is an undeniably essential food source for more than half the world’s population, including over 800 million people who go hungry globally each year. In addition, according to the IRIN, one-fifth of the world’s population (over 1 billion people) depend on rice cultivation for their livelihood. Pulses Pulses are the dried seeds from the legume plant family and include peas, chickpeas, lentils and other beans and not only are they a healthy, low-fat source of protein – pulses tick many boxes in terms of ethics. Pulses have a much lower carbon footprint than animal-derived protein sources. According to organisation Water Footprint Network, the water footprint per gram of protein for beef is 6 times larger than for pulses. And another study from World Resources Institute, found that compared with beef, beans require just one-twentieth of land usage per unit of protein consumed. Options Whatever you choose to stock in your kitchen cupboards, in addition to picking from the ethical brand options above, look for organic and fair-trade options where possible. JustIngredients, which has been awarded independent Ethical Accreditation from The Ethical Company Organisation, has a number of certified Fairtrade and Organic products available to buy directly from their website. See Pasta, Rice and Pulses Ethical Comparisons Key Research Below you will find links to the key sections of our ethical research in Food & Drink: Bread & Dairy Bread Butter & Margarine Ice Cream Jams & Spreads Yoghurt Drinks Beer, Lager & Cider Bottled Water Cafés Soft Drinks Tea & Coffee Food Cupboard Baby Food Biscuits Breakfast Cereals Cat & Dog Food Chocolate Cooking Oil Crisps Pasta, Rice and Pulses Soup Sugar Fruit, Veg & Fish Bananas Fish Vegetarian Foods Tinned Tuna We have created ethical comparison rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): JustIngredients, Suma, Infinity Foods, Barilla, Biona, De Cecco, Garofalo, Tilda, Buitoni, Seeds of Change, Uncle Bens, Napolina. Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning we earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. Placement and use of these links has no bearing in terms of the ethical scores that we give to a brand. All commission earned by The Good Shopping Guide is re-invested into the research carried out by The Ethical Company Organisation.