Countrywide deliveries, soy lecithin, and a planetwalker.

Country-wide deliveries

We know we have many followers in the rest of South Africa, outside of our greater Cape Town delivery area, and we’ve had regular requests to deliver upcountry. Last week, we finally started delivering, via courier, and selected dry products only, to the entire country.

To order, choose ‘place a couriered order’ from the log in page. Only the available products will be shown. Please make sure you are registered in the “South Africa – outside of greater Cape Town” area (although Cape Town customers can, if they really want to, order via courier as well). If you’re registered in the “Outside South Africa” region, you won’t be able to place an order. You can change your default region (as well as any other information, such as email address or telephone number) by choosing “Update your details” from either the log in page, or after you’ve logged in.

Only selected dry products are available, and we use an external courier service to get the goods to you. All goods are transported overland – we don’t use air freight.

Organic standards and soy lecithin

Organic standards and organic certification are a minefield, especially when it comes to processed products. Most people are unaware that there are large differences in the organic standards between different organic certification bodies – some are better than others. Standards also change over time, sometimes for the better, usually due to consumer pressure, and sometimes for the worse, usually due to industry pressure. The USDA standard, which is the official US government standard, and one of the weakest organic standards, currently permits non-organic soy lecithin. Up to 5% of a USDA-approved organic product can be made up of non-organic products, and these must come from products that are unavailable organically.

Soy lecithin is one of the permitted products, a legacy from when the standards were drawn up, and organic soy lecithin was not commercially available.

Soy lecithin is an emulsifier, used to blend products that don’t normally mix, and in particular to keep fats from separating. It’s usually extracted with hexane, and, like most soya, is usually genetically-modified. You’ll find it in most commonly-available organic chocolate bars, for example. Note that the Rapunzel chocolates we offer use organic soy lecithin.

Right now there’s a campaign underway in the US to remove soy lecithin from the list of permitted non-organic ingredients. Should it be successful, all soy lecithin used in USDA organic products will need to be organic, which would be a great step forward in both the letter and spirit of the organic laws.

In South Africa, we too often rely on others to look out for our interests. If the US standards change, that will help us here, as many of the products available locally are USDA-certified, but we should also be on top of the local standards, making sure that they are up to scratch too. Can we make a difference? In the spirit of the momentous election in the US, “yes we can”!

John Francis – planetwalker

On the blog this week is an inspiring talk by John Francis, who walked around the Americas for 22 years carrying a message of respect for the earth. For 17 of those years, he was silent. Now that he’s talking again, he shows us what he’s learnt from all that listening. See it here.

To order, visit

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Comments ( 2 )

  1. ben Ash

    We are looking for Soy lecithin. Please send price by e mail FOB your ware house one big bag. we arrange for transport. thacks ben 011-3123393

  2. Kirstin

    Hi Ben Sorry, this is not a product that we currently stock, or will be stocking in the near future. Good luck with finding it. Kind regards Kirstin