If you require allergy information on any of the products that we stock, please call us on 0114 2586056, or email us
Alara is a successful and dynamic company dedicated to quality and sustainability. We have been trading since 1975 and have a history of growth and change. Our factory is located in the heart of London where we play an active part in a diverse and vibrant local community. Our commitment is to provide very high quality products to meet specific requirements, should that be organic, gluten free, fair trade or small production runs of customer specified blends using a unique data base control solution we have developed. Certified by the Soil Association since 1988, Alara is also the very first company in the UK registered with the Coeliac Society. We believe that organic food is of the highest quality and extend this quality commitment to our products, systems and services. Operating from a modern unit, production is done in adherence to British Retail Consortium quality standards, Grade A.
Barley is a cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum vulgare. It serves as a major animal feed crop, with smaller amounts used for malting (in beer and whisky) and in wholefoods. The Oxford English Dictionary records the derivation from the Old English baerlic, although the "lic" ending may indicate it was an adjective pertaining to the crop or plant, rather than a noun. It was first recorded around 966 CE in the compound word baerlic-croft.
Bran is the hard outer layer of grain and consists of combined aleurone and pericarp. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains. When bran is removed from grains, the latter lose a portion of their nutritional value. Bran is present in and may be milled from any cereal grain, including rice, corn, wheat, maize, oats, barley, and millet. It should not be confused with chaff, which is coarser scaly material surrounding the grain, but not forming part of the grain itself. Bran is particularly rich in dietary fibre and omegas and contains significant quantities of starch, protein, vitamins, and dietary minerals.
The name "buckwheat" or "beech wheat" comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut from the beech tree, and the fact that it is used like wheat. The word is a partial translation of Middle Dutch boecweite. Buckwheat refers to plants in two genera of the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, and the North American genus Eriogonum. The crop plant, common buckwheat, is Fagopyrum esculentum. Despite the common name and the grain-like use of the crop, buckwheat is not a cereal or grass. It is called a pseudocereal to emphasise that it is not related to wheat. Buckwheat contains rutin, a medicinal chemical that strengthens capillary walls, reducing hemorrhaging in people with high blood pressure and increasing microcirculation in people with chronic venous insufficiency. Dried buckwheat leaves for tea were manufactured in Europe under the brand name "Fagorutin." Buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type 2 diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It is being studied for use in treating type 2 diabetes. Research on D-chiro-inositol and PCOS has shown promising results.
Community was founded in the early 1970's when it was fair game to refer to the founders as "bean munching tree huggers"! The company was established in a squat in London, buying wholefoods to service the budding health food consumer. Both the founders of the business and its customers were concerned about poor quality, highly processed foods, the use of additives and preservatives, the indiscriminate use of pesticides and artificial fertiliser in crop production, and the increasing use of "health food supplements".
Essential Trading is a Bristol worker co-operative established in 1971. At Essential we strive towards creating a truly ethical company, and believe this has a positive impact along the entire food chain. We wholesale, manufacture and distribute sustainable organic wholefoods across the UK and beyond. Over 6000 lines of healthy options, quality nutrition and products that all make a real difference.
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult production environments such as those at risk of drought. They have been in cultivation in East Asia for the last 10,000 years. The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight. Millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millets contain no gluten, so they are not suitable for raised bread. When combined with wheat or xanthan gum (for those who have coeliac disease), however, they can be used for raised bread. Alone, they are suited for flatbread. As none of the millets are closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with coeliac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.
We can trace our milling roots right back to 1675 when my ancestor William Lea started milling at Swettenham Mill, near Congleton in Cheshire. Today we are still keeping up the family tradition after 14 generations as an independent company, doing things our way, which we think is the right way! We select, mill and produce our cereals Swettenham Millourselves-we don't think anyone can do it better. It's this special way of milling that we've evolved over generations that means we retain all the goodness of the germ and bran to the 'wholegrain', so we, and you of course, can enjoy a healthier, tastier breakfast.
Quinoa, a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited. Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilisations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%-18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavour makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous. The first step in preparing quinoa is to remove the saponins, a process that requires soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking, or rinsing it in ample running water either in a fine strainer or in cheesecloth. Removal of the saponin helps with digestion; the soapy nature of the compound makes it act as a laxative. A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14-18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta).
Rice is the seed of the monocot plant Oryza sativa, of the grass family (Poaceae). As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in tropical Latin America, the West Indies, East, South and Southeast Asia. It is the grain with the second highest worldwide production, after maize ("corn"). Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is probably the most important grain with regards to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species. A traditional food plant in Africa, rice has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare. In early 2008, some governments and retailers began rationing supplies of the grain due to fears of a global rice shortage. The name wild rice is usually used for species of the grass genus Zizania, both wild and domesticated, although the term may also be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza. There are many varieties of rice; for many purposes the main distinction is between long-and medium-grain rice. The grains of long-grain rice (high amylose) tend to remain intact after cooking; medium-grain rice (high amylopectin) becomes more sticky. Medium-grain rice is used for sweet dishes, and for risotto and many Spanish dishes. Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, and absorbs water during cooking. It can be cooked in just as much water as it absorbs (the absorption method), or in a large quantity of water which is drained before serving (the rapid-boil method). Electric rice cookers, popular in Asia and Latin America, simplify the process of cooking rice. Rice is often heated in oil before boiling, or oil is added to the water; this is thought to make the cooked rice less sticky.
Rye (Secale cereale) is a grass grown extensively as a grain and forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe (Triticeae) and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskies, some vodkas, and animal fodder. It can also be eaten whole, either as boiled rye berries, or by being rolled, similar to rolled oats. Rye is a cereal and should not be confused with ryegrass which is used for lawns, pasture, and hay for livestock. Rye bread, including pumpernickel, is a widely eaten food in Northern and Eastern Europe. Rye is also used to make the familiar crisp bread. Rye flour has a lower gluten content than wheat flour, and contains a higher proportion of soluble fibre. Some other uses of rye include rye whiskey and use as an alternative medicine in a liquid form, known as rye extract. Its benefits are said to include a strengthened immune system, increased energy levels and relief from allergies, but there is no clinical evidence for its efficacy. Rye seems also active in the prevention of prostate cancer. Ergotism is the effect of long-term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus which infects rye and other cereals, and more recently by the action of a number of ergoline-based drugs. It is also known as ergotoxicosis, ergot poisoning and Saint Anthony's Fire.
Suma is the UK's largest independent wholefood wholesaler-distributor. Specialising in vegetarian, fairly traded, organic, ethical and natural products, we also have our own successful brand of food and non-food products.
Wheat (Triticum spp.) is a worldwide cultivated grass from the Fertile Crescent region of the Near East. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize (784 million tons) and rice (651 million tons). Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads; cookies, cakes, breakfast cereal, pasta, juice, noodles and couscous; and for fermentation to make beer, alcohol, vodka or biofuel. Wheat is planted to a limited extent as a forage crop for livestock, and the straw can be used as fodder for livestock or as a construction material for roofing thatch. Although wheat supplies much of the world's dietary protein and food supply, as many as one in every 100-200 people has Coeliac disease, a condition which results from an immune system response to a protein found in wheat: gluten. Much of the carbohydrate fraction of wheat is starch. Wheat starch is an important commercial product of wheat, but second in economic value to wheat gluten. The principal parts of wheat flour are gluten and starch. These can be separated in a kind of home experiment, by mixing flour and water to form a small ball of dough, and kneading it gently while rinsing it in a bowl of water. The starch falls out of the dough and sinks to the bottom of the bowl, leaving behind a ball of gluten