Christopher Dawson - Clearspring
Clearspring is a privately owned UK company established in the 1980s to distribute great tasting traditional foods that support good health; promote sustainable agriculture; and provide economic stability for producer communities. Clearspring currently distributes over 200 products from 14 countries, has 16 wholesale customers in the UK, and further wholesale customers in more than 40 countries worldwide.
From their west London offices Christopher and his staff travel around the world in search of high quality products that meet Clearspring's exacting standards. Each product is carefully evaluated for purity of ingredients and ecologically sound manufacturing practices.
Who are you and how did Clearspring begin?
1972, at the age of 19, I witnessed in shock the massive use of agricultural chemicals in what I thought was my pristine New Zealand. Then I spent one year visiting organic farmers throughout NZ.
1974 I took a 36 hour flight from NZ to Mother England , to further my studies about organic, biodynamic and alternative agriculture. 1976 I decided my best contribution to mankind would be to help current and potentially organic farmers get their products to market/consumers. Hence my first shop, East West Natural Foods, in 1977, in Old Street, London. This shop was the forerunner to Clearspring today.
NZ, back in 1972, was a land of 3M people and 60M sheep. Mutton was a staple food, plus sheep kidneys, liver. And, we wore their wool.
I became a vegetarian, but longed for a gravy alternative and luckily discovered Miso from a friend practising macrobiotics in London. This took me to Japan 1980-98 during which time I converted many farmers and food producers, especially Miso producers, to certified organic.
Onward I developed a huge, huge dream to put organic miso soup on the table in every home in every country in the world. This is where is all began! It is one of our founding principles which we live and breathe on a daily basis. Without organic there would not be a Clearspring.
What are your goals?
The Clearspring goal is to get organic food back on the dining table, so that you can enjoy the same quality of foods as your grandparents did.
By developing the demand for organic foods and encouraging the cultivation of organic crops by farmers today, we can ensure that your grandchildren, too, can enjoy the great taste of good food.
You will find that each of our food products has a distinct flavour and quality that comes from using the finest quality ingredients and respecting local food traditions. We always work directly with our producers, building long-term partnerships of ethical trade that support sustainable organic farming and benefit local communities.
What’s next for you and Clearspring?
My two daughters have joined the business in the last three years which is proof that the younger generation is concerned about organic food production, healthy living and sustainability.
As per the SA 2015 Organic Market Report the ‘Millennials’ (people born between 1980 – 2000) are likely to shop for more organic food to fit in with their personal health & well being targets. This is really exciting news for organic brands, retailers and producers.
Today organic is now well established in the health food trade as well as supermarkets and ethnic foods have become popular or ‘trendy’ but we still face challenges.
This time we have to convince the consumer that cheap alternatives do not offer the same nutritious, quality or flavour benefits and that you may need to pay a little more for authentic organic food products where standards, ethics and tradition are not compromised.
Find out more
The Clearspring is a sales and marketing company with a global organic and vegan Fine Food brand, appreciated locally in our sales network of over 45 countries.