Alara Wholefoods

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Alara Wholefoods is an English whole foods company, based in London.

Established in 1975 by Alex and Ciara Smith. Before setting up the business, Alex, an architecture student, had chosen to live without money for a year as a means of opting out of what he found to be an oppressive and objectionable way of life dominated by property developers and non-producing capitalists. By living in a Tolmers Square squat and salvaging food and other goods that had been thrown away by local businesses, the two managed to avoid using any money at all for a year. When they had a child, however, money began to seem necessary and reasonable for providing well for a small family. Alex found two pound notes lying in the street, and they decided to use the found money to pay the entrance fee to Covent Garden market, using a friend's small van to collect and transport fruit and vegetables salvaged from there. Alex built gleaming shelves and bins to fit the dairy that they squatted in the Square, and they commenced selling retail-sized amounts of nuts, dried fruit, dates, grains, beans, and other food gleaned and purchased from the wholesaler Community Foods also located in Tolmers Square, and from New Covent Garden, to neighbors and people buying bulk supplies at Community Foods. As time passed and each week saw more sales, they expanded their enterprise by selling their own muesli, batched and mixed with an oar-sized oak paddle in a salvaged tub at the squat. Tolmers Square, however, was marked for development, and all the squatters and tenants there were rehoused or forced to relocate by Camden Council. The Smiths found a space to rent nearby and opened a small shop and delivery service for what over time developed into a specialized muesli store. They had begun to be one of the early British pioneers in manufacturing and selling healthy, sugar-free muesli and then later Organic muesli.[1]

The company expanded, and became so successful that in 2007 it produced 60% of the British gluten-free muesli market and 100% of the Fairtrade muesli market.[2]

The firm has stuck to its ethical ideals and has aimed at remaining socially responsible and environmentally friendly. In 2008 the firm was awarded the title, 'Green Business of the Year' by the Fast Growth Business Awards.


  1. ^ "Story" (HTML). Alara. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Alara - The Interview - First for Organic muesli and more" (HTML). Grocery Trader. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 

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