Sundance Natural Foods Sustainable Procurement Guidelines

“Guarding the Gates”


Sundance Natural Foods is a traditional, independent natural foods store emphasizing whole, minimally processed, organic food. Sundance is a “ product driven” store, not an “industry driven” or “market-driven” store. We value the integrity of a product more than the opportunity to make money on it, and shy from products that may be popular or trendy, but are less healthy or sustainable.

We focus on products made with organic whole grains, legumes, and vegetables that have high nutritional value. We avoid genetically modified ingredients, petrochemical fertilizers, synthetic herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, etc. We also avoid harmful or unnecessary ingredients like trans-fats, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, unnecessary sugars, and non-naturally occurring flavor enhancers like added MSG.

We favor packaging with the lowest carbon footprint, using the least energy and resources. We also support packaging that can be reused, recycled or is a nontoxic, sustainably produced compostable product.

We promote local organic agriculture, sustainable farming, manufacturing and distribution We support Fair Trade, Domestic Fair Trade and other verifiably fairly traded commodities..

Sundance believes that genetically engineered foods crops are intrinsically unsustainable and unsafe, economically, ecologically, and to human and animal health. We actively and wholeheartedly work to keep GE food ingredients out of our store.

Foods created and sold by local vendors who incorporate organic and sustainable practices into their company and products are priced lower at Sundance to encourage customers to support this local, sustainable economy.

Detailed Guidelines for: Ingredients, Packaging, Food Miles, Local Vendors, Third Party Certification, Genetically Engineered Food Crops, Manufacturer’s Corporate Affiliations


  • Whole grains and whole legumes
  • Organically grown – no unapproved herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers
  • Sustainably grown – permaculture, biodynamics
  • High nutritional value – whole, fresh, minimally processed
  • No Genetically engineered food crops (No GMOs)
  • No trans fats
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • No unnecessary sugar
  • Some leeway for special diets, for instance, gluten-free

Not all of our products are 100% organic. Sometimes, other factors have to be weighed: the history and reputation of the manufacturer, the packaging, food miles, certifications, catering to restricted diets, and corporate affiliations.

As well, the quality of the product itself, in terms of taste and texture, is also important. Food has to both BE good and TASTE good!


We prioritize food in packaging with the lowest carbon footprint. We support packaging that can be reused, recycled or is a nontoxic compostable. We do not support biodegradable or photodegradable plastics. We also avoid biodegradable packaging made from GMO crop based by-products.

We favor companies that do not use phenol-based lacquers (aka, BPA, BPS, BPF, BPAF, etc.) in their can linings, and hope to have a totally phenol-free canned goods department as soon as the products we carry are available with safe alternative can linings. Phenol- based products are proven endocrine disruptors with a host of well-studied deleterious health effects

We favor minimally packaged products and avoid over packaged products.

We look for paper products and packaging with a high “post-consumer” recycled content.

We encourage our customers to reuse containers and bags.  We sell reusable bags at below cost and charge for the use of paper bags at the register. We charge 5 and 10 cents for bags and donate that money to local nonprofit environmental organizations that emphasize sustainable forestry. We made the decision to charge for bags before it was mandated by local ordinance.


We like to procure products from as close to home as possible. However, a major portion of our grocery, chill and frozen foods are brought to us by UNFI, a large international distributor (It started out in the 1980s as a small regional distributor, then called Mountain People’s Warehouse.) It is difficult to measure the overall food miles of products brought to us by UNFI, as the details of the miles traveled by various foods can change from delivery to delivery, and is dependent an a complex host of factors. We presume much greater food miles from products delivered by this distributor than from locally produced products.(Food miles: a mile over which a food item is transported from producer to consumer, as a unit of measurement of the fuel used to do this.)

Sundance considers any product grown or produced within 100 miles of Eugene to be a local product. Sundance also uses a “regional” designation, which is a bigger zone that includes all of Oregon, Washington State and the western half of Idaho.

Sundance does as much business as it can with our local distributor, Hummingbird Wholesale. Hummingbird actively sources Willamette Valley grains, beans, fruits, and honeys well with in the 100-mile radius. Also, they deliver thousands of pounds of food by a recumbent, human-powered “pick-up truck.” It is powered by human calories, not fossil fuels.

Local Vendors

Sundance encourages local products. Local vendors have unique products and are a source of pride and local flavor. We work actively with local vendors, give special pricing to their products. We consult with new businesses on their products, ingredients and business plans. This enhances the diversity of choices in our store and subverts the dominant paradigm of getting our food from massive consolidated corporations delivered via massive food miles.

Third party certification

We support independent third party certifications. This includes Fair Trade, Salmon Safe, Shade Grown, Organic Certification, and USDA Organic, and so on.

Not all certifiers or certifications are equally trustworthy, and Sundance tries to do due diligence in vetting claims and certificates.


Sundance believes that genetically engineered foods crops are intrinsically unsustainable and unsafe, economically, ecologically, and to human and animal health. We actively and wholeheartedly work to keep GE food ingredients out of our store.

We work to educate ourselves and our customers on the dangers and challenges of genetically engineered foods, and support legislation that empowers people to know what they are eating, and to have the right to choose.

Manufacturer’s Corporate Affiliations

In the early days of the natural food movement, all the retailers, distributors and manufacturers of natural food were small, local, and focused on product integrity. As the movement became an industry, the profit motive began to take on greater importance, and the conventional food industry began to take notice of the natural market. Owners of natural food businesses were tempted by the success of their businesses, or reached retirement age, and many natural food concerns became a part of the greater food industry.

Now, a large proportion of natural food products, many of which Sundance has carried for decades, are owned by large multi-national businesses and holding companies. Our store would be sadly lacking in choices if we removed all products now owned by these companies.

Not all of these companies share our philosophy of food, nor our values of sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. Sundance tries to evaluate the affiliation of products to corporations. If a corporation/parent company has a substantial egregious record or history of working against our values – organics, sustainability, non-toxic food, social and environmental responsibility, etc., we remove their products from our shelves, or don’t stock them in the first place.