You do your best to shop sustainably, but it can be tough to spot legitimately eco-friendly products at the grocery store when there are countless greenwashed ones out there. That’s what intrigued us about Hive, an online market claims to do all the research (and taste-testing) for you, so you can shop easier. We ate and drank our way through one of the brand’s subscription boxes to see what our favorite snacks, bevs and household products were. Read on for more about Hive and our top picks.
Hive Brands’ Subscription Box Makes Sustainable Shopping Easy—Here’s How It Works (& the 6 Best Buys)
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What Is Hive?
Hive is an online store that carries environmentally friendly, sustainable products, ranging from snacks, pantry essentials and drinks to household items and pet food. They prioritize combatting climate change and minimizing waste by featuring brands and products that use quality ingredients (meaning traceable ingredients that are sourced through forward-thinking environmental practices), have a low carbon footprint, come in recyclable packaging and make a difference in local communities. In short, everything you buy on Hive makes a positive impact on the world, so you can feel good about your purchases without wondering if you’re falling victim to greenwashing. (That’s when a business tries to make its products seem more eco-conscious to consumers than they actually are.)
In addition to crowd favorites like Tony’s Chocolonely, Quinn Foods and Dr. Bronner’s, Hive also carries many small, independent brands. You can also filter your shopping list by business attributes (like BIPOC- or women-owned), dietary needs (like vegan and gluten-free) and causes (like animal rights and education).
The brand sells a variety of goods through a subscription or a one-time box, and you can also build multiple boxes at once or opt to subscribe to individual products instead of a whole box. There are no curated boxes at this time, so you’ll select every item in your shipment. Of course, your carbon-neutral delivery arrives in eco-friendly packaging; the box is printed with non-toxic ink and packed with 100 percent recyclable materials. Our box came with 12 products—five snacks, four drinks, two storage items and one pantry staple. Below, you’ll find our favorites of the lot.
1. Pipcorn Heirloom Cheddar Cheese Balls
Forget the neon-orange junk food of your past. These cheese balls are made from nothing but organic cheese, buttermilk, heirloom corn and paprika for color. The mini heirloom corn is a special variety that’s been bred to preserve farms’ biodiversity, and Pipsnacks sources theirs straight from domestic family farms. They’re gluten-free, salty, crunchy and dangerously poppable.
2. Uglies Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips
Made from cosmetically imperfect, local potatoes that other brands would toss in landfills, Uglies lowers their carbon footprint with every bag of chips they produce. They also boast a zero-waste facility that diverts more than 200 tons of waste into energy. The salt and vinegar variety is punchy, acidic and damn delicious; we appreciate that they weren’t shy with the vinegar.
3. Rise Brewing Co. Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Responsibly sourced, organic Peruvian coffee? Check. Recyclable aluminum cans and cardboard packaging? Check. A caffeine-packed pick-me-up that you’ll actually want to get out of bed for? Most definitely. RISE’s black cold brew is infused with nitrogen, which makes each sip ultra-silky. Pour the java into a glass and let it cascade until the color sets, like you would a nitro beer. Then, add milk and sugar if you’d like (although it’s so smooth that you may not need it).
4. Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
Normally, we make a beeline to the Tony’s Chocolonely section of the site, but these tiny Mounds-like bars from UNREAL impressed us. Made with fair-trade, vegan and gluten-free ingredients, each bar only contains 3 grams of sugar, a fraction of the amount in big-brand candy bars. Between the sustainable cacao and crunchy coconut shavings, you’ll be transported to a tropical beach at first bite.
5. Bee’s Wrap Reusable Food Storage
This reusable alternative to plastic wrap is pretty darn incredible. Bee’s Wrap is an ingenious invention made of cotton coated in beeswax and organic jojoba oil. These, like plastic, help wick moisture away and keep leftover foods fresh. Not only are they practical and washable, but they’re also easy on the eyes. Use them to tote everything from sandwiches to avocado halves.
6. Dona Masala Chai Tea Concentrate
Lightly sweet and impeccably spiced, this masala chai concentrate is just the ticket for non-coffee drinkers. It’s crafted from purified water, organic black tea and spices like ginger, green cardamom and cinnamon. Simply cut it with milk—hot or cold—to make a latte. (We used the Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Almonds that came in our box—it’s surprisingly creamy compared to other almond milks we’ve tried.) DONA products are made with organic ingredients, and the excess from brewing is repurposed to make their renowned Zero Waste Spice Dust.