Sustainable, Organic, Local
The “SOL Principles”
The name of our company, Sol Pops, has several layers of meaning. "Sol" is Spanish for sun, which is an homage to our culinary heritage in Latin America. Sol Pops also give Portland a little sunshine, even when it’s gray outside. Plus, making and selling the pops is good for our "souls" too, because it makes us happy to make you happy.
On another level, "SOL" is also an acronym that stands for "Sustainable | Organic | Local". These SOL Principles form the core of our company’s vision, and we think about them with every decision we make as we grow and evolve.
We recognize that we will not always be able to utilize sustainable business practices, but we are committed to searching for new and innovative solutions and to implementing them wherever we can. Below are a few of the ways we have worked to demonstrate our commitment to our community and to sustainability:
Pop! In the Name of Love! – Alternatives for Food Sensitivities
- Ingredients. We use local and organic ingredients wherever possible to reduce the number of food miles traveled for our pops. If we can’t source something locally, then it is certified organic. Since we have established relationships with many of the organic farmers in the Willamette Valley, most of our ingredients are both local and organic. At the same time, we work hard to look beyond "Organic" as a marketing term, and also try to account for other facets of a very complex web of social relationships. We are concerned with fair labor practices and the treatment of workers, carbon footprint issues, food miles traveled, recyclability of our production materials, etc. As a result, some of our strawberries are Certified Sustainable by the Food Alliance, which takes into account variables other than just the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
- Sticks. We are the first frozen novelty company in the United States to use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sticks.
- Boxes. Our boxes are made of 100% (92% post-consumer) recycled content
- Bags. Our bags are Grade 4 plastic, and can be recycled wherever you can recycle plastic grocery bags.
- Carbon Footprint. We vend from vintage cooler tricycles and make our deliveries in a 1978 Cushman Truckster to minimize our carbon footprint. We often ride our bikes to the farmers markets (depending on how many pops we need and how far away the market is). Since Portland is such a bike-friendly town, our vending units have been a huge hit with both big and small kids.
- Composting and Recycling. We compost 100% of the organic material generated at our facility, and we have implemented a sophisticated recycling program.
- Community Outreach. We have established a popsicle stick recycling program that diverts sticks from the waste stream for local craft and gardening projects.
- Vegan-Friendliness. All of our pops are vegan. We use coconut for our cream-based pops, not only because they are delicious but also because of the amount of petroleum required to grow corn and to sustain the cows that produce dairy products. We also see it as an animal cruelty issue, since dairy animals in many operations are treated poorly (in both organic and conventional facilities). Also, the unfortunate byproduct of a milk-producing cow is veal (its offspring).
We offer pops sweetened with agave or fruit cider in addition to pops containing organic evaporated cane juice so that people with food allergies, diabetics, raw foods enthusiasts, and mothers trying to limit their children’s sugar intake can all enjoy Sol Pops.
Since our ingredients are primarily whole fruit and juices, people with a wide variety of food allergies can enjoy them. We had one mother last summer who would buy dozens to keep in her freezer because her kids were allergic to almost everything, and they would feel left out when the ice cream truck came by. Over the course of the summer, the other kids actually started getting jealous of the Sol Pops!
People who like natural and organic foods appreciate Sol Pops because of where we source our ingredients, and since our water-based pops contain relatively little sugar and are mostly fruit and juice, they usually contain only around 50 calories.