What else are you buying when you purchase Oryx Desert Salt? It turns out it’s a lot more than just salt. As well as being unpolluted and pure, the taste is exceptional, containing essential minerals and trace elements and it’s loved by chefs around the world.
But that’s not all.
‘The average consumer often doesn’t know that producing our salt has a social and environmental impact far beyond what they might expect and we believe it’s important to know what that impact is,’ says Samantha Skyring, CEO and founder of Oryx Desert Salt. ‘We’re finding that more and more consumers want to know the story about the social and environmental conditions they are buying into beyond just the product itself.’
‘We’ve given a lot of thought to how we can make our packaging more sustainable,’ says Sam. “We have replaced paper stick-on labels with labels printed directly onto recyclable glass bottles and our ceramic grinder heads last up to 10-12 times longer than normal plastic throw-away grinders.”
Oryx has also introduced refill boxes for their entire range as a way of encouraging consumers to refill and reuse grinders rather than just discarding into the landfill and buying another.
Oryx believes strongly in giving back to the community, so for every product sold, a percentage is donated to the Khomani San and Mier communities who own !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari Desert. For more information visit tfpdfoundation.org
‘We’re a local South African company harvesting pristine, natural salt in an environmentally sustainable way within our own country,’ says Sam. The 50km2 salt pan is situated in the Kalahari Desert. Here, the rain-water fed underground streams converge andconstantly replenish an ancient underground lake of 55million tons from which the salt water is pumped, laid on the pan under the hot Kalahari sun and sun-dried. This is unrefined, unprocessed salt as nature intended – no additives, no bleaching, no preservatives.
Oryx has created supplier relationships with several local enterprises which all share a common empowerment goalfor the people working inside these organisations. Ukama Holdings, packages all Oryx Desert Salt products. It’s also a social enterprise started with the aim of creating micro enterprises who act as their supply chain in the various packaging services they offer. ‘Ukama’ is a Shona word meaning ‘we are related’ or ‘we are family’ A word which encompasses a philosophy of inclusiveness which resonates well with Oryx Desert Salt’s own aims.
Oryx’s pure cotton bags are sewn by a home industry project in Ndabeni village. The founding seamstress, Thaakira Essau, has grown her team to seven women in order to cope with the demands for Oryx Desert Salt bags.
Macassar Pottery which produces the Oryx Salt pots, is a self-sustaining social enterprise founded in 2010, offering a safe space for the community, youths in particular, to discover and follow their dreams. There, locals are upskilled to be entrepreneurs through their unique ceramic ware. The business is co-owned by its employees.
Behind every product on a shelf, there’s a story of interconnectedness to everyone who contributes to the making of the product, as well as the earth itself which provides the initial raw material for us to harvest. As consumers, we have a right and a responsibility to know what kind of story we’re supporting and buying into – even when we buy something as simple, basic and necessary as a bag of salt.