'Eco-chic' offers food for thought

February 28, 1993

Save the Earth -- eat a mint. An EnvirOmint, that is.

Or snack on a handful of Rainforest Crunch nut mix and wash it down with some R. W. Knudsen Tropical Rain Forest guanabana juice, made from a sweet-sour tropical fruit.

Those are just a few of the growing number of goodies that do good for the Earth. They're made by companies that donate a percentage of proceeds from the foods to environmental causes.

In some cases, they contain exotic ingredients from rain forests and other endangered areas, such as flavoring from tropical fruits. The foods can typically be found at nature-oriented shops, natural-foods supermarkets, gourmet stores or zoo and museum gift shops. Many can be ordered by mail through groups such as the National Wildlife Federation.

Supporters say that although the foods may capitalize on the current wave of eco-chic, they also can -- and do -- have a positive environmental impact.

"A lot of monies are now being generated through this kind of program," says Jason Clay, marketing director for Cultural Survival, a non-profit human rights group.

Since Cultural Survival started working with products such as Rainforest Crunch three years ago, the group has raised more than $1 million for rain-forest projects and other efforts.

Another benefit of environmentally correct foods strikes closer to home. If consumers read the packaging, Mr. Clay says, "then you're educating people, and showing and telling them about their role in the environment."

) Universal Press Syndicate

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