The Best Affordable and High-Quality, Ethical Products in Dubai.
Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Sustainable Shopping in the UAE and Saudi Arabia with Blue Terra.
Being an eco-friendly, conscious, shopper, who also happens to be vegan, means discovering a new online shopping platform dedicated to conscious shoppers was a very useful find. You see, there are only a few platforms in Dubai, let alone the UAE, where you can go online to find dedicated eco-friendly, ethical, clean and fairtrade brands for kids, adults, and the home – all under one (virtual) roof. But Blue Terra seems to be one of the best platforms to find a large selection of sustainable premium products for a much cheaper price than anywhere I’ve found in the UAE. They curate over 5,000 organic and sustainable food and household goods that are up to 35 per cent off retail. Consider them a cross between Costco and Whole Foods Market online!
Launched at the end of 2021, it’s one of the newest marketplaces to open in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Founder and CEO, Aboudy Farkh says that the name Blue Terra is primarily inspired by the astronomer Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.” Aboudy adds, “When Voyager 1, the first spacecraft destined to leave the solar system, turned around to take a picture of Earth, it appeared as a pale blue dot and Blue Terra is a remix of this.”
All the products they sell are clean brands that are doing their part to be kind to the planet. They also focus on fairtrade, and fair wage so expect all the brands and businesses they work with make a positive impact for communities and the environment, with decent work ethics and a supply chain that is reducing their carbon footprint. My favourite brands on offer are The Botanist, Method, Ecover, Sunkiss, Shirley Conlon Organics, Upfill, Glow Hub and Uoga Uoga.
The user-friendly platform also caters for specific diets. You’ll find food for those that are vegan, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, and keto. There’s also a good selection of locally sourced seafood, and meat too. They are working with local brands and businesses, which is a plus. I can happily find all my daily essentials from sustainable diapers and baby wipes to clean skincare brands and fantastic vegan food.
How does the process work online? You should join as a member for just Dhs40 a month to get access to over 5,000 organic and sustainable groceries. If you are buying organic and sustainable food, expect delivery between 1-2 hours, and for household goods it can take about 2-3 days (roughly) for delivery. Previously if you ordered household products this would be the timeframe because they are being delivered direct from different brand suppliers using carbon neutral transportation, such as electric or hybrid vehicles. But I’m told that this timeframe will be changed soon, and all products will be delivered from under one roof in the coming month or two, which is great for customers for a smoother delivery with just one package. It’s still early days for the business so they have been testing the market.
Aboudy tells me, “The average customer saves over Dhs3,500 per year on groceries and that is a savings guarantee. If you don’t end up saving with us, we’ll refund you the membership. And the first month is free anyway.” Every time you purchase something, you give 1 per cent of sales to an incredible NGO and 1 per cent for the planet, so you are contributing to conservation efforts around the world. It’s a win-win!
Here’s a quick Q&A with Founder and CEO Aboudy Farkh:
Q: What inspired you to launch this platform? Can you tell me a bit about you? Do you think there was a gap in the market in the GCC?
Aboudy: I've always been around nature. I spent the summertime in the countryside as a kid. Before we had device distractions, nature is what enthralled my attention. Even after I left Lebanon, every time I visit, I'm hiking somewhere. One day in fall 2019, while I was visiting my parents, a 100 forest fires broke out due to a deadly trio of high temperatures, wind, and dry air. Because of that, fires spread out. The government couldn’t do anything about it. In fact, the type 1 choppers that are typically used to fight wildfires were out of maintenance. Because of that, I became increasingly alarmed about the dangers of climate change. Up until then it was laying in the background. I started digging to learn more about what’s happening. I realised that we’re at the 10th hour, and there’s still something to be done.
Until then, my career has been at the intersection of consumer products and technology, so I had to find a problem to address that I was passionate about, good at and posed a real problem. That turned out to be that people really struggled with finding planet conscious products and complain about their high prices.
That's where the idea of Blue Terra came from. A membership-based planet conscious platform that took the hassle out of finding these products and availed them to people at prices that matched what they usually bought in non-sustainable options.
The GCC was prime for such an initiative. Awareness and readiness were high. But there was no enabler. You can refer to this research done by BCG for more information.
Q: How are your prices so reasonable?
Aboudy: It's very simple. We diligently curate the best healthy and sustainable brands, don't go through a middleman and, through the membership, are able to offer organic and sustainable consumer goods without the retail markups.
Q: Where do you source your products (food/homecare/beauty/skincare)? Are they local produce/brands?
Aboudy: In order to create a curation of products and brands that fulfil all the household needs for planet conscious individuals, we've had to source products from abroad, despite having a big preference for local. We've focused on the best performing, most well-known brands, along with hidden gems that have not had the acclaim the other brands such as Love Beauty & Planet, Ecover and Biona have had.
Q: What is the selection process for all your brands? How does it make the cut?
Aboudy: Brands go through a rigorous examination process where we dig into how where the raw materials are sourced, from who and how they are manufactured. We investigate what the product is made of and what it is packaged in. We end up with a scoring system that involves north of 47 metrics. If the brand scores higher than our threshold, we decide to bring it onboard. If not, then it doesn’t make the cut.
Q: Any bestselling or exclusive brands?
Aboudy: There are more than 5,000 amazing brands that we list that include the following: Love Beauty & Planet, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Earth Goods, Biona, Sukin, HiPP, Goli, Driscoll’s, Planet Organic, Glowhub, Pukka, Method Home, Cheeky Panda, Oatly, Amazonia, Goli, Salt & Stone, Mad Hippie, Grown Alchemist and much much more.
Q: Why did you launch in Dubai and KSA? Anywhere next?
Aboudy: When one wants to change the world (helping people be effortlessly sustainable), one has got to start with his home. The UAE has been home for more than eight years now. We're planning to launch throughout Europe in the next few years.
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