Hailstones in May
On the 18th May 2021, I was sitting at home, worried. I’d recently quit my job searching for something with a greater sense of ‘purpose’, but I had no idea where that would come from.
I looked outside on that early summer afternoon to see hailstones clattering against London’s windows. In May. Somehow it felt like climate change was trying to get my attention.
I remember that day because I was reading about rice farming in Drawdown - a book that lays bare the environmental cost of rice and its contribution to the climate crisis.
I was shocked by the scale of the problem. But by the end of that chapter I was feeling inspired by the book’s focus on the solution - sustainable rice farming. Full of optimism, I went online in search of sustainably farmed rice and…
Nothing. No UK brands were selling it. Worse still, none of them were even talking about the shocking environmental problems.
Rice has the second highest emissions of any food after beef. Farmers and scientists know how to cut those emissions in half but the big brands are keeping silent. WHAT THE ***?.
And that was the moment I decided I had to start a rice brand.
Er, how do you start a rice brand?
First, I needed to understand sustainable rice farming. I spoke to leading scientists, trawled through industry reports and news articles. Eventually, when Covid allowed, I went to India to speak to the farmers themselves.
The more I learned, the more confident I became that this sustainable farming method was the future of rice.
So I set about finding partners to ship, warehouse, cook, pack and warehouse (again) my rice. Eventually, with a supply chain more or less in place, I could confidently start the fun part - coming up with a name and a brand.
I started talking to friends about my idea and within a week three of them, separately, had laughed and said "you should call it NICE RICE". I'm still not sure if they were joking. But I couldn't think of anything better and it made me smile. So we went for it.
At the same time, with help from some of the best food developers in the UK we set out to create the best tasting rice possible. I wanted to ensure there was no excuse not to buy our rice. Our Chipotle recipe was version 16 and I think it was worth the wait (thanks Ben!).
It took two years and an army of amazing people, but in May 2023 NICE RICE was born! Now our journey really starts.
NICE RICE is here to build demand for sustainably farmed rice. Because when enough people demand change, that's when change happens.