FAQs

ABOUT US

Who are Steenbergs?

Steenbergs is a family-owned business based in the UK.  Steenbergs was founded in 2003 by Axel and Sophie Steenberg to source and pack high-quality organic and fairly-traded herbs, spices, seasonings and teas.  From the outset, our ethos was, also, to be good for the environment and fair to people.  Steenbergs is still family-owned and run by Axel and Sophie Steenberg.  And genuine quality, sustainability and fairness remain our three business axioms.

Where are Steenbergs based?

Steenbergs has two factories in a village called Melmerby.  Melmerby lies just outside of Ripon in North Yorkshire.

What makes you different?

Steenbergs tries to operate in an open, friendly and honest way, and we hope we make all our decisions to meet our core ethical ideals.  By adhering to these ideals, it means we are smaller, grow less quickly than our competition and sometimes seem more expensive than others, but these are the prices of being good people.  Our products are also hand-crafted, often made to order, and are what we say they are - purely and simply they are the best ingredients we can find that are organic and fairly made, without anything taken out or added in.

Where are your products made?

All Steenbergs raw materials and most of our packaging are imported, but we blend all our mixes at our factories in North Yorkshire.  We also do all our own packing here in North Yorkshire.  Even the fabric bags that we pack mulling wine and whisky toddy in are sewn in the UK.

Aren't organic and Fairtrade just myths?

No, organic and Fairtrade certified products are what they say they are - good for the environment, free from chemicals and respectful of people.  Yes, there are inconsistencies and bad operators, but we are confident enough in what we do and how the systems work to be sure that Steenbergs products are sustainable, free from nasties and fair in our supply chains.  In fact, we relish the inconsistencies because it shows how a mature system addresses all the potential problems inherent in a set of rules. 

Do you pay your people enough?

We pay all our staff - including directors - the same hourly rate.  This is set at a premium to the Living Wage as set by the UK Government.  For anyone that works on a piece work rate, they are paid on the basis of the rules set out by the UK Government for calculating those rates.  We are striving to move our wage rates towards those proposed by the Living Wage Foundation, but it is really tough to move when there is constant downwards pressure on costs from customers!

OUR PRODUCTS

What makes your spices and teas different?

Our products are good honest food.  They are what they say on the pack, with no hidden or mystery ingredients.  They are as pure and clean as possible.  This gives Steenbergs' spices and teas a cleaner and deeper flavour that is more pungent and richer than you might expect elsewhere.  On the downside, it means they taste completely different to high-street branded products and may vary from batch-to-batch, but then that is what real food is like and you're welcome to buy from big brands if you want. 

Are your products good for health?

Many of the herbs and spices that Steenbergs sells are used in traditional medicines, however few have scientifically proven health benefits.  Turmeric is the most promising, but cinnamon and pepper are also possibilities.  We don't make any claims ourselves, but there is plenty of information on the internet that varies in quality from pure conjecture to the fairly helpful. 

Where are your products made?

All Steenbergs raw materials are imported but we blend all our mixes at our factories in North Yorkshire.  We also do all our own packing here in North Yorkshire.

Do your products come from China?

Some of Steenbergs products do indeed come from China, simply because that is where they come from - for example, China teas like bamboo, lapsang souchong and pu-erh originate from China.  Furthermore, the spice and tea tins and some of the factored products on the Steenbergs website come from China.  This does not mean we approve of the Chinese political system; in fact, we seek to minimise what we buy from places with poor human rights records.

Are your products vegan-friendly?

All Steenbergs products are vegan-friendly.  Some have, also, been registered with the Vegan Society.  Likewise, all our products are suitable for vegetarians. 

As a vegan and vegetarian business, we are opposed to harm to any form of life with a nervous system, i.e. those that can sense pain.  Therefore, while some of our vegan products are halal, this does not mean Steenbergs condones halal butchery, or for that matter kosher or any method for killing animals for food.

Are you products organic and Fairtrade?

Most of our products are organic and a very large range is also Fairtrade.  Some are neither organic nor Fairtrade, but we make very clear where this is the case - these are usually either very specialist ingredients or non-farmed products.  If you've got a query, then just contact us about the specific product. 

What about GMO?

None of Steenbergs products are genetically modified.  And, notwithstanding its potential benefits, Steenbergs is opposed to genetic engineering.

Are your products kosher?

Most of our products are naturally kosher, but some are not.  Many ingredients and blends have been certified as kosher by KLBD - London Beth Din.  For more details, please email us.

Are you products halal?


All Steenbergs products are, we believe, suitable for those who require a halal diet.  Furthermore, some of Steenbergs products are certified as conforming with the requirements of halal under Islamic law by Halal Certification Europe.  For more details, please email us.

What about allergies?

Allergens are a really tricky area.  We try to minimise the risk of contamination of our products by allergens.

Steenbergs does not have the following allergens in any of the manufacturing areas: crustaceans, egg, fish, lupin, milk, peanuts, sulphur dioxide, tree nuts.  Furthermore, breadcrumbs, celery, mustard and sesame are not present in the tea packing factory.

However, we do have breadcrumbs, celery, mustard and sesame within our range of herbs and spices products.

We remove the potential of cross-contamination by storing products separately, processing at different times and using specific equipment.  Then, we have weekly and monthly testing programmes in the packing areas to check there really are no allergens present.  Additionally, within the testing schedule we test products for allergens.   

So while it is not possible to completely eliminate the risks, we feel we've got it reduced to almost zero. 

Are you products gluten free?

Yes, other than the stuffings that do contain breadcrumbs. 

How can we be sure, you might well ask!  We only pack stuffings on a few limited occasions every year, so it is easy to restrict the potential risks.  We remove the potential of cross-contamination by storing products separately, processing at different times and using specific equipment. 

Also, we test the factory environment for gluten and products on a random basis.  This gives us the confidence that there is no gluten in Steenbergs products.

Do your products contain sulphur dioxide?

No, none of Steenbergs products contains sulphur dioxide. 

Where can I find nutritional information about your products?

Spices, herbs, seasonings and teas do not need to carry nutritional information.  However, we have an ongoing program to undertake laboratory analyses of all our ingredients to obtain their nutritional data, so we can sometime in the future calculate the nutritional information for all Steenbergs' blends.  Therefore, if you require nutritional information, just email us and we will probably be able to help you.

Is your cinnamon real cinnamon or cassia?

This is perhaps the controversial area of potential substitution in spices.  However, Steenbergs always clearly describes and labels true cinnamon as "Cinnamon" and other cinnamons as "Cassia".  So if you order Cinnamon that's what you will get, but if you order "Cassia" you will get cassia.

PURCHASE AND DELIVERY

Where can I buy Steenbergs and Old Hamlet products?

The best places to buy our entire range are: Steenbergs and Amazon.  Some of Steenbergs spices are sold at Ocado, Selfridges and Whole Foods.

When can I expect my order?

We aim to dispatch our orders within 1 - 2 working days of receiving the order; we do not work at the weekend!  So you should get your order within 5 working days.  However, because Steenbergs is a manufacturer, it might have to blend and pack particular products, which means it can take a bit longer than this.  Also, few deliveries do get delayed during the delivery process, so it is worth calling us, if it seems to have taken an age.

What do I do if my order is late?

The best thing to do is to contact us if it has gone beyond 1 week and your order has not been sent out.  We'll then check what has happened and come back to you really quickly. 

Sometimes, orders that have been dispatched get "lost", but we have found that almost all missing parcels wing their back to Steenbergs - usually with a note stating "not called for"; that's about 0.01% get lost but about 1.67% come back.  So please double check with your neighbours and local post office, just in case it is there.  Otherwise, just email or call us and we will arrange to resend.

Do you charge delivery costs and is there a minimum order?

We do charge £4.50 for orders below £25 in value, but above that it is free, while on Amazon the charge is £3.99.  This is to cover the labour, packaging, delivery costs, VAT, breakages and returns costs of delivering our products to you.  If you think it through, it really is not possible to send a £2.45 jar in the post and cover our costs let alone make a profit. 

Do you ship internationally?

We currently ship to: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.  Unfortunately, because our products have a high weight but low value, the shipping costs are generally regarded by potential customers as simply too high.

Can I cancel my order?

Should you wish to cancel your order, it is best to either email or call us.  We try and dispatch our orders as quickly as possible, so we cannot always stop a delivery as it may have already left.

How do I change my delivery address?

Should you need to change your address after placing your order, you can either sales@steenbergs.co.uk or call us.

What types of payment do you take?

You can pay by all major credit and debit cards, excluding American Express.  Through the website, you can also pay via Paypal.

When will my credit card be charged?

Payment is taken when you place your order.

Is it safe for me to use your site?

The Steenbergs web site is safe.  It has a security certificate so is "https"; this encrypts data between your computer and our server using a SSL protocol (Secure Sockets Layer), so you can be sure that the website is owned by Steenbergs Ltd and that all personal information provided to us is protected.  Furthermore, any payments you make are made directly at Worldpay, so you benefit from their security systems as one of the world's largest payments businesses.