Fairtrade is a huge movement that has spread to almost every aspect of daily life. And now in its 20th year, Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 25th February – 10th March , celebrates all ethically sourced products on our shop shelves.
When you think of Fairtrade, what springs to mind? Bananas and chocolate for most of us. But Fairtrade is a huge movement that has spread to almost every aspect of daily life. And now in its 20th year, Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 25th February – 10th March , celebrates all ethically sourced products on our shop shelves.
When a product is labelled Fairtrade you can rest assured that a fair cut of sales will go directly back to the farmer, producer or village, giving them a better deal than if there was a greedy middle man taking a cut. You’ll often pay no more for the ethical version, as the money is simply distributed in a kinder, fairer way.
Here are Belle About Town‘s pick of the best Fairtrade products on the High Street this Fairtrade Fortnight:
Wine: Fairtrade wines have become a staple of many a social occasion in the UK. To serve not just excellent, but ethical, wine at a dinner party is to earn extra brownie points. Sainsbury’s stocks a wide range of Taste the Difference South African wines, all of which are 100% Fairtrade. Our favourite is the Chenin Blanc priced at £7. If a red is more your style, try Waitrose’s Fairtrade Merlot, a soft and juicy wine, and only £5.99, or Co-Op’s full-bodied Argentinian Irresistible Fairtrade Malbec at £6.99. Proceeds from this smooth and fruity red have helped to improve the lives of people in Argentina by providing safe drinking water and education. For rosé lovers it’s back to Sainsbury’s for their Vine Garden Rosé.
Acai: Impossible to pronounce, but possibly the most nutritious botanical on the planet, Acai is full of antioxidants, healthy omegas and vital nutrition. Very much an on-trend ingredient and addition to dishes, not all acai is fairtrade, which is why we reccommend SambazonAçaí – the only certified organic and Fairtrade Açaí brand in the UK. Sambazon take its name from its core goal, Sustainable Management of the Brazilian Amazon and each purchase helps to preserve the Amazon rainforest and the families that farm there.
Grown-Up Soft Drinks: Gusto Organic have just launched three new summer flavours that are all fairtrade, and a great choice when it isn’t wine time: Real Cherry Cola, Fiery Ginger With Chipotle and Sicilian Blood Orange. “Ginger drinks tend to be very high in calories to balance the heat with sweet, Gusto Organic have cleverly kept this one to below 100 calories a bottle, it’s a quintessential adult soft drink and makes a superb mixer. All of Gusto Organic’s drinks are free from refined sugar, have reduced their calories by 20% using organic certified erythritol and use Fair for Life blue agave from Jalisco in Mexico and Fairtrade apple juice from Argentina and the China/Mongolia border. Available in Fortnum & Mason, Ocado, Whole Foods Market and premium and natural trade retailers across the UK for RRP £1.89 per bottle.
Chocolate: It’s true – chocolate really can be guilt-free! Buy a Fairtrade bar and sit safe in the knowledge that with each bite you are helping cocoa farmers live better lives. Dutch chocolatiers Tony’s Chocolonely have succeeded where many other Fairtrade chocolate makers fail – their product is absolutely delicious. New to the UK this year, the chunky bars are available in Selfridges, Ocado, Whole Foods and Waitrose, and will be launching in Sainsbury’s this month. They exist to make the chocolate industry 100% slave free. Tony’s are Fairtrade certified, and have also revolutionised how manufacturers source, process and pay for cocoa to inspire other chocolate makers to change their ways and make a difference. We were gifted some bars but will be adding Tony’s Chocolonely to our weekly treats list because it is genuinely the most exciting chocolate brand we’ve come across in years. There are various flavours, but the sea salt caramel milk chocolate is our absolute favourite.
Coffee: Treat yourself to a Fairtrade Coffee Selection Pack from York Coffee Emporium, which features five Fairtrade certified coffees to ensure you do your bit to help farmers in developing countries achieve better working conditions, and promote sustainability. If you’re just looking for a quick caffeine fix, most major supermarkets offer their own brand in Fairtrade coffee. Co-op and Sainsbury’s come out on top for us.
Tea: English Tea Shop are a premium tea brand that work solely with the finest Organic and Fairtrade farmers to create ethically sourced tea.
The brand uses age-old practices and quality tea leaves to create a superb tea coming from the heart of Sri Lanka, and is built on sustainable and ethical values with employee and farmer welfare at its core. With Redbush Chai, English Breakfast and Earl Grey varieties, there’s a tea for everyone. Available from Amazon.
If you’re looking for more choice – Pukka Teas are renowned for their quality and taste, and the good news is that they have a range of Fairtrade teas too, 10 of their 37 varieties are certified Fairtrade, with all the rest classified as Fair for Life – a label for fair and equitable trade systems. Try their Supreme Matcha Green Tea for a real kickstart in the morning, or the spicy Vanilla Chai as an afternoon pick-me-up. They also do great Earl Grey and Breakfast varieties.
Wider shops: We found Traidcraft a great place to shop for all the above and more. Known as the original fair trade pioneers in the UK, Traidcaraft advocate the importance of organic farming, sustainability and transparency to the lives of growers and artisans around the world. They are a one-stop-shop for hundreds of fair trade products, including handcrafted ethical gifts, fashion and hand-harvested foods. Many of their products are on offer to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, including chocolate, muesli, sugar and honey, with up to 20% off.
If you’re Dalston way…: Marking Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation has unveiled the world’s first secret hot chocolate salon, hidden inside an unassuming newsagent on Kingsland Road, E2. Within the magazine racks and behind the countless snacks, inquisitive chocolate lovers can press a secret button that will see a hidden door open – ready to transport them to a West-African themed speakeasy-style cafe.
Created to support Fairtrade’s ‘She Deserves’ campaign, Rosine’s Hot Chocolate Salon is named after a real cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire – and aims to show why cocoa farmers, like Rosine, deserve a fair living income.
Three delicious hot chocolates are on the menu – created by leading celebrity chefs, Melissa Hemsley, Tess Ward and Tom Hunt. Each is named after a real cocoa farmer from West Africa and priced at £1.86 – the cost of a day’s living income for a cocoa farmer. Customers are also treated to authentic West African jazz music, some surprise appearances from celebrity ambassadors, and the chance to hear some compelling stories behind the cocoa farmers.
Cocoa farmers typically work gruelling days yet earn insufficient money to provide the basics for their families or give opportunities to their children – and female cocoa farmers like Rosine carry the greatest burden. They work in the fields, look after children, carry water and transport the cocoa beans to market, often with fewer rights than men.
Fairtrade Fortnight’s She Deserves campaign aims to establish a living income for women cocoa growers in West Africa. Fairtrade standards ensure that women have a voice in the community, are represented in decision-making and benefit from the increased value of Fairtrade sales.
All money raised by the salon will help fund programmes such as the Women’s School of Leadership in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to empower women cocoa farmers in West Africa to become business owners, members of farming groups and leaders in their communities.
Julia Nicoara, from the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We’re excited to launch the immersive Rosine’s Hot Chocolate Salon, an experience that allows chocolate lovers interact with the very people who make their favourite delight possible. This is not just any pop up; visitors are engaged in the lives of the cocoa farmers behind a bar of chocolate and every time you buy a Fairtrade certified product you are making a real difference.”
And just down the road at TT Liquor there will be a series of fundraising events for Fairtrade Fortnight – with an emphasis, once again, on all things chocolate. Teaming up with FAIR. spirits (the world’s first ethically and sustainably sourced spirits), TT Liquor will be serving a special cocktail for the two weeks in their downstairs cellar bar. There will also be an events throughout the two weeks, including tastings, a supper-club with Plate London, and cinema screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
- For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight see www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight