This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

NOW CLOSED: Do you buy Fairtrade products? Share your views (and hear about The Big Fair Bake) – and you could win a fab Baking Goodie Bag worth £100

(142 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-Sep-12 14:39:41

We've been asked by The Fairtrade Foundation to find out your thoughts on why Fairtrade products aren't bought by more people and also to encourage you to get involved in the Big Fair Bake.

Add your thoughts below - or share how you're getting involved (including who (person, group etc) you'd love to bake for) for a chance to win a lovely Baking Goodie Bag (worth £100).

The Fairtrade Foundation say "we think baking tastes better when you share it, so we want The Big Fair Bake to inspire the nation to bake for others. It's as simple as buying a few Fairtrade ingredients, popping on your pinny or rolling up your sleeves and baking up a treat - not just for friends, family, colleagues, but also the farming communities in developing countries who grew the ingredients".

"Baking with Fairtrade ingredients is one easy way for everyone to make a difference to millions of people who desperately need a better deal from trade. Without a fair price for the crops they grow, many farmers struggle to support their families. Fairtrade offers farmers and workers the safety net of a fair price today and a little extra to invest in projects which benefit the whole community, such as clean water, education and health care".

"The good news is that sales of Fairtrade products have reached £1.3 billion in the UK, however this still only accounts for 3% of all our food and drink purchases"

The Fairtrade Foundation would love to know your thoughts on what would make you bake with more Fairtrade ingredients? How can they encourage others to do so too?

Let us know what you think and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a fantastic Bake Goodie Bag, packed with £100 worth of Tala baking equipment, Fairtrade baking ingredients (including cocoa, vanilla, nuts, chocolate and dried fruit), cake decorations and complementary Fairtrade products to enjoy with your cakes, including tea and coffee.

You can find out more about The Big Fair Bake here.

Thanks and good luck!
MNHQ

gazzalw Mon 24-Sep-12 15:52:53

A lot of it comes down to economics I'm afraid to say. Ideally would always buy Fairtrade products but they are more expensive and are not always affordable on a budget. Not SIL who earns the same as me and is single buys Fairtrade products but our family of four doesn't!

The only way to get round this is if either all of certain types of product were made to be Fairtrade or by equalizing the prices so one would not be losing out financially.

Being altruistic is fine and dandy but it does often come at an economic price that many of us simply can't afford to pay with pay freezes etc....

Osmiornica Mon 24-Sep-12 16:08:41

I buy fairtrade chocolate, bananas and sugar. Sainsburys own brand sugar is fairtrade and cheaper than the branded ones also all their bananas are fairtrade. I don't buy much else fairtrade as there isn't that much in the supermarkets unless you shop in the Co op. It is more expensive and like organic, is something I'd like to buy more of but can't afford.

I buy a lot of local food - veg and fruit - and would opt for local over fairtrade to cut down on food miles and to support the local farmers.

northender Mon 24-Sep-12 16:25:28

I buy fairtrade tea, coffee, cocoa, hot chocolate, sugar and chocolate (not always). The dc's school is registered Fairtrade so they are pretty clued up on it via assemblies etc. We are in the fortunate position of being able to afford it though and I do think that's a big issue with people. Local to us there is a "fairtrade town" and our school is registered. This results in lots of newspaper articles, mentions in newsletters etc which gradually reach people's consciousness.

In terms of baking I think home baking is "in" at the moment and as lots of the readily available products are used in baking thensomething like the Big Fair Bake is a good idea.

Punkatheart Mon 24-Sep-12 16:47:41

I buy Fairtrade whenever possible. I think what would help is if it was talked about more in schools and even youth clubs could have tasting sessions. They did it as my daughter's primary school and so she was very switched on very early. Also being able to see the farmers, hear their stories - is very powerful..

I buy fairtrade when possible, but sorry, if the fairtrade stuff is more expensive, I'm likely to buy the cheaper brand. It's simple economics - I'd love to buy only free range, organic and fairtrade items, but I'd end up spending so much on just a few items that our entire budget would suffer.

I do generally check the fairtrade items (and organic and free range) to see what the price difference is - if it's negligible, I'll pay a little extra for it; if it's significantly more expensive, I'll buy the cheaper item.

DD and her friend did a "Fairtrade Tea Party" at school a couple of years ago to raise money and to show how many fairtrade items are available, but it cost me an absolute fortune to make all the cakes etc using fairtrade ingredients. It's not something I could manage all the time.

BartletForTeamGB Mon 24-Sep-12 17:34:50

I do just buy free range and fair trade items when there is a choice, because I would rather eat less of them than buy the non fairly traded ones. (Happy meat always tastes much better anyway.)

It has been great that more and more supermarkets have been expanding their fair trade selection.

Something that might help is something on the packet for, say, coffee is (i've worked in Peru and seen the pittance that farmers get for their coffee, rice, bananas etc normally) "The average price farmers normally get for coffee is... With fair trade, the farmers get... This means they can afford to send their children to school for..."

BartletForTeamGB Mon 24-Sep-12 17:36:03

(Just putting in World Fair Trade day down for something to do with the Brownies in the spring.)

nannynick Mon 24-Sep-12 17:55:06

I feel that The Fairtrade Foundation should concentrate on getting more manufacturers to achieve Fairtrade certification in the way that Cadbury's Dairy Milk is now certified Fairtrade. I also feel that large retailers should be encouraged to only import Fairtrade certified bananas like Waitrose and Sainsburys (are there any other supermarkets who have 100% of their bananas coming from Fairtrade certified producers?).

Price is a problem and so is taste of some of the Fairtrade products, such as Coffee. The Fairtrade instant coffee I have had tastes horrible to me. Why have yet another product line, when the current producers of instant coffee could in time have their growers certified as Fairtrade?

The Fairtrade Foundation would love to know your thoughts on what would make you bake with more Fairtrade ingredients?

If the ingredients were the same price as other ingredients and from the same suppliers/manufacturers as we are used to and without changes to the taste of the products.

How can they encourage others to do so too?
Certify more products, more manufacturers, more growers, without increasing costs to the consumer. Encouraging people to spend more money on ingredients I don't feel will work - sugar is sugar, a banana is a banana. If all bananas on the shelf are Fairtrade, then the consumer does not get a choice. Less choice is probably what we really need, there are too many products out there fighting for attention.

ouryve Mon 24-Sep-12 18:46:26

I buy a lot of Fairtrade products - tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate and bananas and occasionally wine!), so long as they're available.

I find that this is easier to do in some shops than others. Our local supermarket is Tesco and they don't stock a lot of fairtrade bananas and charge a high premium for the ones they do have, which are always bagged. Sainsburys, on the other hand, only stocks fairtrade bananas, even their loose ones and Basics bags. I think so long as certain shops are milking what is a few pence per kilo difference in their sourcing costs and charging a massive premium to shoppers, people who need to budget aren't going to buy fairtrade.

I also find it annoying when a product is sold at a premium because it's Fairtrade, or made from "conservation grade" or "rainforest alliance certified" ingredients and it turns out only to be applicable for something ridiculously tiny like 15% of that ingredient (Taylors of Harrogate, I'm looking at you)

The fact that food manufacturers and retailers are using badges which are intended to convince customers that they're purchasing something more ethical, when really there isn't all that much difference makes me increasingly sceptical. It makes me think that my will to buy responsibly is being exploited and really makes very little impact on whatever cause the manufacturer or retailer is claiming to support.

CMOTDibbler Mon 24-Sep-12 18:51:31

I buy fairtrade whenever I can. I am lucky enough to be able to afford the premium, and hearing the difference it makes to the people involved makes it worthwhile

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 18:58:31

I buy as much as I can; chocolate, bananas, coffee, tea, sugar, but it's often a problem finding the items. I tend to ignore the price as I support the principles behind 'fairtrade'.

I buy fairtrade when there is a choice, and it's not too expensive. I tend to buy sugar, bananas, chocolate, coffee and tea.

missorinoco Mon 24-Sep-12 19:10:56

The Fairtrade Foundation would love to know your thoughts on what would make you bake with more Fairtrade ingredients?

A few things - cost greatly affects what I buy at present, but the flip side to this is that there are a few things I have decided I won't compromise on such as free range eggs. Reminding people, such as in a campaign like this, to buy fair trade, has reminded me that I can buy sugar etc (thinking baking ingredients here) fairtrade, would push me to buy fair trade actively if I can.

For some products I don't know the quality, and am reluctant to switch from my favoured brands - e.g. coffee. Highlight some product tests, or consider free sachets. I would be loathe to buy a jar in case I hated the sutff, but if I liked thesachet I would switch. Likewise for chocolate; if I am treating myself I would buy a product such as Green and Blacks for gourmet baking. In such an instance I would be disinclined to switch to fairtrade without knowing the quality. More advertising.

Also, as mentioned by a previous poster, reports into fair trade that imply the cost benefit goes to the supermarket have put me off in the past, more information to clarify that the moeny does go back to the producer would be good.

How can they encourage others to do so too?

I think you should also enourage businesses to go fairtrade. Someone I know works for a company that buys only fairtrade tea and coffee, a great idea.

As I write this I keep thinking I buy mainly from the Co-op, which is big on fair trade, unless you are a local farmer in which case they will exploit you for milk.

I buy a lot of fairtrade stuff, largely because of shopping at Sainsbury's, so all their sugar, tea, coffee and bananas are fairtrade. I also usually buy fairtrade cocoa, and sometimes chocolate.

Some things though, like honey, for instance, I'd rather buy local than imported. Same with fairtrade hothouse flowers from Kenya - I'd rather have local, seasonal things.

HannahLI Mon 24-Sep-12 19:22:22

I love the idea of fairtrade however I feel like its just a tiny part of a much bigger issue that still isn't being resolved. For the people that receive fair prices for their goods that is great and I support that however it leaves people who used to have a "unfairly payed job" with no job and that's what I find hard. Until the system changes from the inside out nothing really changes for 99% of families and fair trade to me comes across as being a bit tokenistic.
On saying that on the whole I do try and buy fairtrade products where I can and I love the waitrose fairtrade vanilla extract as its lovely in a variety of cakes and also in a strawberry pavlova too! Other than vanilla extract, bananas, coffee, tea and chocolate I know of very few products that are fairtrade.

nannynick Mon 24-Sep-12 19:27:18

From homepage of Fairtrade.org.uk "Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world"

I may be missing the point here but shouldn't Fairtrade apply to farmers and workers in the developed world as well?

This discussion is about baking. In a cake I use Butter, Flour, Sugar and Eggs. Of those all can be grown/produced in the UK. If they come from the UK they can't be Fairtrade certified - is that right? Food miles is important as is fair terms of trade for farmers and workers, here in the UK as well as in the developing world.

Should The Fairtrade Foundation consider extending Fairtrade to include all farmers, not just those in the developing world?

ScorpionQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 19:32:51

I buy Fair Trade when the price difference isn't too much, particularly at my local Co-op.

It frustrates me when Fair Trade goods cost so much more, as it is the consumer paying the extra, not the supermarkets.

I totally agree that UK farmers are in need of a fair deal too, milk, eggs, butter, flour etc. can all be produced locally and our farmers are not exactly getting a fair deal either.

I also rarely buy imported flowers since realising that they are not always Fair Trade, but you don't bake with flowers anyway.

AnaIsAlwaysShocked Mon 24-Sep-12 19:34:32

I like to buy local/british where possible as I feel our UK farmers are getting a tough deal at the moment and want to support them to keep farms open and the UK land viable. If I am buying something where UK product isn't available then I will go with fairtrade.

For me Fairtrade is a good thing but it doesn't trump the need to buy local, reduce food miles increase UK farming production.

I buy fair-trade when I see it, bananas, chocolate, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cocoa, sugar (including icing sugar), orange juice etc, if it is available I buy it.

My son has been learning about fair-trade products after watching a news article online - he saw something about child labour in cocoa production. Pretty upsetting, children living away from their families for years on end. He is very aware of the issue and has been pretty unhappy and vocal about companies profiteering from child labour.

I like baking for my family and friends, so if I am going to bake for anyone they would be my first choice - I know they like my baking so I'd feel safe baking for them too.

Elainey1609 Mon 24-Sep-12 20:19:33

To be honest its all to do with affordabity. I try to buy it when ever possible fairtrade and organic and most importantly local is my aim but just cant afford it the majority of the time. At the moment I try to get as much of my food in season and from.uk prodducers.

I did bakeball the time but being on a budget and a diet dosnt really work lol....but coming up to xmas I will make my xmas cake .

hattifattner Mon 24-Sep-12 20:24:31

I shop in Sainsburys because many of their fairtrade products are comparable to non-fairtrade. SO I buy bananas, tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar, some spices, pineapples...

I think that the organic movement probably deflected the push for fairtrade. The two really gained momentum at the same time. People are sadly more likely to buy for their own benefit rather than for someone elses. sad

To get more people buying fairtrade, I think that you have to get supermarkets on board to source their own products from fairtrade sources. Waitrose and Sainsbos can do it, others can.

Also, maybe there could be a section in supermarkets for fairtrade goods - we have world foods, free from foods...why not fairtrade? Id love to be able to find products easily and all together. There are times that Ive found a product is fairtrade by accident.

Fairtrade also could also look at offering fair prices to our own farmers - Im thinking fairtrade milk, apples etc where small farmers have been squeezed and squeezed.

TamasinR Mon 24-Sep-12 20:25:04

I try to buy fair trade but it does depend what's available. Not all shops have a wide enough range because of the price and some of the supermarkets don't bother beyond the basics.
it is easier if you have the time to browse the aisles carefully which i have found much harder now i have a toddler. However i get lots of encouragement to bake from family and work colleagues.

weegiemum Mon 24-Sep-12 20:54:51

I buy as much fair trade as I can. If a product is more expensive as a fair-trade pruduct I either buy it anyway or not at all if it's too expensive. I'd rather go without than buy the alternative if it is available.

So all our tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate, bananas and other fruit if possible, wine, school uniform where possible, rice, biscuits (if I've done my traidcraft order!!), etc is fair trade certified. I'd rather bake myself using fair trade ingredients. We do most of our shopping in the coop as it is the most ethical supermarket, and it's also our most local one.

My kids wanted converse - we got Ethletics instead. We buy fair trade or second hand clothes as much as possible and keep a close eye on things like Labour Behind The Label.

There are some Fair Trade products, however, that I won't buy. Mainly if they are made by multinational companies with very dodgy ethics, mainly Nestle. I met women in Guatemala whose children had died due to dodgy baby milk marketing, so id not buy a fair trade kitkat, nor accept one given to me. I try to buy from fair trade sellers who specialise in this - Cafe Direct for example.

It can be hard work sometimes and some things just aren't available. But both dh and I have done voluntary work in developing countries and travelled in Latin America with our children. We have friends there and have met with community groups and also people working in the most abject conditions. I could nnot feed my children on food other children had sweated to produce. I don't want to dress my children in clothes made by other children who are therefore denied an education yet earn way below any measure of a living wage.

I'd also like to buy free range and organic. But for me, fair trade matters most. I'm also not as bothered about a good deal for British farmers as I am about a good deal for people in the developing world. No British farmer is going to be unable to afford healthcare, education for children or starve to death because of working conditions. Food miles are important - we rarely buy airfreighted produce on principle. We choose to not buy things like mange tout out of season. And having seen first hand the working conditions on flower farms, I avoid buying flowers that aren't either fair trade or British.

Further to what was said below about products from developed countries being allowed fair trade status : I don't agree. Fair trade is aimed at helping those who have no other way of getting good conditions. In de eloped countries there is legislation to do this; we need to help those who are otherwise unable to help themselves.

I might sound a bit holier-than-thou about this, but I don't care! It's one of the issues that matters to me the most.

I buy fairtrade wherever possible but if there is a marked difference in price (ie:product for £1 non fair trade but £2 fairtrade) then I'm most likely to go for the non-fairtrade product.

We shop a lot in the local coop but have to go to the supermarkets at least once a month to stock up on essentials that they don't have.

Price is the overriding factor for us though, although I'd love to be able to afford to be a 'principled shopper'!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now