Please note: This topic is for discussions paid for by Mumsnet clients. If you'd like to have your own paid for discussion thread, please feel free to mail us at If you are a start-up or student and you want to request feedback from MNers, please post in Media Requests topic.

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!

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 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 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'!

lorisparkle Mon 24-Sep-12 23:53:48

As many have already said in our house every penny counts. Therefore I buy the best value product. I would love to buy 'local' or 'fair trade' or 'organic' but if it is more expensive then I don't buy it. I know that it is easy in our 'first world' country to ignore the impact our shopping is having on the wider world but my time and my finances are tight. If Sainsburys or the Co-op was our local shop (within walking distance) then I would buy more fairtrade but I walk or cycle whenever possible and so end up in Tesco (which I hate!).

While I understand that they will always want to increase the amount of fair trade products brought in the UK, I did hear recently that FT in the UK is much bigger than in Germany & France combined. So we are doing well.

I will buy FT if the price difference isn't huge & often it isn't.

I always buy FT bananas & coffee

flamingtoaster Tue 25-Sep-12 10:27:59

I buy Fairtrade where the price difference isn't huge - I'd probably use more Fairtrade products in baking if the price difference was even less. I always buy Fairtrade bananas and chocolate. Other products where available/when price suitable.

firawla Tue 25-Sep-12 10:44:05

Like most other people mentioned, it's mainly a price issue. At the moment we are mainly having to go with the supermarket basics or the cheapest of everything.
Fair trade is something I would like to support more because I really agree with the principal of it and seems like a much better way to shop, but have to admit when we are in the supermarket I tend to forget to think of it that much especially if we are just trying to get everything done in a tight budget, but the more fair trade stuff available the better especially if it is competitively priced - if the difference was not that much and I saw it there clearly on the shelf then I would try to buy it more

HappySunflower Tue 25-Sep-12 10:45:20

I try to buy Fair Trade ingredients as much as possible. I find this is easy enough with chocolate and coffee where it is clearly labelled on the products, but less easy to do with things like sugar and cocoa.

Clearer labelling, along with competitively priced products, would make me more likely to purchase fair trade products.

I expect to pay no more than around 10% more for Fair Trade products, and that's my rule of thumb when I'm shopping really. Any more and it makes it tricky for me to do that!

I'm in Germany, so this may not be very relevant to the discussion, but here Fairtrade is really not a big thing at all - there is only a tiny selection of FT products available in the supermarket.

Personally, I buy as much as I can from local farmers and growers, only in-season stuff, and pref. organic/free range etc (though local or even just national grown trumps organic from abroad for me every time).

So no, I don't buy Fair Trade.

Merrylegs Tue 25-Sep-12 11:08:16

If I SEE Fairtrade goods when I go shopping I tend to chose it over other stuff (eg fairtrade bananas), however the only time it jumps out at me and is obvious is at the CO-OP

Having said that, I had to buy some granulated sugar yesterday. Fairtrade and Tate and Lyle were side by side on the shelf - T&L was 65p, Fairtrade was 83p (same size bags). Sorry, Fairtrade. I went with the cheaper.

(And then I thought, is Tate and lyle really so 'bad' anyway? I don't know. It made me think if a food isn't labelled fairtrade, is it always unfairly traded?)

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 11:11:51

I buy Fairtrade where I have read an article about the details of the growers and it has made an impact on me. So Pineapple, coffee, chocolate and bananas. The conditions under which all the workers operate are important to me - I read an article about the chemicals which give workers on pineapple plantations terrible sores and respiratory problems. I often see that certain Fairtrade Jams (Deurrs?) are often cheaper than regular in Sainsbury's, so I buy them.

It doesn't always have to be about exact price, but it does have to be good quality and good value. I didn't used to buy the old Cafe Direct because the coffee was horrid. Now that you can get good fairtrade grinds in other brands I do buy them. I see the Sainsbury's 'basics' ground coffee is Fairtrade (excellent price) and I buy that and use it half and half with Fairtrade Columbian.

Can't say we always buy fairtrade - often comes down to what the supermarkets stock. If the price difference is fairly minimal then tend towards buying FT but can be a bit of a whim.

Would like to know how much of the FT price the suppliers get vs a typical brand - do the supermarkets make better margin on FT or is it evenly split?

StellaAndFries Tue 25-Sep-12 11:24:26

If I could afford it I'd buy more fair trade products but unfortunately we're on a tight budget so usually if it's much more expensive we go for the cheaper option. However I do buy lots of locally produced meats, veg and other produce so feel I'm helping in my local area.

nipitinthebud Tue 25-Sep-12 11:33:54

During FairTrade week they did bits about it at my DC's school and church events. I had always assumed that Fairtrade was much more expensive than other stuff, but was suprised that for many items the price difference is very competitive. Price was always the one thing I thought put me off buying it. But I now check out the prices of stuff a bit more carefully. But these days especially I generally buy what is the cheapest on offer, fairtrade or not.

The big thing for me is seeing that there is a fair-trade option available. So, a nice big logo on the front, and maybe a sign on the supermarket shelf too. If this flour (say) says "Fair trade" on it, it kind of flags up that that flour next to it may NOT be - whereas before I might not have known that FT flour was available or that some flours may be unethically produced. And if there is a choice between one that is FT and one that is not, I would rather get the one that is (as long as the price difference is not TOO massive).

The other thing I LOVE though is when shops/supermarkets/cafes etc start selling the fairtrade version of something as the "standard". For example, some cafes now have signs to say all their coffee is fairtrade - much better than having to rely on the small number of customers who would actually think to ask for a fairtrade one that's in little letters on the bottom of the menu. Similarly, I think I have seen some shops (Sainsbury's?) now use fairtrade for their own brands for some things (sugar I think?) - again this is great as it makes it the standard, makes it the obvious choice, and (hopefully) avoids big price differences that put people off (especially if it seems like they are just using the FT tag to increase profits).

It also helps to have a choice of different FT products. I've found that some FT coffees, for example, just don't taste nearly as nice as other brands, so I am more reluctant to buy them. But if there is a nicer alternative that is also FT, then that's not an issue any more!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 25-Sep-12 11:41:19

I buy fairtrade when the price difference between that & ordinary products is not significantly different. In an ideal world, I would only buy fairtrade products, but I'm on a tight budget, so I buy them when I can.

Also, fairtrade products are not that widely available in supermarkets, so sometimes there aren't any. I've never seen fairtrade rabbit food, ketchup or mayonnaise, for example.

LineRunner Tue 25-Sep-12 11:54:45

I do buy lots of Fairtrade products, and it's good to see so many being 'mainstreamed'.

But the cost of shopping is always going to be a factor, especially with food prices rising steadily, in the same way that many people might love to buy corn-fed organically reared happy free-range chickens but just can't afford to.

There are some Fairtrade bargains, though. The tea in Asda is very reasonable.

strandednomore Tue 25-Sep-12 12:32:51

I buy Fair Trade because I used to live in the Caribbean and I have seen first hand the real difference FT can make to small, vulnerable island communities. Life is pretty tough for most people but at least FT gives them some hope of earning a decent living. And also lessons the chances that they will turn to being involved in the drugs trade instead....

Cambam2010 Tue 25-Sep-12 12:39:22

I think that the supermarkets need to include the Fairtrade products in their offers. I am more likely to buy things that are on a cheaper bulk buy or 3 for 2 etc. Unfortunately it has to come down to price.

I'd like to buy more Fairtrade but if I can get a similar product cheaper then my budget rules the decision.

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 25-Sep-12 12:54:54

Good project - thank you MNHQ!

I think I hadn't ever thought about baking with fair trade.

We buy fair trade bananas and coffee but I will definitely think about baking with fair trade stuff now.

ChristineKochanski Tue 25-Sep-12 12:55:15

Like so many others have said, cost can be a problem. I would love to be able to afford organic, fair trade, free range food, but until the prices are more comparable, I can't.

Annamaria0 Tue 25-Sep-12 12:56:49

I always buy Fairtrade bananas and coffee, and also try to buy other Fairtrade food stuff, especially chocolate, as I know cocoa trade can be exploitative. I have also bought Fairtrade clothes, mainly from People Tree, whose work I admire. I would gladly buy more Fairtrade products, not just food, but also clothes, but there just aren't nearly enough options, especially when it comes to non - food items. Also, if it is a choice between local, non - Fairtrade, and imported Fairtrade, I will always choose local.

pdb Tue 25-Sep-12 12:58:01

I used to always buy any available fairtrade options despite cost. Now I buy whatever is cheapest or on offer because I have less money. I'm very sorry to say looking after my family finances is now more important to me than considering someone elses.

Emandlu Tue 25-Sep-12 13:13:26

I am completely behind the idea of fair trade, but when bills are rising so dramatically and wages aren't I don't have the luxury of choice at the moment.
I hate that I can't afford fair trade products as it means I am now buying into a system with which I fundamentally disagree.
I understand why the fair trade products are more expensive, but like organic food currently beyond my budget.

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 13:17:25

What I don't understand is how I can shop in a supermarket and buy a fairtrade product, like bananas, from overseas, but that very same supermarket is forcing extremely unfair trade on our own dairy farmers! By forcing the prices down to below what is sustainable. So really, shopping in supermarkets at all is anti-fair trade.

And how is it that these supermarkets make millions in profict for their shareholders by selling milk (for example) bought at knockdown prices from farmers while we the tax payer fund the government agricultural subsidies..which end up making profits for the fat cat supermarket owners?

I am really interested in the whole fairtrade principle, and using FT baking products, but is it a bit like the 'greenwash' principle?

LineRunner Tue 25-Sep-12 13:35:06

<Agrees with Blu>

Cinnamonkey Tue 25-Sep-12 13:37:15

I buy fairtrade bananas and sugar. I don't buy fairtrade tea because DH only likes one kind of tea so that's what we get. I don't drink coffee, so just get what's on offer because it's expensive.

It comes down to 2 main factors for me. Price and brand. I only buy brands I recognise or store own label. Sainsburys sell fairtrade sugar, so I buy that. If I was buying coffee I'd buy fairtrade if I recognised the brand and the price was comparable, so it would need to be on a similar offer.

GOLDdebka Tue 25-Sep-12 14:23:09

I like the fact that a lot of Sainsbury's produce is fairtrade, I shop there.

Like many others have said, it's the price that prevents me from buying more. If it's a little bit more expensive, I would pay, but if it's a lot more I wouldn't, I'm ashamed to say.

antontest Tue 25-Sep-12 14:24:08


sad angry wink wink shock envy envy envy
wink angry rjhchjangry Urteil

antontest Tue 25-Sep-12 14:25:36



wink angry rjhchjangry Urteil



GOLDdebka Tue 25-Sep-12 14:31:50


I agree with what many others have said in that cost can be a barrier to encouraging more people to buy fair trade. I also think that in many ways Organic produce has won the battle for the customer who doesn't mind paying extra for ethical produce.

Fair trade has, to me, an image problem. In the UK in recent years we have become very insular as a nation, as the recession bites a lot of people are calling for things like foreign aid to be cut. When we can't even get consumers to get behind the call for fair prices for uk dairy farmers it's going to be a huge battle to get them to care about coffee harvesters in Peru. Organic produce is suffering but people who are willing to buy more expensive items have bought into the idea that the taste is better and it's healthier, often with little evidence to support this. I think this is largely because celebrity chefs and newspaper food columns have completely bought into the message that it is better to consume less of an organic, ethically reared meat than to buy cheap meat to eat daily.

If Fair Trade goods are ever going to be the premium consumers first choice then I really feel that it needs a profile boost . I'm think something along the lines of the C4 food fight which focused on over fishing, or the programme where chefs talked about their favourite british ingredients. Hairy Bikes visiting coffee growers in Guatemala anyone? smile The difference fair trade makes to the lives of the growers needs to be made real. I never bought fair trade until I visited a banana plantation in St. Lucia and got to speak to the workers. It just didn't mean anything to me before that. I now buy fairtrade wherever there is an option.

I am getting involved in the Big Fair Bake by doing a little cake sale at the community centre which is linked to the OAP complex my dad lives in. It's under threat of closure from being under used so the proceeds will go to the centres campaign.

Hopezibah Tue 25-Sep-12 15:20:27

I think a lot of it does come down to the price difference (although in some cases there is not that much difference considering everything e.g. I have bulk bought Divine chocolate and it is SOOO scrummy and bought in bulk works out pretty comparable to non-fair trade brands).

I would LOVE there to be a far bigger push to 'force' consumers into buying fair trade because I honestly think most people agree with the principles of fair trade but it is the price that deters them. Yet in a supermarket where the only bananas stocked are fairtrade, I can't see anyone would be too upset to buy them.

I know I wuold buy more fair trade if it became the only or main choice available. When the kids are chosing chocolates or easter eggs, I also make a point of saying out very loudly in the supermarket that it is best to get the one with the fair trade logo so hopefully it will become ingrained in their shopping habits and might get others to pause for thought too.

But obviously most organisations are demand led and wouldn't bother to push this if there is no economic reason for them to benefit so having your own ethics is important too - I remember being mega impressed with a friend of mine when I offered her a cup of coffee, she asked whether it was fairtrade before accepting. Since then I have become even more conscious of the importance of buying fair trade not only because of the difference it makes in the world, but because I also care what my friends think and I respect their ethics and principles too.

cleanandclothed Tue 25-Sep-12 15:54:08

I buy fairtrade bananas, and chocolate. If I see other fairtrade products (sugar etc) then I would pay around a 5% premium over the cheapest alternative to buy the fairtrade product, but no more.

bluecarrot Tue 25-Sep-12 16:27:26

I buy fairtrade as much as possible - food, clothing, gifts etc- and happily forgo some "luxury" items in order to afford them (Im technically on poverty line). Our food and clothes are stupidly cheap when you take into account all the externalities. I witnessed first hand a fairtrade coop in Central America and heard how things had changed for them and their families once they were contracted by a big company who paid fair. This made me even more determined!

Whst would make me use it more? More big brands being forced to play fair rather than squeezing the little guy. Why shouldnt we expect everyone (in the UK as well as abroad) to be treated fairly? My last two workplaces went fairtrade for their tea and coffee after I started a petition (98% of staff signed it, 92% said they would contribute financially to the excess in cost but both workplaces absorbed the excess then boasted about their ethical standards on their website!)

Who Id bake for? My dds school and the kids I look after. Great opportunity to tell them what fair trade means.

I don't buy fairtrade products in supermarkets here in France. What little there is is just too expensive. I do, however, buy local fruit, veg, meat and dairy where I can. It tastes better.

RaahhisOrangeandGold Tue 25-Sep-12 16:59:55

my Dcs school are very involved with fairtrade,(the yr1 teacher regularly hosts coffee afternoons to promote it)and have a fairtrade council. DD, who has just turned 6, takes this position very seriouslygrin. She now understands and appreciates how much better off we are in this country- and that it is better for people to e given the opportunity to help themselves She is the one who prefers us to shop at the Co-op, and loves going to the marks and spencer cafe, as they use fair trade products, and sprinkle the symbol on the top of my cappuccino in chocolate easily pleased I always buy my tea from there, and don't find it it very much more expensive than other brands I would buy.

I don't bake often, because I am not very good at itgrin, but do provide fair trade items for the coffee afternoons.

telsa Tue 25-Sep-12 17:10:55

I buy Fairtrade if the product is just what I want, but I don't seek it out especially because it won't bring about the differences I want to see - I was very persuaded by an article in an Marxist academic journal, which argued the following:'while fair trade can provide a symbolic challenge to commodity fetishism, in the end this challenge is strictly limited by the power of global market imperatives and the network’s market-driven approach.'
PDF here for anyone interested:
[[ ]]

ContinentalKat Tue 25-Sep-12 17:20:30

I am ashamed to say that I don't think about fair trade when I go shopping.
I quickly scanned the cupboard and it seems that I "accidentally" buy fair trade bananas, sugar and tea because I shop in Sainsbury's.

To be brutally honest, it is one more thing that I can't be asked to think about when going shopping. I like the idea of not having a choice, like with Sainsburys bananas.

nextphase Tue 25-Sep-12 17:57:23

It sounds like a good idea to have a fair bake, however the week started yesterday, and this is the first I've heard of it, so it hasn't been well advertised round here (I'm not on facebook).

We have some fairtrade choc - cadburys dairymilk is fair trade, but not the bournville??? DH eats fairtrade dark chocolate.
Sugar is fairtrade or British.
Cocoa is fairtrade.
We don't get through much tea, DH will only buy one brand tho, so unless that changes to fairtrade. No coffee in the house apart from guests, so i buy whoever will sell me the smallest jar.

to be fair, I don't usually look for the fairtrade sign, unless it comes to a toss uip between 2 similar priced items, when the fairtrade would win me over.

OhNoMyFoot Tue 25-Sep-12 18:15:05

I have to buy what I can afford not what I would choose without having to consider price. If fair trade is the same or cheaper then I do opt for it. I feel bad because I know that by choosing nonfairtrade items that are cheap it's probably because they aren't getting a fair price. But I really don't have a choice all I can do is keep looking.

crackcrackcrak Tue 25-Sep-12 18:15:50

I'm skeptical about fair trade. For example pg tips claim to be fair trade or rainforest friendly or something and yet ethical consumer rate them the least ethical
Tea. Also as I understand it the difference in pay for fair trade products is v minimal - not that I don't think that matters because it does.
I boycott nestle and a few other companies though

Jux Tue 25-Sep-12 18:35:27

We buy Fairtrade coffee, bananas and cooking chocolate.

We don't get a lot of choice in our small town, to be honest, so I don't really seek it out (just saw on this thread that you can get Fairtrade clothes - who knew!) but if it's there then I often choose it over other brands, just to see. If no one complains then I'll probably continue to buy it, but if they do then I'm afraid I'll go back to whatever I usually get.

I'm not sure I could do any baking with FT ingredients. I haven't seen FT butter, sugar or flour in our local shops; though I expect we could get them from Tesco, we never go there any more.

ZigZagWanderer Tue 25-Sep-12 18:53:43

I try to by free range and Fair Trade when my food budget allows me to, but it's not always possible because it is more expensive.
I agree all food manufacturers should support Fair Trade.

Twonker Tue 25-Sep-12 19:31:44

My children love it when I buy fair trade. I do when I am in the co-op. I buy fair trade sugar, coffee and chocolate. However, most fair trade products are snacks, and I buy few snack foods.i shop in the market, the fuit and veg wholesaler and aldi or lidl. I choose wine based on price and air miles, and don't drink much anyway. They are going to knock down our local co-op soon and build a big Asda instead, soi doubt I'll be buying so much fair trade stuff. The co-op is specially good as they have fair trade offers, and reduce the price on all fair trade products.
Get fair trade things into aldi!

ScienceRocks Tue 25-Sep-12 19:36:17

I buy fairtrade coffee, chocolate, vanilla extract, cocoa, tea, sugar and bananas (can't think of anything else), and it is great to see the supermarkets bringing the prices in line and so many major manufacturers moving to Fairtrade. I am lucky to be able to afford to do so, but I do think it is important (I am in the UK but from an ethnic minority background, so it feels quite close to home). I bake quite a bit.

There needs to be more education around food, so people can make informed choices about fairtrade, organic, provenance etc. Others on this thread are right in that sometimes you face difficult choices and simply don't know which way to go - in which case, price usually prevails.

GW297 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:44:09

I buy fairtrade whenever possible: chocolate, cereal bars, bananas, roses, tissues etc. I don't mind paying a little extra for fairtrade products. At my previous school the year six children sold fairtrade chocolate at breaktime every Friday and I always read my class the Charlie and Lola story about fairtrade!

I buy fairtrade where that's available, but I have never seen e.g. fairtrade vanilla essence, and with things like nuts there is generally only 'normal' or organic at a serious premium.

choccyp1g Tue 25-Sep-12 19:53:33

I buy Fairtrade coffee, because it does one of the few proper ground coffees which is decaffeinated. I also get Fairtrade bananas, according to Sainsbury "all our bananas are Fairtrade" Eggs I get organic, but have never noticed Fairtrade eggs.

In theory I'd like to get everything FairTrade, but in practise it is generally more expensive, and I'm not about to go trailing round dozens of shops. If it's not in Sains or Oxfam then I'm not getting it.

TheCunningStunt Tue 25-Sep-12 20:12:38

We tend to buy fairtrade if we find it on offer. Like a lot of people the price can be off putting on this climate. I do buy choc, hot choc and bananas though, but we usually get good prices on these. If fairtrade become more common, more demand, prices would be better...(my economics is rubbish and I may be off) but if prices were better, I wouldn't in general, buy more.

forcookssake Tue 25-Sep-12 20:20:24

I routinely buy f-t tea, coffee, bananas and chocolate. Debated stood in the wine aisle today whether I'd pay the extra £2 for my bottle of red... I didn't as the regular wine was on offer at £4 so f-t meant +50% on purchase price confused

But generally YES, I do buy fairtrade.

livealoha Tue 25-Sep-12 20:25:31

I buy fair trade coffee, tea, sugar, bananas and chocolate too.

CheeryCherry Tue 25-Sep-12 20:27:36

I think that most people equate true Fairtrade products with 'expensive' as when it was an up and coming scheme, the products did tend to be a lot dearer than non fairtrade. I think that concept is hard to remove. I wonder if a campaign could be to do price comparisons, to show how little the difference is, therefore worth that tiny bit more. I buy fairtrade when its on offer, but nothing regularly, much to my shame. Maybe highlight the differences in price, then the huge difference fairtrade makes?

SecretNutellaFix Tue 25-Sep-12 20:32:14

I buy fair trade bananas and I think it's fantastic that Cadbury's which is a massive company uses fair trade for it's dairy milk chocolatem also I try to look out for Fair trade Vanilla for baking.

However, I find the use of the Fair Trade logo and name by Nestle to be problematic given that they have been linked to major child exploitation in the cocoa trade in the Ivory Coast and have failed to address these issues.

As a result I don't find that I can implicitly trust the Fair Trade reputation and wonder if sometimes it might be used by unscrupulous people within aforementioned company to try and increase profit for themselves whilst not actually embracing the ethos of Fair Trade.

Hummymummy Tue 25-Sep-12 20:51:22

I see more fairtrade products in the shops these days and have even found a few competitive on price recently. I'm sorry to say but it does come down to price really and I think lots of people still perceive them to be more expensive.

What can be done? More promotions and stands in supermarkets reminding people what it's all about.

rufus5 Tue 25-Sep-12 20:57:43

I would love to buy FairTrade much more often, but I just can't afford to. It's down to affordability, and unfortunately in a like-for-like comparison the FairTrade products are rarely the same price as non-FairTrade products, so unfortunately my frightenly limited budget makes the decision for me.

thefudgeling Tue 25-Sep-12 21:02:47

A good way to get more people buying fairtrade would be to have more deals with big brands, like the one with cadburys, or supermarkets, like the great chocolate and tea bags at Lidl, which are affordable and fairtrade, so that people are buying it without having to think or change their habits (or budgets) too much! Also, I think getting children and schools interested in the growers and farmers overseas will get the next generation thinking about what they buy a bit more.

I buy fairtrade when I can, but times are tough and I've cut down on the fairtrade items I buy, and how often I buy them.

I buy Fairtrade stuff which will last a long time, and is similarly priced to the 'normal' stuff, like coffee or tea. Unfortunately for a lot of people at the moment, every single penny does count.

thefudgeling Tue 25-Sep-12 21:03:43

Interesting info from nutella above about Nestle - did not know they were claiming fairtrade status.

cherryjellow Tue 25-Sep-12 21:09:38

I really like the idea especially with backing being such a popular thing to do right now.
Whenever I think of buying fairtrade I only think of bananas and co-op chocolate, so I will have a look out for baking things.
When it comes to fair trade, for me, it always comes down to price. If its roughly the same or cheaper to buy fairtrade I will do it.

cherryjellow Tue 25-Sep-12 21:10:38

* sorry baking!

SecretNutellaFix Tue 25-Sep-12 21:11:42

on kitkats and some coffee I believe.

DownyEmerald Tue 25-Sep-12 21:42:12

Our usual shop is Sainsbury's which is great on some things - fairtrade bananas, basic tea bags (I always bought fairtrade tea bags before, but recent convert to the basic), their sugar, did buy coffee but dp (who is the coffee drinker) has changed to the stuff in bags, trying to think whatelse....clothes sometimes.

I am more likely to want to spend extra on fair trade than on organic. To me it is really important that the people in developing countries who produce these things are treated with respect and as fellow human beings. And paying a fair price is a way to do that. Especially as climate change makes growing conditions more difficult.

To bake with fairtrade; more availability of ingredients, basically. Perhaps a little fair trade section in the baking aisle to high light it. DD is 6 so it's about time I started telling her what the fair trade label means.

bubby64 Tue 25-Sep-12 22:05:56

To be honest, at the moment, I only buy a few fairtrade products, bananas, sugar, I might buy some that I didn't know were fairtrade, but family finances at present mean that I have to look at best value rather than fairtrade.

weegiemum Tue 25-Sep-12 22:12:38

I do worry about the image!

Especially Rainforest Alliance !!!

So awfully NOT fair trade!!

Tigerbomb Tue 25-Sep-12 22:15:46

I rarely buy fairtrade - mainly because of cost. If I do have a few pennies spare, I buy local produce, I like to think that we should look after our own home produced food too.

All the free drinks vending machines at work are fair trade as is some of the food in the staff canteen and I know that this has meant htat I will buy FT chocolate or bananas but not the tea or coffee - it's awful

Perhaps if more firms did this it would give more people a chanc eto try before they buy so to speak

zipzap Tue 25-Sep-12 22:43:22

In an ideal world everything would be fairtrade by default, not an extra option to add into the mix when choosing a product. It's nice in places like waitrose and sainsburys that all their bananas are fairtrade so it's easy to pick them up - but if they can do it for bananas then why not everything else?

Other products - generic things like sugar - if there was a fairtrade option there and it was within the same sort of price bounds as the others then I would buy it. Other things such as coffee - where individual taste comes into play - the coffee that dh likes isn't fair trade I don't think, he has tried some fair trade stuff but doesn't like the taste as much as the brand he currently buys so taste has won over fairtrade, regardless of price. if I am buying a jar of coffee or some tea bags that are general 'making for visitors' ones (I don't drink the stuff myself) then I'll try to pick up a fairtrade one.

I tend to buy what I think looks good value, or things I enjoy, or things I can afford - the fairtrade mark is a bonus in my books. So many things that are fairtrade are not in the affordable bracket, so I can only buy what I can afford. If I had more disposable income, then I could probably afford to be more principled, but there is only so much money to buy food for the whole week - buying fairtrade would mean sacrificing something else. I feel that its good that so many bananas tea and coffee are affordable and come with the fairtrade label - it seems such a shame that all commodities cant be taken for granted to be fairtrade. When fairtrade and organic mean they are the same price as other stuff available, that is when I shall buy it as a matter of course.

aristocat Tue 25-Sep-12 23:25:30

I agree that some Fairtrade items are not always much more expensive and I do try to buy them as often as possible.
If I could afford it I'd buy everything Fairtrade - sadly my budget wont allow it. However I do buy locally produced meats, vegetables and other produce so my local area gets to benefit which is important too.

My DD will be baking cakes for her Brownie pack soon and after seeing this thread, we have decided to make them FairTrade and she can explain to the other girls what Fairtrade means and how it will affect them. Just need to check with her Brown Owl but I am sure it will be fine.

lionheart Wed 26-Sep-12 10:16:38

I try to buy fair trade if I can and would prioritise fair trade over organic.

Really please to see Cadbury and other big companies taking this on board.

The school is also doing its best to get the children talking about fair trade and I think that's great.

renaldo Wed 26-Sep-12 10:23:01

I buy fair trade at church when I see the stall- but as I do all my shopping online otherwise I tend to forget about fairtrade ,

Same old story here with regard to economics. I buy fairtrade if it also works out economical to do so but it comes down to cost. I have cut out lots of the branded products I buy these days and tend to buy the cheapest. I do choose fairtrade when it is also good value.

Like most other people, I buy on a (varying) combination of quality and price. Fairtrade is a "nice to have" which would influence my decision between two otherwise comparable (on price and quality) products, but it's not something I seek out.

TBH I am a little sceptical of the reality behind the branding - I have not done the research to reassure myself that they are really delivering what is implied. However, I too think that they would be better focusing on working with big manufacturers and retailers than trying to generate more consumer "pull".

badger01 Wed 26-Sep-12 14:31:09

I buy fairtrade wherever I can but the overiding decision process is cost cost cost. If it is cheaper to buy regular food that is cheaper than fairtrade then I'm sure I'm not alone in saying families have to opt for the cheapest option.

We buy a few fairtrade items. Bananas are one that we buy weekly. Often coffee is fairtrade. Other than that it usually boils down to cost. If there's very little difference in price then I buy the organic/fairtrade type of option but if it's quite a difference then it comes down to the cheaper version as we just couldn't afford to do that for everything we buy.

MothershipG Wed 26-Sep-12 15:21:50

When I worked full-time and didn't have kids I would routinely buy fair-trade, now I only work part-time, have 2 extra mouths to feed and with DH's wages not increasing with inflation I just can't afford to any more. sad So I do where the price difference isn't too great but not with things like coffee where it's a big difference.

MrsHoarder Wed 26-Sep-12 15:58:37

For most baking ingredients I go straight for the supermarket own brand for price reasons. And dsepite living in a "fair trade village" there's little in the way of fairtrade chocolate etc in the local shops.

Jojoba1986 Wed 26-Sep-12 17:03:27

I'd love to be able to afford fairtrade & support the farmers etc but if I did that regularly I'd struggle to support my own family! It's all about the money I'm afraid!

MTBMummy Wed 26-Sep-12 17:13:01

I try to buy fairtrade, but when it gets to the end of the month I often go for the cheapest range in store.

I do feel better when I use fair trade (except for the coffee, which gives me an awful headache) but if it's fair trade or affording to feed the family - the latter always comes first.

madhairday Wed 26-Sep-12 18:30:30

I buy a lot of fairtrade items and find that buying in bulk is the answer. I do a huge online shop from the Traidcraft website every six months or so and get those big tins of coffee/catering packs of tea, cocoa, cereal bars etc etc. Yes it's expensive but doing it like this works out a lot cheaper and means I don't have to think about a lot of staple stuff on the weekly shop. I get bananas, sugar (though sometimes just get british sugar), sometimes pasta and rice. I buy ft clothes where possible; my bugbear with that is not so much the price, though that is prohibitive I recognise as compared to Primark et al, but the lack of range for kids clothes - it's very limited, and non existent for preteens/teenagers and rubbish for mens clothing too, so I'd like to see more choice in that.

I prefer to buy off ebay for cost and feel its more ethical to re-use than buy clothes made in some third world sweatshop. Not always possible and I do use high street stores too, but trying to change over my buying more. I can't really afford it, so mostly just don't buy. I'm with weegiemum on this one smile

I also refuse to buy kitkats despite the fairtrade logo, it doesn't make Nestle suddenly an ethical company. I think Cadburys at least has a better history of treating its employers well and being a more altruistic company in general.

I don't know what the answer is, because most people just can't afford it now, and prices necessarily have to be higher in order for farmers to be paid the fair wage. However, ft is much more high profile than it once was, so the ft foundation must be doing something right. A lot of ground has been gained, which is why I can't go along with the 'what about the non ft farmers with no living wage' etc...if we never did anything, nothing would ever change. But already much has changed for the better and companies have had to take it on board.

wish tesco would do better - my local one is crap for ft stuff.

fallingandlaughing Wed 26-Sep-12 18:36:40

I think fairtrade is equated with wholesome wholemeal low sugar boringness for many people, so doesn't appeal when baking. If people were aware of the full range of products available they might just see them as good choices, not wholesome choices.

Price is also a factor, though I think the difference isn't as big as it once was.

I'd love to bake for my Mum. Not only does she evangelise about fair trade, she also makes delicious things for my daughter who has loads of food allergies, my nephew who has loads of different allergies and her best friend, who has coeliac disease. I don't know how she comes up with things to suit everyone!

neolara Wed 26-Sep-12 18:37:56

I have a dithery dilemma every time I buy bananas - fairtrade or organic? It would be so much easier if there was the option of fairtrade AND organic.

Jins Wed 26-Sep-12 18:43:36

I buy local where possible, British if I can and Fairtrade if I can't. I buy fairtrade chocolate, coffee, rice and sugar (if not homegrown!)

I like to think that the producers are getting a fair price and I hope that my small contribution makes a difference to someone but I do worry that much of the profits get lost along the way

balia Wed 26-Sep-12 20:28:06

I had no idea sainsburys were so good at Fairtrade - I might start looking at swapping my weekly shop to them as Tesco's really isn't very good - in fact I always put Fairtrade bananas on my internet shop and get substituted for ordinary ones angry I get the sugar, too, and buy FT cotton clothes when I see them but clearly am woefully under-informed about other products I can get. What coffee is FT, then?

THETrills Wed 26-Sep-12 22:15:47

I buy Fairtrade sugar because sugar is sugar, but not tea or coffee because I'm not sure that it would be as nice as my usual brand.

I'd support the idea of small packs of tea/coffee/other "recipe" Fairtrade things to encourage people to try it as an alternative - I don't want to spend £4 or £5 on a bag of proper coffee if it's going to be nasty.

androbbob Wed 26-Sep-12 22:43:19

Economics an issue here too. The fairtrade stuff is a great idea but can be pricey. I buy fairtrade when there is a choice such as sugar, bananas, chocolate, coffee and tea

afussyphase Wed 26-Sep-12 22:52:23

I buy fair trade when I see it - usually tea, sugar, bananas, coffee, and chocolate. I think it's really important especially with chocolate because that industry has a bad reputation for child labour. But what someone said above really struck home, about liking the idea of having a choice. We shouldn't have a choice: all trade should be fair. Really, we shouldn't allow ourselves to exploit children, damage childrens' prospects for education, and so on, to save ourselves and our supermarkets a few pence, or to get ourselves 300g of chocolate or coffee instead of 200g (I'm sure there are those who genuinely struggle, but for the vast majority, while cost is a factor, it's not a real struggle to pay 20p more for bananas or get fewer chocolate bars). We have, or will soon have, the technology to monitor conditions closely; we could legislate against importing products whose production lines break basic rules.
In the meantime, I'd buy more fair trade wine if I could sample it first. I'd get more fair trade products in general if they were available in the shop where I happen to be and if I have confidence in their quality.

Himalaya Wed 26-Sep-12 23:25:30

Isn't 3% quite good in context in terms of uptake? I mean fair trade products are a limited selection. I don't think I spend more than 3% of my food bill on chocolate, sugar, banannas, tea bags and coffee anyway (mainly FT)

Is the aim to get more people to buy fair trade for these products, to expand the product range or to get more mainstream and own brand products to adopt the principles as standard?

Baking does seem a bit of a token activity. How about a fair trade iphone ?!

sussextealady Thu 27-Sep-12 09:54:56

I like the idea of buying fairtrade, but it is not always easy to find in certain supermarkets. It is also about education, needs to be more widely advertised to make general public more aware of it.My son did a project at school on fairtrade, so we started to support fairtrade then and learnt a lot about it, which was useful and do try to buy if I can find it!

alibeenherealongtime Thu 27-Sep-12 11:44:12

I use the Co op and they have a lot of fairtrade products, and so I buy whenever possible, but price is always foremost in my mind, but if it only pence in it, I will buy Fairtade.

The Co Op always highlight in their newsletter about Fairtrade products and it does bring it to my attention, I like reading about the difference it can make to a lot os peoples lives.

THETrills - Sainsbury's FT coffee is lovely!

neolara - Aldi do organic, fairtrade bananas...

cheryl59 Thu 27-Sep-12 15:11:57

I thought I bought a lot more fairtrade than I do. I took part in The Big Bake Fair (blogged about our entry here : - hope that's allowed, not just a random plug, it's to make a point !!). I went through the cupboards to get out all the lovely Fairtrade baking products I was sure I had, only to discover that I didn't have any at all. I was absolutely convinced that some of them were Fairtrade, but it turns out they were organic or eco-cert or something or other but not Fairtrade. I think we're getting blinded by the labels now because there are just too many different criteria to look out for. I went shopping for all Fairtrade ingredients and was surprised to see that you can get Fairtrade bananas in Lidl and absolutely loads of own-brand Sainsbury's or Morrissons things as Fairtrade so it's not hard to do when you make a conscious effort. Maybe a bigger label, to make it more obvious when it's fairtrade ?

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Thu 27-Sep-12 15:55:09

I buy Fairtrade pretty often for certain things e.g. coffee, sugar, bananas (same as everyone else!).

I think a good way to get Fartrade used more would be to get it into more value-added products like yoghurt, ice cream, biscuits, cakes etc. If the manufacturers of those types of products could be persuaded to use Fairtade, that would raise the sales and the profile of Fairtrade products overall

I would also really support the idea of introducing British Fairtrade whereby farmers are paid proper prices.

nannynick Thu 27-Sep-12 16:08:17

Well done Cheryl, I would guess your banana bread was 50-65% Fairtrade.

Anyone know what percentage of Fairtrade ingredients have to be used to gain Fairtrafe certification? Looking at Dairy Milk, Cadbury's says at least 70% of the ingredients are Fairtrade.

Today I brought Sainsbury's Fairtrade chocolate for the first time. So discussing Fairtrade has resulted in a buying decision.

I find the co-op strange - they are very big on fair trade, and I do buy their chocolate, but their meat is shocking - no free range, let alone organic.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 27-Sep-12 18:13:23

A decade plus ago I didn't buy Fairtrade so much because I did not have as much money and generally had to go to a church run shop or Oxfam to get it. Availability and range has improved dramatically since then, as, fortunately, has my income. So I now buy Fairtrade food whenever it's available for the product I want to purchase. I prioritise that over organic though I prefer organic Fairtrade.

Now the main reason I would buy something that wasn't Fairtrade is because Fairtrade isn't available where I'm shopping.

I find places run out of Fairtrade stuff and some can go weeks between restocks. Don't know if that's because (some of) the shops that stock Fairtrade are less good at stock management or because supplies are sometimes erratic.

To encourage people to bake with Fairtrade, I'm not sure. Your Communications and marketing people must surely know what pushes people's buttons in terms of getting them to empathise with and support the Fairtrade mission. But ideas for events:
-Maybe try hooking up with other charities that people do coffee mornings and cake stalls for so you can do a double event promoting Fairtrade and raising money for a different charity?
-Try getting producing a project pack for schools that follows the national curriculum emphasizing Fairtrade info (economics, geography and food tech subjects?). At the end suggest they do a bake sale using Fairtrade ingredients.
-Similarly train up speakers for WI meetings.
-Push a Fairtrade Trading Fair - where people set up a market to sell Fairtrade and secondhand or local goods.
-Try providing "Made with Fairtrade Goods" stickers in with Fairtrade flour and sugar. So people who do bake with Fairtrade goods can advertise that fact easily on each cake they sell.

somanymiles Thu 27-Sep-12 20:03:54

Having the Fairtrade products on the shelf in the major supermarkets is the biggest thing. I will buy Fairtrade if I see it on the shelf, but not if I have to hunt for it. Maybe suggest haveing a Fairtrade section to some of the big supermarkets? That would help. Also, working with the Girl Guide Association and other clubs to draw the links between child labour and buying non fair trade chocolate and sugar - kids really get this stuff and they will "sell" it to their parents. Ditto for kids' tv programs, or even advertising during peak kids' viewing times. I love that Cadbury's dairy milk choc is now fair trade!

GetKnitted Thu 27-Sep-12 22:07:17

For myself, price is probably the main issue (not that I'm particularly proud of that reality). On my DH's side, not actually being convinced of the benefit to the producer compared to normal markets is the biggest factor in not going fair.

racingheart Thu 27-Sep-12 22:36:37

We always buy Fairtrade bananas, coffee, chocolate and cocoa. Can't remember the last time we bought these items without a Fairtrade label. Often buy Fairtrade sugar, biscuits and sweets for the children at church Fairtrade stall. TBH sometimes I buy something because it's what i'm looking for, then see it is Fairtrade, but hadn't chosen it for that reason. However, once I've noticed the label, I do then look out for it and choose it over other brands.

Yes, price is the biggest factor. If it's a few pence more, that's fine, but when it's double, and DH is out of work, it makes no sense.

If you want people to bake with Fairtrade, I'd do a costing per recipe. If people know they can make a great cake or plate of biscuits which work out only a few pence more per slice/cookie that non Fairtrade, and you tie that in with the difference it makes to the farmers, that could be very persuasive.

Also, you could start with some recipes that use the fairtrade items we all buy these days: banana bread; coffee cake with espresso frosting; then add in some recipes that promote the items you want more people to accept as their regular brand.

We always buy fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate and usually fairtrade bananas, sugar, cocoa and cashew nuts. This has become much easier and cheaper since Sainsburys have started making a lot of their own-brand products fairtrade. It also really helps when brands like Cadbury's and Nestle have fairtrade products.

If I'm choosing between two products and one has the fairtrade logo and the other doesn't, I'll usually choose the fairtrade product. However, I will often choose local or British produce in preference to produce shipped from overseas in order to minimise the environmental impact. We get most of our fruit and veg via an organic box scheme.

I would bake with more fairtrade products if more were readily available. In particular, it would be nice to be able to get fairtrade chocolate chips and fairtrade cake decorations, especially the chocolate ones. It's great to be able to get fairtrade cooking chocolate now via Green & Black's - it's really nice chocolate too!

musthavecoffee Fri 28-Sep-12 16:00:50

I buy fair trade where possible, but increasingly I'm governed by price over principle. I strongly believe that the fair trade movement makes a huge difference to peoples lives and it's with this in mind that I try to do my birthday present shopping throughout the year in the local fair trade shop.
Availability is also a deciding factor, the large mainstream companies need to be made to get on board with fair trade!

mummybrained Fri 28-Sep-12 16:49:57

though i know we all take personal responsibility, the success of fairtrade relies on stockists giving you the option. My family prefer me to buy fairtrade fruit, coffee, suger, tea, etc. but if you're in Tesco (for instance) instead of Sainsburys the fairtrade option is not one of the cheapest, it really has to be these days to get in the family shopping basket (that said their fairtrade tea is lovely). This year, most of my ethical considerations have flown out the window, sadly, with the freerange chicken, as food prices shoot up.
I hadn't heard of the big bake, sounds like a great idea.
You only have to look as coffeeshops switching to fairtrade coffee as standard to see the difference suppliers can make to our shopping habits. PS there really needs to be more fairtrade chocolate on the market, not just high end stuff but the guilty pleasures in the petrol station shop, would be easier to justify if they were fairtrade

mrsbunnyw Fri 28-Sep-12 19:09:33

I do buy fairtrade whenever I can; sugar, cocoa, chocolate, tea, coffee, bananas. But there are very many other products for which there is no fairtrade option available in supermarkets.

I think many people are dissuaded because of price, but also some friends just don't believe either that the profits really go to the farmers, or that the farmers are wise enough to use the money for their good. Not a view I share, but certainly one i've heard.

xxxkadzxxx Fri 28-Sep-12 19:44:46

I would love for my family to be able to purchase fairtrade products as i would really like to support it but there is no way we can afford to and that is the only reason why we dont.
If the prices were to match the others on the shelf then i would 100% choose fairtrade over anything else despite the brands choice offered.

We buy fairtrade bananas and coffee as I know about the benefits of these products and a few pence more on just these 2 items does not massively impact on our family budget. The importance of fairtrade to our family is huge and we do try to do what we can but in the current financial crisis what we want to do for fairtrade and what we are able to do are vastly different!

stephgr Sat 29-Sep-12 01:47:48

I buy Fairtrade as much as I can but the products tend to be more expensive so I can't always stretch the budget. If there were lower prices, promotions or extra offers then I think more people would buy Fairtrade.

nextphase Sat 29-Sep-12 09:23:16

Oh, and totally unrelated to cooking, but we actually have fairtrade cotton school trousers here at the moment. Mainly because they were cotton and not anything else, and they had an adjustable waist, but they are lovely. I also have a couple of fairtrade cotton teeshirts.

VainViolet Sat 29-Sep-12 21:07:22

I think fairtrade need to intergrate more with similar products. I have 4 children and shop in Aldi and free range chickens are more or less the same price as non free range so it's a no brainer, I will always buy free range. Can the fairtrade brand work more with supermarkets such as Aldi who mostly sell their own brand of goods? So we could buy fairtrade aldi chocolate for example.

SirBoobAlot Sun 30-Sep-12 13:50:04

I buy fair trade where I can. Having just checked my cupboard, all my baking stuff is fair trade. I'd like to see more things fair trade automatically.

Clothing is hideously expensive, and whilst I know that sounds very selfish, unfortunately sometimes I have to put our own finances first.

mummymccar Sun 30-Sep-12 14:20:04

I try to buy Fair Trade but to be honest I think that there needs to be more public education. Sometimes economics comes down to it, but I concentrate more on the taste when I'm choosing what to buy. If that product is Fair Trade then that is even better. I know that if there was more public demand for FT products then more established brands and household names would make the changes needed. This can only be achieved if the public understands more about fair trade.
My mum and my nan also bake but know nothing about Fair Trade and how the system works so they'll just buy the brands that they recognise.

Trills Sun 30-Sep-12 14:21:46

I've just ordered some fairtrade coffee instead of my usual stuff - it had better be nice!

roguepixie Sun 30-Sep-12 15:48:42

I always buy Fairtrade when the option is there: chocolate, bananas, tea, spices, sugar etc. Sometimes these items are the more expensive out of the choice available but I opt for the Fairtrade versions as they help support the farmers in those communities. The more people chose Fairtrade the clearer the message becomes that we want to support the efforts of those less fortunate than us.

putri Sun 30-Sep-12 17:03:55

We buy fair trade when there is an option. We like the idea behind Fair Trade and support it. As for baking, I can't bake but hubby does and I do buy FT ingredients when possible.

Jinsei Sun 30-Sep-12 22:43:27

Availability is key for me - I always buy fair trade products if I can find them, even if they are more expensive, but it isn't always possible to get what you need. Before we moved house, we used to shop in sainsbury's and I found that they stocked loads of fair trade items, but the one where we live now is much smaller so we don't really go there any more. Tend to shop in Tesco now, and there doesn't seem to be as much. I still by fair trade coffee always, and do without bananas if I don't like the look of the fair trade ones, but I do sometimes get ordinary sugar if I can't see the fair trade stuff. Have never noticed much in the way of fair trade baking stuff (except chocolate, which I do buy) but would buy it if I saw it.

Fair trade is an issue that is quite close to my heart. I have been buying some fair trade stuff for 20 years but the issue really hit home when I married DH as he is from a poor farming community in a developing country. They work so incredibly hard but get so little for their efforts. It only seems fair that they should be paid a decent price for the stuff that they grow - why should the middleman take it all?

The big fair bake sounds like a great idea. smile

Firewall Mon 01-Oct-12 00:03:33

We buy a lot of fair trade products when it is easy to find the fair trade substitute. For baking especially it is generally quite easy to pick fairtrade products (sugar, cocoa/chocolate) especially when the fair trade version is along side the other brands on shelf. Not only that, the fair trade prices arent drastically different therefore even though times are tough, we feel it's still the right thing to do. I find baking with fair trade products feel a lot more 'natural' and the result from the baking is better and taste better.

I think showing kids where products like chocolate are made and how they are made would help. Showing them the labour and process that is involved and educating them about fair trade.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Oct-12 10:35:15

I think sometimes its because it isn't very visable what's Fairtrade.

I buy Fairtrade bananas as the stickers make it obvious.

Never crosses my mind with other products. I'll look next time I shop and if its not that much more I'll try and get more Fairtrade stuff. I don't mind paying a few pence extra but not 20p.

WomanlyWoman Mon 01-Oct-12 11:27:57

It's a tricky one. I buy some fairtrade products. Reasons I don't buy more include; price, availability and habit.

I tend to stick to buying the same things and try new things only if they look extra enticing for some reason or if there is a special offer on. I just don't notice fairtrade products a lot of the time too.

Maybe emphasis needs to be on the fact that the quality makes them good value, as obviously many people see them as too pricey. People do want to be fair, but also love bargains so perhaps some way of making them seem like more of a bargain?

feeling guilty now blush

Notgoingtotakeitanymore Mon 01-Oct-12 20:43:42

It's not always obvious what is fair trade. When shopping quickly I tend to just go for the standard sainsburys brand as it is prominently placed.
I have bought a lot of fair trade things at xmas, e.g. froom Oxfam catalogue - it reminds me to do this.

californiaburrito Tue 02-Oct-12 13:18:13

I regularly buy FT items but there are a few exceptions- for instance vanilla extract/paste because of the quality of the non FT product. (I do try to do FT vanilla beans but not always). I am happy to pay about 10-15% more on a product if it is FT.

But I think FT can be a difficult sell because it seems complicated, there's a lot of scary economics and politics involved. And also, accusations of manufactures making a higher profit margin on FT products is worrying.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Oct-12 19:48:19

Thanks for all the comments.
thefudgeling has been pulled out of the hat as the winner of the Fairtrade goodies. Congrats.

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