UK shoppers have an admirable appetite for ethically-sourced fair trade products. You’ve probably noticed the blue-green logo for the Fairtrade Foundation on bananas, sugar, coffee and tea.
You might also notice a variety of fair trade certifications on a plethora of surprising products. Anything from energy drinks to olive oil have all joined the Fairtrade movement.
What Are Fair Trade Products?
Fair trade products are products that, as the name suggests, have been traded fairly. This means that farmers, pickers, growers and producers have been paid a fair wage. The environment is also protected, with sustainable farming practices also safeguarded.
Not only that, workers are ensured a safe working environment and that their rights are protected.
More often than not, these workers live and work in the developing world. Places where poor working conditions and pay are common yet largely unnoticed by richer countries who buy their wares.
In contrast, fair trade products have been produced by people that are looked after, in an environment that’s also protected.
Workers are paid for their labour and their produce at a sustainable rate. This rate cannot fall below the market rate. It ensures workers can support themselves, their families and their communities.
In a world where big brands rule the roost, it’s important that consumers are offered a choice. Buying fairly traded products means supporting the fellow human who produced them.
How to Find Fair Trade Products
The most well known fair trade products are those from the Fairtrade Foundation. You may already recognise their distinctive green and blue FAIRTRADE mark.
But there are other fair trade schemes to look out for. For example, Sainsbury’s have their own Fairly Traded tea.
The best way to find fair trade products is to become a label reading professional. Thankfully this isn’t as tricky as it sounds!
Companies putting fairly traded products on our shelves will want you to know about it. Fair trade marks should be prominently displayed on packaging if a product is fairly traded.
Common fair trade products are tea, coffee, chocolate and bananas, which are great to start with. If you’re looking to expand the fair trade products you buy, here’s ten to start with!
10 Largely Unknown Fair Trade Products
We’ve made a grocery list of our favourite Fairtrade foods. They all help support the small-scale farmers who make our lives a little more delicious.
Lucy Bee is a one-stop shop for anyone stocking an ethical pantry.
They offer a variety of staples, including flour, salt and spices, all certified by FairTSA. FairTSA requires brands to invest in community projects.
So far, Lucy Bee has contributed to scholarships, public wells, school lunch programmes and lots more.
Long before fizzy drinks, West Africans chewed naturally-caffeinated cola nuts for a daily pick me up.
Karma Cola gives credit where it’s due by paying their Sierra Leone farmers a fair price for their cola.
They also invest in community projects through the Karma Cola Foundation. If you don’t like cola, you can still sip Karma’s equally-ethical lemonade or ginger ale.
You can buy Karma Cola in a range of flavours: cola, lemonade and ginger ale.
A humble bag of mixed nuts represents a UN worth of countries. The cashews might come from Côte d’Ivoire, the macadamias from Malawi, and the Brazil nuts from Bolivia.
With such a complex supply chain, it’s hardly a surprise that only one UK nut company has managed to gain a certification for their Fairtrade products.
Liberation Foods even go beyond Fairtrade requirements. They offer shares to their small-scale farmers, who now hold 44% of the company!
You can buy Liberation Nuts in salted or chilli and lime flavour. They also have a crunchy peanut butter which is equally Fairtrade.
Piccolo Baby Food
You’re never too young to eat ethically, so start your kids early with Piccolo.
They’re the first baby food company in the UK to be certified for their Fairtrade products!
But ethics are a main ingredient throughout Piccolo’s Mediterranean-inspired menu. All their offerings are certified organic, and 10% of their profits go to charity.
Quinola Mothergrain Quinoa
If you think quinoa is a guilt-free carb, think again. The recent Western appetite for quinoa has made it too expensive for the Peruvian farmers who have cultivated it for themselves for millennia.
Quinola Mothergrain takes this increased cost-of-living into account when determining prices.
They also encourage traditional farming practices, which happen to be organic and sustainable.
Kallo Fairtrade Rice Cakes
Kallo has been cranking out wholegrain health food for over two centuries!
They stay relevant by adapting to all the latest shopper demands. This recently included getting their crispy-crunchy rice cakes certified by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Rice is still a relatively small player in the Fairtrade game, so Kallo’s cakes are a great find. We love them with a smear of Pip & Nut’s ethical nut butter.
Cru Kafe Coffee Pods
Coffee is one of the more familiar Fairtrade products. But Cru Kafe takes ethical caffeination to another level.
Along with paying the Fairtrade minimum for coffee, Cru helps women gain a foothold in the male-dominated coffee industry.
Cru’s ethical approach continues all the way to the packaging. Their pods are recyclable, and they’re developing a 100% compostable version.
TIANA Coconut Oil
Lately, health gurus have been touting coconut oil for everything. From cleaning your teeth to plumping your muffins, coconut oil works.
But these wholesome fruits are often harvested in not-so-wholesome ways. Some farms force chained monkeys to do the picking.
TIANA offers one of the most ethical coconut oils on the UK market, certified Fairtrade by EcoCert. They also invest in infrastructure and education in their farmers’ communities in the Philippines.
Zaytoun Olive Oil
Zaytoun isn’t just a food company. It’s a social enterprise improving the lives of Palestinian farmers “through trade rather than aid.”
It was only natural that they became the world’s first Fairtrade olive oil producer in 2009.
Zaytoun’s product list reads like a mezze plate of ethical Palestinian goodies. They offer almonds, hand-picked dates, and organic couscous-like maftoul certified by Fair for Life.
Like many isolated islands, Westray has long survived on local produce and shelf-stable imports. This experience may inform Westray Chutney’s inventive approach to Fairtrade food.
They revitalise generations-old recipes with exotic ingredients like dates, pineapple and ginger, all certified Fairtrade.
Thanks in part to their efforts, Westray was deemed a “Fairtrade Island” in 2007. Sounds like a great place for an ethical holiday!
Fair Trade Products Are Everywhere
This list is just scratching the surface. You can also find the more common items like fairly traded tea, sugar, bananas, chocolate and spices in almost every supermarket.
What fair trade products are you going to add to your shopping list?!