Are Fairtrade products really more expensive?

Are Fairtrade products really more expensive?

by Claire Liboureau

Do businesses need to choose between giving farmers and workers a fair deal or offering consumers a fair price on shelf? No. It’s often assumed that businesses respecting the human rights of the people in its supply chain and respecting the environment will end up offering more expensive products to consumers, but this is not the case.

Fairtrade guarantees producers a Minimum Price (a price safety net) and a Fairtrade Premium; in other words, a fair deal for their work. This obviously has a cost for Fairtrade businesses but it doesn’t mean that the product on shelf has to be more expensive for consumers. Wait, what?!

Let’s take a look at what makes up the price of your typical supermarket product. Let’s say a bar of chocolate. Assuming that you bought your chocolate bar for £1, how much do you think ends up in the cocoa producers’ pocket?

Gif of someone performing a drum roll

6p! So who did you just give 94p to?

40p, give or take, went to the chocolate company, 35p to the retailer and the rest to other intermediaries in the supply chain to process and transport the chocolate to you.

Seen like this, it’s obvious that giving farmers and workers a better deal is not about asking you to pay a higher price. It’s just about giving producers a bigger proportion of the price you already pay.

We’ve picked out a few Fairtrade bargains for you! Our top tip: look for retailers’ own labels. Retailers are among the businesses most supportive of Fairtrade, which means you’ve got plenty of great value Fairtrade options out there.

Your one-stop-shop for Fairtrade good deals: Lidl

You don’t need to look around Lidl for long to realise it’s the go-to supermarket for good deals. But did you realise that Lidl also offers plenty of opportunities to make a difference? Lidl sells over 50 different Fairtrade products, including Earl Grey tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate and flowers. Good deals for you, good deals for the producers picking bananas in Columbia, tea in Kenya or growing cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire.

Lidl’s Fairtrade Earl Grey tea

The cheapest Fairtrade product

Whatever your local shop is, chances are, you’ll find a Fairtrade banana. Actually, you might even find only Fairtrade bananas! But, are they more expensive? To give a quick example, in Asda the difference between a Fairtrade banana and its non-Fairtrade equivalent is… 2p! This 2p enables plantation workers in Latin America and the Caribbean and their families to pursue education and access credits to set-up businesses and improve their economic prospects.

Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado sell 100% Fairtrade bananas.

You can also find Fairtrade bananas in most other major UK supermarkets (including Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons and Asda) – just look for the Fairtrade label!

Banana plant

Your sweet deal: Co-op’s sugar

Our go-to option is Co-op’s white sugar at £0.74/kg! If you’re more into the less refined type, you’ll prefer their demerara, brown soft or even dark muscovado sugar. You can get any of these for less than £2. Why should you? Simply because sugarcane farmers live in poverty and rely on the Fairtrade Premium to access food, healthcare and education for their children.

Did you know? Sugarcane is also known as ‘the hunger crop’. A bitter taste to your sweet treat, but it doesn’t have to be. Next time you want to bake a cake, head to your local Co-op, pick up a bag of Fairtrade sugar and give producers a bigger part of your cake!

Find your nearest Co-op store

Banana cake

Your much-needed morning brew: Waitrose essential coffee

Did you know that in the UK alone, we drink 95 million cups of coffee a day? If you are one of these coffee-lovers it can become quite an expense! Why not try Waitrose Essential coffee? At £1.50 for 100g, it is one of the lowest priced (and Fairest!) option for you out there.

Waitrose’s Fairtrade Essential coffee

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