Ethically sourced products
Demand for ethically positioned products is continually growing. According to the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation’s annual report this year, the value of Fairtrade sales in Ireland increased by a massive 101% between 2006 and 2007, yielding £23.3 million.
21 August 2008 | 0
At a glance: ethically sourced products
- Irish sales of Fairtrade products grew by 101% to £23.3 million, up from £11.6 million in 2006
- Almost half of Irish Adults claim to have ever bought a Fairtrade product, which has risen from 40% last year and 36% in 2006
- Almost two in five claim to currently buy Fairtrade products, up significantly from 32% to 38%
- The conversion ratio for Fairtrade customers is 83% and over four out of five of those who ever bought a Fairtrade product continue to do so
- Internationally, sales of the products grew to over £2.3bn last year
- It is estimated over 1.5 million people in developing countries now benefit from these sales
- There are now 60 towns around Ireland that have achieved Fairtrade status, and Irish cities with Fairtrade status include Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Limerick
The Fairtrade logo is increasingly being recognised and bought here in Ireland, according to the latest Fairtrade Mark Omnibus Research (Feb 2002 – April 2008) conducted by Millward Brown. The study shows 57% of Irish adults now recognise the brand’s logo, up from 53% last year, almost half of Irish adults claim to have ever bought a Fairtrade product, and some two in five claim to currently buy Fairtrade products, up significantly from 32% to 38%. Furthermore, over four out of five of those who have bought a Fairtrade product continue to do so.
Peter Gaynor, executive director with Fairtrade Mark Ireland has attributed the huge increase of sales of Fairtrade produce in Ireland to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers around the country and many companies (see next page). The growth in sales speaks for itself, with Irish sales up 101% in 2007 from £11.6 million to £23.3 million, more than double the global annual increase. However, the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation’s (FLO) annual report does paint an impressive picture internationally also, with sales of the products growing to over £ 2.3 billion last year.
Revolutionising the tea industry
Unilever, the world’s largest tea grower and parent company for the Lyons Tea brand, is ensuring its entire tea supply will come from sustainable sources. Already 50% of the tea supply for Lyons comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, and by 2012 all the plantations which supply Lyons will be certified.
Unilever has been working to raise environmental and social standards on its East African tea estates for 10 years by monitoring aspects of sustainable tea production and improving performance on key indicators in areas that include social and human capital, product value, the local economy, soil health, pest management, and biodiversity. In Kericho, Kenya, and Mufindi, Tanzania, Lyons Tea provides free housing, company primary and secondary schools, nursery schools and employee welfare services such as clean water supplies, hospitals and health centres.
Currently, half of the tea in Lyons Tea Original Blend tea bags comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified plantations and consumers can already buy packs from certified sources which carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal in shops. By 2010 all of the tea used in Lyons Original Blend will come from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and by 2012, all Lyons Tea will only come from farms that meet the certification standards.
Lyons Tea will be promoting the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on its packs through a programme of above the line and below the line activity including television and press advertising and in store sampling activity.
Rainforest Alliance coffee with distinctive taste
Kenco Pure was launched in March 2007 as a single origin coffee range that is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. It has performed well, quickly driving huge growth in the ethical soluble sector and becoming the number one retail brand in this growing sector.
There are three products in the range: Kenco Pure Columbian, Kenco Pure Costa Rican and Kenco Pure Brazilian, all in a 100g size with beautiful packaging that evokes the landscape of the countries from which they hail.
These coffees each have a superb and distinctive taste profile, according to their place of origin – similar to a fine wine from a particular vineyard.
Going for gold
Teadirect Gold is a new blend of teas from Cafédirect’s expert tea growers in Kenya, Rwanda, and India. Three teas have been carefully selected to create an aromatic, deeply layered and gilded blend, from Kenya, from Rwandan, and Assam tea from the Brahmaputra Valley in India.
Over the last three years Cafédirect has invested on average 60% of its profits directly into growers’ businesses and communities to support sustainable financial and environmental practices. Thanks to the company’s pioneering minimum tea pricing scheme its growers are always protected from the extreme lows of the commodity market.
In 2007, Cafédirect increased its minimum price to ensure that all growers supplying Teadirect and Teadirect Gold are rewarded for the quality of the tea that they produce. This way they make a decent living from their crop and consumers enjoy a decent cuppa. Teadirect Gold, at RSP £5.25 per box of 80 teabags, is currently available through Dunnes Stores and will launch in other major supermarkets later this year.
First for Fairtrade
Java Republic Roasting Company was the first Irish coffee company to offer its customers a full Fairtrade beverage offering, which includes six different coffee blends, a String and Tag Kenyan Tea, white and brown sugar and ‘The Other Bean’ real hot chocolate. This package meets the rise in demand from Irish consumers looking to purchase ethically sourced products, such as those that bear the Fairtrade Mark.
One of the Java Republic products on retail shelves is their Spyder Fairtrade blend, which is 100% Fairtrade certified (50% of the blend from a small coffee farm in Colombia and 50% from a small farm in Guatemala). This ‘Roast 2′ medium strength blend is available (ground specific for filter and for plunger) through retail outlets and is also a popular amongst Foodservice customers in an Espresso Bean format.
Bewley’s was the first and remains the largest importer of Fairtrade coffee to Ireland. Bewley’s Fairtrade Organic coffee is grown in the Central Highlands of Guatemala in a region that is considered to be one of the best natural coffee regions in Central America. Cultivated from volcanic soil, this hand picked Arabica bean has a bold body and a highly aromatic, fragrant aftertaste.
In addition, Bewley’s Special Reserve Fairtrade Tea has recently been awarded a gold medal at the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards. The tea is sourced from a single estate east of the Rift Valley high on the slopes of Mount Kenya. The Fairtrade premium Bewley’s helps farmers to make a vital contribution to their families and communities.
Everyone’s a winner
Coffee Perfection is a supporter of various ethical options including Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance farms through its three main products. The support of Fairtrade farms, which include farms in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, helps to ensure the farmers receive a guaranteed sustainable and fair price for their coffee. On top of this guaranteed price, the Fairtrade Cooperative will receive and 10 cents per pound premium to be invested in local community projects.
As well as supporting these important certifications Coffee Perfection’s roasters have individually built relationships with community and farmers, helping them with their coffee processing stations and increasing the quality delivered to consumers, as well as the price received by them.
World’s first Fairtrade wine arrives in Ireland
The world’s first Fairtrade wine, Thandi, has been launched in Ireland by FindlaterGrants, following its success with major suppliers in other European, North American and Japanese markets. Two dual varietals have been launched, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. Independent research from Irish buyers showed there is strong demand for a good quality Fairtrade wine that provides the consumer with product quality and consistency.
Since implementing the Fairtrade model, previously disadvantaged South Africans in the small rural community in the Elgin Valley, 60 kilometres from Cape Town, have prospered considerably. Many within the community have moved from being mere farm workers to land owners and brand owners of wines, which currently lead the field in terms of their product excellence. Since certification, the project has expanded to include four more wine farms in prominent regions.
Peter Gaynor of Fairtrade Mark Ireland talks to ShelfLife about the brand’s huge growth
How important has the Fairtrade Town Status initiative been in increasing awareness of the Fairtrade Mark?
In recent years the voluntary Fairtrade Towns groups have played an increasingly important role in raising awareness about Fairtrade products in their own areas. In the two years between 2006 and 2008, that it took Dublin to become a Fairtrade City, awareness of Fairtrade grew from 40% of Dubliners to 68%.
There are now 60 Fairtrade Town groups around the country with more joining all the time and awareness of Fairtrade nationally grew to 57% of adults in April 2008.
The Fairtrade Mark achieved huge growth in Ireland of 101% between 2006 and 2007. How can the brand grow even further in 2008 and beyond?
In addition to organic growth led by consumers we expect more Irish businesses, as part of their CSR Programmes, and as a response to consumer preference, to convert more products and whole categories of products to Fairtrade. There are increasing examples of this in Ireland and even more so internationally.
Recently Lidl in Ireland converted all of its organic bananas to Fairtrade, Robert Roberts is converting all of its retail black tea to Fairtrade, and companies like Bewleys and Java Republic, as well as most retailers, are continuing to extend the range of Fairtrade Mark products they are selling.
How popular are new lines which people may not traditionally associate with the Fairtrade Mark, such as ice-cream and wine?
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is selling well and Fairtrade wines are only beginning to be easily available. There is also huge potential for products made from Fairtrade Certified cotton to grow in Ireland.
Are you concerned in our current climate of recession that people may no longer be willing to pay extra for Fairtrade goods?
Fairtrade products used to cost significantly more, but this is not still the case. The reality is that there are hundreds of Fairtrade Mark products, from dozens of companies and that increasingly they do not cost significantly more. Some Fairtrade Mark products may be affected whilst others will continue to grow.