Guest post: My Fairtrade Fortnight Findings!

image: ©Marcus Lyons

Here is a a fabulous post all about the challenges of choosing Fairtrade from the lovely Nicki Cawood:-

When Lyndsey tagged me in her post about Fairtrade Fortnight as a fellow “Frugalista”  my answer to her call was to promise to change my shopping habits with immediate effect, wherever possible, to include more Fairtrade (FT) items.

I know they are out there but as I told Lyndsey, it’s pure laziness on my part that has stopped me from actively seeking them out in the past (well it is- I won’t fib!).

I thought this mini-challenge I’d set myself would be very easy…. I was wrong, and it has opened my eyes up to 1) How FT products are advertised / displayed and 2) the fact that I actually knew very little about Fairtrade!

I “know” about Fairtrade, I know why products are sold, what the general benefits to those in need are but I didn’t realise until I looked online what a big difference Fairtrade has and continues to make. How much do you know about Fairtrade? We all bandy the word Fairtrade about but until I started having a good dig about I didn’t realise just how much good the Fairtrade Foundation has done in the past 15 years, since the first products hit the shelves. However, this isn’t a post about the achievements of the Fairtrade Foundation but about my grocery challenge. If you want to find out more about the Fairtrade Foundation & the work they do visit: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/ (you won’t regret it!).

Right, as I said, I didn’t really think this challenge through past “I’ll buy bananas, coffee and chocolate”. It turns out there are a lot more products available that that- so off I trotted to find them.

Not as easy as I’d expected!

I generally do my weekly shop with Mr T- and despite my intense digging, couldn’t find any dedicated Fairtrade section and the products that were available weren’t well marked and were dotted all over the place. Not helpful! I would have thought such a large store would be firmly behind Fairtrade and be doing it’s upmost to advertise it. This may be the case but I was not pleased with what I found.

Determined not to be thwarted next I went to Co-op. The Co-operative is well known for it’s ethical stance and it’s Fairtrade policies and I wasn’t disappointed to find a whole range of items available, clearly labelled, well stocked and affordable!

Unfortunately my local Co-op store isn’t big enough to do a big weekly shop, and being in a rural area, there aren’t any other bigger food stores, so it was online & to Sainsbury to do a shop and see if they were anymore Fairtrade Savvy. I am happy to say they most definitely are! Not only do they have a vast range of Fairtrade products but these are easy to find and surprisingly cheap. Some of the Sainsbury’s Basic range includes FT items, so there is no reason to worry about FT products being more costly / unavailable.

I normally use Sainsbury’s rarely as in truth I am a Clubcard point tart, but this has really raised their profile in my eyes, and as a consequence, I will be using them more. Whilst I didn’t get around to making my own fruit-bowl hat or similar, Fairtrade Fortnight has really opened my eyes to the issues around Fairtrade, the huge differences it has made to so many people and places, and “on the ground” what I can do in my own little way to help, with actually very little effort on my part!

First off… an email to Mr T!

Nicki Cawood, Freelance writer, blogger, Frugal Mum of 2.
www.curlyandcandid.co.uk

Thanks Nicki – I too have found Co-op to be really Fairtrade savvy, as you put it, but again, like you my rural Co-op is not convenient for a family shop. I’m a Mr A fan, so will check out how well they fair in this challenge. To everyone else out there, I’d like to know your experiences are of buying Fairtrade, which major food retailer is the best in your opinion. Also, since hearing all about Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight, has it made you reconsider what you are putting in your supermarket basket, I’d love to hear your thoughts? Thanks again Nicki, brilliant post :)

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