Fair Trade vegetables market takes root
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
With the launch of certified Fairtrade green beans, Marks & Spencer is poised to become one of the leading retailers of fairtrade vegetables in Europe. Its move could also kick start the European market for fairtrade vegetables. Fairtrade product sales have been growing exponentially over the last five years. In the UK, the market for fairtrade products was worth 920 million euros in 2009, up from 250 million euros in 2004. Most sales are from fairtrade fruits and beverages, however vegetables could take a larger slice hereafter. Organic Monitor research shows that vegetables represent most eco-labelled fruit & vegetable sales in Europe. Within the organic products market (the largest eco-labelled sector), the most popular vegetables are potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. In comparison, bananas account for the bulk of fairtrade fruit & vegetable sales. Fairtrade bananas are highly successful in the UK where they comprise roughly a third of banana sales.
Marks & Spencer has introduced certified Fairtrade green beans from Kenya. The vegetables are sourced from a small group of 23 growers in Mweiga and Meru. The growers supply Homegrown Kenyan Ltd., a Fairtrade- certified plantation that sources from 10 areas located in the higher rainfall areas of Kenya. The launch of certified green beans has only been made possible by the extension of new Fairtrade vegetable standards to include small-scale growers who can only access export markets by selling their crops via larger plantations. The new standard enables growers to trade via larger Fairtrade certified farms and receive their share of the Fairtrade premium, which can be invested in social and infrastructure projects. Sainsbury’s, UK’s largest retailer of fairtrade products, is also planning to launch certified green beans in the coming weeks. Other leading UK retailers of fairtrade foods - that include Waitrose and Co-op - are likely to follow suite. These supermarkets also plan to introduce more certified fairtrade vegetables, such as garden peas and other bean varieties.
Similar fairtrade standards are required in other countries if the European fairtrade vegetables market is to gain momentum. Countries, such as Switzerland and Finland, have higher consumption rates for fairtrade products than the UK. Other countries like Norway are reporting market growth rates in excess of 20 % a year. However, a handful of products represent most fairtrade food sales in Europe. New standards for fairtrade vegetables would enable fresh produce traders & retailers to expand their range of certified fairtrade products. They would also enable these companies to have the supply necessary to keep pace with soaring consumer demand. The potential of fair trade is extensively covered in the Sustainable Foods Summit, taking place in Amsterdam on June10 to 11, 2010. The summit will bring together leading organisations involved in fair trade products in Europe; they include Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) International, Max Havelaar Netherlands, Max Havelaar Belgium, Ecocert Fair Trade, Solidaridad, Alter Eco, Green & Black’s, Altra Mercato, Royal Ahold Group and Co-op Switzerland.
The Sustainable Foods Summit is a series of summits that focuses on the leading issues the food industry faces concerning sustainability, organic, fair trade and other eco-labels. Topics covered in the summit include ethical sourcing, fair trade concepts, carbon offsetting, water footprints, traceability & transparency, sustainable sourcing & roundtables, ethical marketing, changing consumer behaviour and ecological packaging. The Sustainable Foods Summit will take place at Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center, June 10 to 11, 2010. The summit is organised by Organic Monitor, a specialist research & consulting company that focuses on the global organic & related product industries. Since 2004, they have been organising seminars, workshops and summits on sustainable product industries.
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