Tag Archives: fairtrade

How Fair is Fairtrade Chocolate?

There seems to be an outcry in the UK, because it has come to light that chocolates labeled Fairtrade may actually contain no Fairtrade cocoa (cocoa produced by disadvantaged third world farmers) because all cocoa is mixed before distribution to manufacturers.

Millions of chocolate bars labelled Fairtrade contain none of the ethical chocolate | The Sun |News.jpg

from: The Sun
(click image for full story online)

While this may be the case and is quite disturbing, I still believe the labeling of a product as Fairtrade when only a portion (now shown to be an unknown portion) of one of the many ingredients in an organic chocolate bar allows the supplier to use the Fairtrade logo!

The ingredient list, gives cocoa butter as only the third ingredient after sugar and wheat flour for Kit Kat and sugar and milk for Dairy Milk Chocolate. So way less than one third of the ingredients are actually Fairtrade ingredients, if 20% (which is extremely optimistic) of UK cocoa were Fairtrade it would be a maximum of only 6%. So why can the bar as a whole be termed a Fairtrade Chocolate Bar?


I have always thought that FAIRTRADE offered a marketing advantage to the small scale food manufacturer. After all the FAIRTRADE sales in the UK in 2009 were 800 million pounds!

Now in the last few days we see 2 very different stories on FAIRTRADE chocolate, in the Australian Foodweek.


(click the image to open website)



(click the image to open website)

Both of these raise questions and prompt me to write a few blogs trying to answer one that has been bothering me for some time. What fraction of, lets say Kit Kat’s raw materials, are FAIRTRADE? I will also be giving an overview of FAIRTRADE and how different organisations view it.

Organic Business Guide – From field to market

This is not an organic food processing book that aims to get businesses into Organic Production. It is however a complete book on Organic business that will give the Food Processor a very good background if they are trying to bring organic into their business.

Organic Business Guide - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks.jpg

(click the image to open website)

The complete book covers a range of topics including:

  • Organic production and Fair Trade
  • Starting from the market
  • Developing organic value chains
  • Designing the organic production system
  • Planning and managing your business
  • Organising producers for the market
  • Certification and internal control systems
  • From field to market
  • Marketing

A nice overview of the complete value chain of organic food which does have a small section on food processing of organic foods is presented in “From field to market”. This will give the food processor a good overview.

Organic Business Guide_From field to market - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks-2.jpg

(click the image to open website)


French Retail Food – Observations 4

My contacts with the British and Dutch markets lead me to believe that Organic and FAIRTRADE were important market movements in Europe.

What I have found is that this is clearly not the case in France. Recent news items from Britain seem to indicate that consumers who used organic products almost exclusively (Sky News 01/06/2008) are reducing their organic purchases because of the increase in food costs.

In a large supermarket visited recently


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)


there was no organic fresh produce and only this small section of organic food was found under the health foods


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)


Another supermarket did have a small organic fresh produce section but the products were imported from Spain and Holland. So the organic movement does not seem to be well developed, at least outside of the main centres.

On the FAIRTRADE side, most supermarkets have a few ethical and FAIRTRADE products in their coffee sections but again not in their fresh produce sections. The supermarket illustrated above only had a small ethical section, in addition to their coffees.


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)