It’s likely that most of us know that Fairtrade bananas, tea and coffee are easy swaps to make when we’re trying to make more conscious consumer decisions. But what else out there is Fairtrade? I’ve been surprised lately as I’ve snooped around the supermarket at the unusual items that we can buy Fairtrade. Here’s a round up of my best picks…
I’m obsessed with salt and pepper. It’s a bit of problem. Have you seen that Michael McIntyre sketch about the spice cupboard? I am absolutely one of those people who revere salt and pepper above all else. I was a bit surprised and thrilled when I found Fairtrade peppercorns in my local Sainsbury’s, they came in a pot with a grinder on the top and separately as a refill. We can’t buy British peppercorns as far as I’m aware so Fairtrade has got to be the next best thing. Other brands selling Fairtrade peppercorns include Barts, Waitrose, Oxfam, Steenbergs, Lucy Bee and Amazon!
Fairtrade honey is great because we’re making sure the bees are being paid a fair wage and the Fairtrade premium allows them to expand their hives… I’m joking, obviously. But the Fairtrade premium genuinely makes a world of difference for those who work to produce the honey we love so much. I spotted a beautiful bright yellow pot of Equal Exchange Fairtrade honey in my local health food shop the other day. Other Fairtrade honey options are available too. I’ve spotted the Fairtrade mark on brands like Tropical Forest, Traidcraft, Asda and Co-op. Even household name Rowse have a Fairtrade option. If eating honey isn’t your thing, but you love the smell – you can get moisturising hand soap with added Fairtrade honey from Baylis & Harding.
I’ll be truly honest and say that I am not a big fizzy drinks fan. They’re far too sugary for me and after studying water resources in India during my GCSE Geography course, I’ve felt that Coca Cola in particular was a symbol of exploitation and have tried to avoid it out of principle. However, last year I spotted a bottle of Karma Cola which was sporting the Fairtrade mark and decided to give it a go. I actually really liked it for both the natural ingredients and delicious taste. It also amazed me to think that something I had associated with exploitation for so long could be reimagined and used for good. So top marks to Karma Cola. They also make a Fairtrade non-alcoholic ginger beer and a lemonade! If you’re after other brands, a bit of internet searching has brought me to Ubuntu Fairtrade cola as well as Gousto Cola. The world is your cola nut.
As the snow across Britain begins to thaw it’s probably the last thing you’re thinking about eating right now, but Ben & Jerry’s have a tonne of Fairtrade ice cream products available. They also have non-dairy options for those of you who can’t or choose not to eat dairy. They use a tonne of Fairtrade ingredients in their frozen tubs of joy, thus making them do good as well as taste good. Fairtrade cookie dough?! Yes please. I’ve also spotted Fairtrade vanilla ice cream in Waitrose’s Duchy organic range. When the summer hits I know where I’m headed to stock my freezer…
Although it’s not exactly a daily essential or a regular item in my weekly shop I do wear a bit of gold every day. I have a couple of pieces of jewellery made from Fairtrade gold which I always wear. Many of my friends have been surprised when they’ve found out my jewellery was Fairtrade because they didn’t even know it was possible. Fairtrade gold is important because the shocking reality is that this precious metal is often prized far more than the lives and wellbeing of the small scale miners who are trading it. The Fairtrade standard for gold means that miners don’t experience exploitation, poverty or exposure to harmful chemicals because of their work. When you wear something every day, you have an opportunity to invest your values as well as your money into that item. If you believe that together we all have a part to play in ending extreme poverty, then this might be a great option for you to explore next time you are buying jewellery.
It’s extraordinary that there are so many Fairtrade options out there, particularly the unusual ones. From golden honey to the gold in our jewellery, we can all make better consumer decisions. Buying Fairtrade isn’t just a nice thing to do, it genuinely ensures better lives for the people producing the stuff we buy by supporting them to lift themselves out of poverty. What unusual Fairtrade products have you discovered this Fairtrade fortnight? Let us know over on Instagram @wearetearfund.