Which? highlights Fairtrade food qualityExperts tasted Fairtrade goods and rivals

22 February 2008

Fairtrade groceries

The Fairtrade mark is an independent guarantee that goods have been fairly traded

As Fairtrade Fortnight kicks off next week Which? asked experts to taste some Fairtrade foods.

Fairtrade products are often more expensive than their non-Fairtrade rivals, and spot checks carried out by Which? show that quality can vary.

Our coffee taster rated Cafédirect filter coffee ahead of its medium roast equivalent Douwe Egberts, however Tetley tea bags came out ahead of Clipper Originals as did Cadbury Dairy Milk compared with Divine milk chocolate.

Farmers

Fairtrade farmers are promised a minimum price for their produce, usually above the market price, and on top of that get a premium which they can invest in social and economic development.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘Fairtrade protects workers against the fluctuations of the market.

‘In the past decade, for example, there has been a 40% drop in the price of bananas. That’s unsustainable and is frankly ruining people’s lives.’

However critics argue that Fairtrade  goods aren't a long-term solution to the problems of the developing world.

Professor Philip Booth, of the Insititue of Economic Affairs think-tank said: ‘I can’t say Fairtrade helps the developing world more than Nescafé.’