Fairtrade Fortnight Producer Stories: Tropical Wholefoods

Tropical Wholefoods

Tropical Wholefoods

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight, hurrah!  It’s the season when we all have a chance to consider what we buy and where it’s come from.  As we’re munching on some yummy food or dressing ourselves in new clothes in the morning, this is the time for us to have a good think about who is involved in producing some of the things we buy.  Are the workers who pick my bananas being paid properly?  Are the weavers of my new top given a fair wage?

You may already know that this Fairtrade Fortnight we’re selling a hamper packed full of breakfast goodies (Helen wrote a lovely blog about it) to promote some of the brands already established in the fair trade field and to raise awareness of Fairtrade.  It’s important to know how our food and drink have been produced, so it seems like a fine opportunity to reveal the journey of each of the products in this hamper, and how they have achieved their status of being certified by the Fairtrade Foundation.

To start us off, we’re taking a peek at the story behind the energy snack bars from Tropical Wholefoods, a company that have been around since the 1990s, importing all sorts of dried fruits and nuts into the country.  Choosing to work with ethical businesses, paying fair prices well in advance to workers all over the world, they’re achieving some great work.

At a glance, here’s the journey of how their Apricot & Kernel Bar has made it’s way to our hamper:

In the northern area of Pakistan, apricots grow.  The highland environment of the Karakorum and Himalayan Mountains where the apricot fruit trees thrive are irrigated by pure glacial melt water so the apricots are wonderfully bright and tangy.  In the surrounding area, the communities are poor and live in harsh conditions, but Mountain Fruits, a Pakistani Fairtrade dried fruit and nut company, train the Northern Farmers in Pakistan to farm effectively.  They dry the tasty apricots in the sun and sell them to a number of companies, including Tropical Wholefoods, who pay them a fair wage.  (Over the years, the income that Mountain Fruits generate has helped support the local community, providing materials for schools, playgrounds, water tanks, sewing machines and generators.)
The tasty apricots are then flown to the UK, to Sunderland in fact, where friendly people blend generous helpings of them with a plethora of other ingredients.  The fruity mix is then rolled out and baked in a big oven at a low temperature.  The friendly people at Tropical Wholefoods then allow it to cool, slice up the mix into bars and package them into perfect snackable sizes.

And that’s how one company are striving to make an impact in the lives of poor communities elsewhere in the world.  Keep an eye out for more blogs, an insight into some of the other Fairtrade produce we sell.

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