This Fairtrade Fortnight, Ethicalsuperstore.com is providing a Fairtrade shopping alternative to supermarket chains. Featuring the widest range of Fairtrade brands from large to small, this one-stop online shop makes ethical grocery shopping easy for consumers and goes the extra mile in supporting Fairtrade suppliers and products.
Ethicalsuperstore.com is helping an ethical trading pioneer expand their market access this Fairtrade Fortnight. Hoping to make Fairtrade grocery shopping more accessible for all, Suma Co-operative, the UK’s leading wholefoods distributor has launched its online retail grocery store in partnership with Ethicalsuperstore.com. The online store sells a wide range of well established Fairtrade and organic brands, including Suma's award-winning range of vegetarian foods and the Ecoleaf cleaning range. Suma’s Online Retail Store Sumamarket.coop, developed and now operated by Ethicalsuperstore.com on the behalf of Suma, stocks over 2,000 products, with a further 3,000 products to be introduced over the coming months.
Launching a Fairtrade retail venture might appear to be a challenge in an economic climate of declining retail sales and a nationwide tightening of belts, however demand for Fairtrade products is at record levels. According to the Co-operative Bank’s 2009 Ethical Consumerism Report, UK sales of Fairtrade food and drink were £635 million, a whopping 39% increase from 2008.
An underlying trend is that Fairtrade is becoming big business with a surge of corporate brands entering the Fairtrade arena – Cadbury's recently converted their Dairy Milk Bars to Fairtrade and even Nestle have added the Fairtrade label to their iconic Kit Kat wrapper. Starbucks now boasts the Fairtrade mark on many of their hot beverages, and Green & Black’s are bringing their own business full circle – they launched the UK’s first Fairtrade product in 1994 with their Maya Gold Chocolate, and their latest announcement declared that the entire range will become 100% Fairtrade towards the end of this year. And most recently Ben & Jerry’s, founders of hippy capitalism now owned by Unilever, announced its plans to go 100% Fairtrade.
Supermarket chains are also contributing to the Fairtrade boom. Major chains including market share leader Tesco have increased their listings of recognised Fairtrade brands, and are also expanding their own label Fairtrade product offerings. Although Fairtrade campaigners have been urging supermarkets to allocate more shelf space to Fairtrade products for years, a recent UK Government report by the Competition Commission criticises hardline trading practices of large supermarkets relative to small suppliers. The Government's recognition of this problem and its recommendation for an independent ombudsman to oversee supermarket supplier conduct has been applauded by Fairtrade leaders, with Traidcraft's senior policy director Fiona Gooch commenting:
“The Government's recognition that the power wielded by large grocery retailers puts pressure on small producers is a welcome development. And it means that there may finally be an end to small farmers in the developing world facing excessive risks caused by our own grocery sector. We look forward to a swift consultation and a clear and unequivocal outcome to ensure the watchdog can begin to stem unfair practices and help the grocery sector return to being a fair market.”Ethicalsuperstore.com is the only retailer to promote the full product ranges of Fairtrade pioneers Cafédirect and Divine Chocolate, the sort of grocery market access generally only enjoyed between corporate product brands and supermarket chains. It actively promotes the fair trading practices of smaller ethical brands which also receive extra business support from Ethicalsuperstore.com to help grow in strength, independently of the supermarket chains.
“We’re proud to support the small suppliers that have pioneered the Fairtrade market in the UK, including brands such as Traidcraft, Divine Chocolate, Cafédirect, Equal Exchange, and Suma Co-operative. These organisations have set gold standards of ethical trading unrivalled by any corporation and deserve our support now more than ever.”(ends)
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Notes to editors
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