The Fairtrade label, one of the world’s leading ethical labels, features on many different products. Fairtrade works directly with farmers and small-scale producers in developing countries across the world who would otherwise often be marginalised from trade. While traditional trade deals disadvantage the smallest farmers, Fairtrade ensure that their producers receive fair wages while supporting good working conditions and local sustainability in the developing world.
Businesses in the food trade can easily incorporate Fairtrade products into existing or new menus. While food procurers often look for local suppliers to support local businesses and improve environmental standards, customers love many products that the UK does not produce, and Fairtrade suppliers can obtain many of these. They include spices, bananas, coffees, teas, sugar and wines.
With its commitment to sustainability, many food producers use PSL as part of their drive towards a more ethical menu. The use of Fairtrade products can enhance the responsible nature of menus that combine ingredients sourced fairly from small farmers in the developing world with locally sourced produce. A good example could be an apple pie made with local apples and served with cream from local dairies that also has Fairtrade sugar and a pinch of Fairtrade cinnamon for added flavour.
Hoteliers and restauranteurs are becoming increasingly aware of the need to take ethical and environmental factors into account when sourcing ingredients, but this can generate concerns over extra costs. However, the issue is easy to overcome through the reputational boost that ethical standards can bring. Consumers are also becoming more aware of environmental factors, food standards and the plight of small-scale producers in the developing world and are keen to support the use of Fairtrade produce.
Along with “locally sourced” and “organic” labels, the Fairtrade label proves your commitment to ethical food procurement. The Fairtrade logo is one of the most instantly recognisable ethical labels, and you can use it on your menus to show that, for example, your after-dinner coffees and teas come from Fairtrade producers and your chocolates come from Fairtrade cocoa beans.
Consumers are also often keen to know about the origin of the food that they eat. Many Fairtrade products, including fruit, spices, rice and coffee, need to be fully traceable. Although physical traceability does not work in all sectors, the Fairtrade rules ensure that local farmers are not in any way disadvantaged by this.
Offering information on the ethical nature of ingredients is not the only label guideline that menu creators need to apply. It is also necessary to ensure the clear identification of common allergens. “What’s in My Dish?” is a service that PSL offers to help with the creation of allergen-compliant menus. Suffering from an allergy does not make a consumer any less ethically aware, so Fairtrade ingredients are best to use in dishes.
From the benefits to small farmers and their workers in the developing world to the enhanced reputation of companies that can use the Fairtrade logo, you have plenty of incentives to use Fairtrade products.