Fairtrade supply gets nuttier

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supply and demand Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Foundation aims to boost the amount of Fairtrade certified fruit and nuts and intermediate ingredients for UK manufacturers of compound products such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream and ready meals.

Mark Varney, business development director at the Fairtrade Foundation, said Fairtrade certified supplies were stronger in commodity areas such as sugar and cocoa. But he recognised that more needed to be done to broaden the Fairtrade supply chain.

"There are many manufacturers of more simple commodities, but we don't really have many intermediate suppliers," said Varney. "Our aim is to supply compound manufacturers with a number of specialist Fairtrade ingredients. Our immediate goal is to have this across fruit and nuts." Building supplies would give manufacturers more choice, more security and better deals, he said.

Other areas of Fairtrade ingredients were also growing, he said. One sector that was performing particularly well in supplying a wider range of components was the sugar. "Renshawnapier has developed a range to supply compound manufacturers with a number of specialist ingredients."

Renshawnapier was created by the merger of Renshaw with Napier Brown Foods last year and supplies marzipans, ready-to-roll icings, baking chocolate and jam to major cake manufacturers, bakers, retailers and specialist sugarcraft firms.

It would take time to develop a Fairtrade supply base to adequately cater for processors of more complex ingredient mixes, said Varney. "The more processed you get, the more time it takes. If you are converting a cereal bar, cake or ice cream to the Fairtrade label they will contain multiple commodities, sometimes several different types of ingredient to get the profile you are seeking."

He said there was a definite demand for Fairtrade ingredients beyond basic commodities. "Fairtrade ingredients exist for producers of a range of products, from ice cream to colas, just in fairly low quantities."

Talks were ongoing with suppliers and manufacturers, but no more high-profile wins were imminent, he added.

l See feature p29.

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