I first chanced upon Fairtrade products back in Singapore while shopping at the Marks & Spencer food section for quality nibbles while my mum was gallivanting within the consumer labyrinth of Parkway Parade. Being a dark chocolate (and organic produce) fan, I picked up a nicely packaged family-size bar of their in-house Organic Dark Chocolate made of 72% Cocoa Solids:
in case you can’t read the words on this badly taken photograph (courtesy of yours faithfully), here is what it reads:
from the Chocolatier:
This bar of chocolate is made from organic Fairtrade cocoa beans from Peru,Costa Rica and Panama which gives it an intense fruit flavor with slightly spicy notes.
and then I caught sight of the Fairtrade product logo which had a short description underneath it: Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers.
And if you know me well enough, you would know that I fell instantly in love with that bar of chocolate.
Here are the reasons:
1. It is Dark Chocolate!! Milk chocolates are for babies. (i am sorry for being mean here but I m protective over my dark chocolates)
2. Did you see how sleek the packaging was? and the food photography? (again, i apologize for my bad photography skills if you can’t see it) They actually took the effort to package it so much so that you could almost smell and taste the choc even before ripping the outer paper wrapper apart!
3. I love South America! Been to Costa Rica, was supposed to be in Peru this December (but would have to postpone it because of the exorbitant air ticket prices!) and I may have a slight chance of taking up a scuba diving course in Panama this Spring break! I realized that the U.S. is really dependent on South America produce and its really great because of the immense varieties of produce they cultivate..from coffee, bananas, avocados to cocoa beans!
4. A better deal for Third World Producers? I would definitely want the bulk of my consumer money to go that way rather than to the chauffeur-driven CEOs of the profiteering processed food industry. +100 for Fairtrade!
Alright,so, back to that fateful afternoon. I picked up another M&S product, this time, a Boysenberry Jam Preserve (also made with Fairtrade sugar!) which I eventually brought over to the states. Could only find this picture of a Strawberry Preserve Jam on the net:
I strongly recommend these M&S products to you (sorry to my U.S. friends, we don’t actually have M&S here do we?), especially the dark choc.
So anyways, after a really draggy introduction..here is what Fairtrade is all about:
The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.
It was created because “Development agencies recognised the important role that consumers could play to improve the situation for producers. By buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own one world shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.”
I strongly believe that consumer power is the largest power in the world. So… support Fairtrade!!=) I mean, there is no need to be excessively anal about ONLY buying Fairtrade products (though they do carry many other products beyond cocoa beans,haha) but just do look out for them on your supermarket shelf! I found a whole aisle of Fairtrade products at Meijers yesterday, pretty heartening sight.
We shape the future by the products we choose to buy and the life we choose to live. The forces of economics complement our choices, not the other way round. Check it out at: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk