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Public ‘a-peel’ to Asda & Tesco to sell more Fairtrade bananas

19th November 2014 Print
Shoppers ask Asda to stock more Fairtrade bananas

Shoppers across the UK are calling on Asda and Tesco to prove that banana farmers and workers in the developing world are being protected from the impact of the supermarket price wars, by sourcing more Fairtrade bananas.

Tens of thousands of messages asking them to make the switch are expected to be sent to Asda and Tesco supermarkets during November, when retailers typically negotiate supplier contracts for the year ahead.

Bananas are the UK’s favourite fruit – the UK public spends over £700m eating 5 billion of them a year – yet instead of making a decent living, many banana farmers that supply the UK are struggling to get by. For instance in Ecuador, one of the UK’s biggest suppliers, only 1 in 4 families working in the banana industry earns enough to take them above the poverty line.

The UK retail price of loose bananas has almost halved over the past 10 years, while the cost of producing them has doubled . Banana farmers and workers are paying the price for the nation's cheap fruit, with many trapped in an unrelenting cycle of poverty. But retailers who source their bananas as Fairtrade can assure their customers that despite retail price wars, farmers and workers producing the fruit continue to receive agreed, transparent Fairtrade prices and premiums.

Currently, one in three bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade. Asda and Tesco are the focus of the public campaign as the two biggest sellers of bananas in the UK that still stock some non-Fairtrade bananas. In fact, both currently source less than 10% of their bananas on Fairtrade terms.

UK consumers care about the conditions faced by the farmers and workers who grow their bananas, and want an independent assurance that retailers are doing the right thing. More than eight in ten shoppers say they would pay more for their bananas if the farmers and workers who produced them benefit as a result.

A recent survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that almost two thirds of UK shoppers don't think it is good enough for retail companies to say that they are ethical, they need to prove it. When it comes to farmers and workers getting a fair deal, shoppers say they trust independent third-party certification more than retailers' own claims, with Fairtrade being the label they trust most to ensure that farmers and workers get a fair deal.

Fairtrade is the only independent assurance that banana farmers are being paid a stable price, which aims to cover the cost of sustainable production and acts as a vital safety net when prices drop, as well as an extra Fairtrade Premium and fair contracts. Farmers can invest this additional amount as they choose, in their business or in social projects that benefit their community, such as schools, new roads and clean drinking water. Fairtrade also provides an independent assurance about working conditions and rights given to farmers and workers.

Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: "It seems absurd that bananas are the UK’s most popular fruit, yet many of the people who grow them are living in poverty. This isn’t what UK consumers want - they care about the conditions faced by the people who grow our food, and they want an independent assurance that retailers are doing the right thing. That’s why members of the public are writing to Asda and Tesco, asking them to switch to Fairtrade bananas.”

Sending a message is simple – shoppers can head to and enter their details to email Asda and Tesco directly. Globally, Fairtrade works with close to 25,000 banana plantation workers and small farmers across Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, the Windward Islands, Panama, Costa Rica, Ghana and Cameroon.

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Shoppers ask Asda to stock more Fairtrade bananas