Fairtrade Fortnight: brands ramp up activity as foundation highlights food poverty

Fairtrade Fortnight: raising the issue of food poverty
Fairtrade Fortnight: raising the issue of food poverty

Brands ranging from Waitrose and Aldi through to Cadbury and Marks & Spencer are planning a raft of activity for Fairtrade Fortnight, while the Fairtrade Foundation's own push is themed around sitting down for breakfast to support farmers who grow products such as coffee, tea, bananas and cocoa.

A multi-platform campaign run by the foundation will help promote the event, which runs from 29 February to 13 March 2016. 

Fairtrade will be using social media to promote harder hitting content telling the story of food poverty. An ad campaign will focus on London trains and tubes with a giant billboard in Holborn highlighting the issue. Over 400 around the food poverty theme are already planned across the country during the fortnight.

Nilufar Verjee, director of public engagement for the Fairtrade Foundation, said over 90% of consumers are aware of the scheme and eight out of ten consumers trust it.

"The reason for the campaign is to address the problem that the very people that grow our food are going hungry themselves. We wanted to find an easy way of connecting the UK public with those farmers in developing countries that are actually growing our food.

"We took inspiration from a Martin Luther King quote ‘before you finish eating breakfast in the morning you've depended on half the world'."

She said that consumers are continuing to buy into Fairtrade products with more than £1.5bn in annual sales per year.

"We have seen volume sales in the core commodities of coffee, bananas, tea and chocolate all increase. The other products of wine and flowers are also seeing an increase in terms of volume," she said.

The main source of information for the fortnight will be a microsite, which will tell the story of food poverty through animated HTML pages.

Two films, which will tell the story of Fairtrade farmers, will be promoted on Facebook and YouTube while a shorter version will be available on Twitter. One video, below, shows the Blandón family and their coffee farm in Columbia.

Fairtrade will also use Instagram to target a younger demographic with a 15-second film that connects people’s typical morning breakfasts with the farmers that make those breakfasts possible. Hashtag #FairtradeFortnight will pull together user generated content.

The campaign also has celebrity backing from chef, broadcaster and writer Allegra McEvedy and Aggie MacKenzie, the TV presenter from Channel 4 series 'How Clean Is Your House'.

There are now more than 5,000 products that carry the Fairtrade mark in the UK. The scheme guarantees a minimum rate for products allowing farmers a sustainable living.

What is being done to support Fairtrade Fortnight:



Aldi is supporting the fortnight with the launch of its own women's and men's Fairtrade cotton T-Shirts. Core products such as instant coffee, chocolate, tea and bananas are being promoted along with special items including South African wine with Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc and Fairtrade Shiraz Merlot, both priced at £4.99.

Point-of-sale material will promote the fortnight in a range of supermarkets including M&S, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Waitrose.

Waitrose is also offering 20% off on some Fairtrade products and will also be offering various money-off promotions across selected Fairtrade teas, coffees, chocolates, sugars and wines.

The Co-operative will also be offering promotions on Fairtrade products. There will be in-store support with all eight core Fairtrade categories highlighted with POS as well as in-store radio and till screen displays.

Coffee On the Go

Retailers Starbucks, Greggs, Wild Bean Cafe, KFC, AMT, Esquires Coffee, Pelican Rouge are all supporting the fortnight. Wild Bean Cafe will have a digital screen poster for up to 10 seconds for every two minutes in every venue, and posters in store. Starbucks is supporting the drive with posters in every workplace and university sites.

Divine Chocolate:
Divine Chocolate, the brand which is 44% owned by cocoa farmers, will have pop-ups across the UK promoting the chocolate. It will also highlight its way of doing business that empowers farmers and consumers.


Percol Coffee:
Percol coffee will announce a project, in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, on deepening the impact for coffee farmers in Nicaragua. It funds training for coffee farmers in Guatemala whose crops have been affected by the 'la roya' fungus.


Product launches:
New Fairtrade products will be launched including the UK’s first Fairtrade and organic coconut milk – Ma’s Happy Life Kitchen – and Fairtrade beer - Little Valley's Ginger Pale Ale.


Fairtrade Breakfast Event:
TV presenters Laura Jackson and Alice Levine, who run Jackson&Levine supper club, will be hosting the Big Fairtrade Breakfast in London on Monday 29 Feb.

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