Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with these 20 fantastic Fairtrade products
For Fairtrade Fortnight (27th Feb - 12th Mar), we’ve tested 20 Fairtrade products, from drinks and snacks to toiletries, accessories and even clothing. Find our favourites below.
We’ve all heard of Fairtrade products, but how many of us actually check to make sure the items we bring into our lives are ethically produced?
As the climate crisis worsens, it’s becoming more important than ever to put our money towards sustainably produced items so we can continue enjoying them for years to come. By opting for products with the Fairtrade logo, we support communities using fair and sustainable working practices.
This Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 27 February to 12 March, we’ve reviewed some of the best Fairtrade products you can buy and use every day, from tea, coffee and snacks to toiletries and clothing. Scroll down to find your new favourite items!
'Fairtrade' products display the Fairtrade mark, which shows the item has been produced in line with the international Fairtrade standards.
The Fairtrade Foundation works with companies to make sure they support sustainable working conditions, fair working practices and decent wages.
Find out more on the Fairtrade Foundation website.
20 Fairtrade products to try this fortnight
Suki English Breakfast Tea
Before you even crack into Suki’s tea bags, you can’t fail to notice the sustainable packaging. Both the tea pyramids and the transparent inner bag are compostable in home food waste bins, while the recyclable outer box is made from sustainably sourced cardboard and printed with veg-based inks. No need to put anything in landfill.
Tea lovers should find these bags have a pleasantly familiar taste with a classic flavour profile, which makes for easy drinking. A great ethical alternative to standard supermarket brands.
Sainsbury's Lady Rose Infused Earl Grey Tea
- Buy now from Sainsbury's (£2.00)
Sainsbury’s has tweaked the traditional Earl Grey tea recipe by adding a hint of rose alongside bergamot and hibiscus in these Taste The Difference bags. The makers have used natural flavourings to create a deep, aromatic taste with definite floral notes.
Disappointingly, the foil bag inside the cardboard box isn’t recyclable, but it packs in the 50 compostable tea bags efficiently to make use of the space.
We’ve reviewed lots of other Earl Greys - find our favourites in our round-up of the best Earl Grey tea bags to buy.
Grumpy Mule Colombia Organic Ground Coffee
Given that 47% of all Fairtrade farmers produce coffee, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to selecting ethically farmed blends. Grumpy Mule, based in the Yorkshire village of Balham, is characterised by its punchy orange and black packaging.
This Colombia blend – ‘for those who like the darker side of life’ - has a ⅘ strength rating, but it’s actually the sweetest and least bitter of the coffees in this list, which makes it my personal favourite.
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It’s mildly acidic and not super smooth, but there’s a delicious nutty aftertaste to every sip.
Cafe Direct Machu Picchu Ground Coffee
The low acidity and smooth flavour of this Machu Picchu blend makes it another top scorer on this list. It’s semi-sweet, although not as sweet as the Grumpy Mule coffee, and has dark chocolate overtones – as the packaging says.
This blend is also another great option if you want to support an ethical brand, as it’s given £30 million to its growers in the past 30 years.
Co-op Sumatran Fairtrade Coffee
- Buy now from Amazon (£4.35)
Did you know Co-op was the very first UK retailer to fully convert to Fairtrade coffee back in 2003?
This is a blend for dark coffee lovers, and there’s no denying it’s a rich one. The grounds and the resulting coffee are deeper in colour than others I tried, and have a distinctly bitter flavour, too.
I found that this this roast has a mild acidity, so it’s one for coffee lovers who like their brew strong and vibrant. For everyone else, there are Co-op’s light and medium roasts, and a decaffeinated blend for post-lunch cuppas.
Karma’s selection of Fairtrade drinks includes cola and ginger ale, as well as orange, raspberry and ‘lemony’ lemonade. It even makes a sugar-free cola for anyone watching their sugar intake.
The charming characters and colourful graphics on each bottle and can are an instant mood-booster, and it’s great to discover Karma gives 1% of its revenue to its cola nut growers in Sierra Leone.
As for the cola – if you’re searching for a resemblance to the market-leading brand you’ll probably be disappointed, but non-devotees might enjoy this drink in its own right.
It’s got no preservatives or anything artificial, and has a slightly oaky smell and a smoky aftertaste. One to try if you’re looking for a new, ethically produced soft drink.
Gusto Organic Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu Drink
Pretty packaging is the first big plus point for this fizzy drink, made with Sicilian lemons. Thanks to the added yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, this drink has a strong zesty flavour, more intense and less artificial than other lemonades on the market.
It’s also fairly fizzy and seems sweeter than some other alternatives without relying on artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives.
A perfect choice for summer picnics and garden parties when you want something a bit special.
Cocoa Loco Organic Dark Chocolate Cookies
- Buy now from Abel & Cole (£3.60)
As well as being Fairtrade-certified, Cocoa Loco’s cookies are made using green energy and packaged in recyclable and compostable materials. The brand uses organic cocoa grown in gaps in the rainforest canopy, as opposed to large pre-cut areas, and limits its waste to one household bin per week.
The cookies themselves are more crumbly than chewy, and just chocolate-y enough to taste delicious without being too rich. In fact, for me, the dark chocolate flavour puts them slightly above the sugary sweet cookies you get at supermarket bakeries.
The bag also earns bonus points as it has a wire strip at the opening, so you can fold it back down and tuck in the tabs to keep the rest of the cookies fresh – if you can resist eating them all in one go.
Cocoa Loco Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar
- Buy now from Not On The High Street (£3.49)
Already a Cocoa Loco fan from the dark chocolate cookies, I was excited to try the brand’s organic and vegan sea salt dark chocolate bar. The packaging promises a ‘sumptuous’, ‘subtle’ and ‘intriguing’ snack, so expectations were high.
It’s made with 72% dark chocolate and the salty flavour is indeed subtle, but adds an edge of sweetness. Perhaps not one for dark chocolate purists but great if you fancy something a bit different.
I also like how you can peek through the window on the back of the box to see the chocolate bar inside. As an added bonus, you can recycle the cardboard and compost the inner bag.
Co-op GRO Gianduja Chocolate Bar
- Buy now from Amazon
Having tried Co-op GRO’s vegan Incredible Burger and dairy-free ice cream in the past, I was interested to see how its chocolate compares to other brands - and it does compare well. It’s got a fairly unusual taste with an intense nutty flavour thanks to the 20% hazelnut gianduja paste. Think chocolate spread but stronger.
The texture is noticeably softer than you get in other bars and buttery smooth – probably best enjoyed as an occasional treat rather than all at once.
Plus, it’s vegan and the packaging is completely recyclable.
Tony's Chocolonely Milk Brownie Bar
- Buy now from Ocado (£3.50), Tesco (£3.50) and Waitrose (£3.50)
The first thing you notice about this chunky chocolate bar is its impressive weight. At 180g compared to the usual 90g or 100g you’d get in other bars, this option has some serious heft.
It’s the result of a collaboration between Tony’s Chocolonely and ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, and as a staunch supporter of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, I was keen to see how this dark milk brownie bar compares.
Firstly, the brand’s unique chocolate mould featuring its logo gives the bar instant style points when you open up the wrapper. Rather than snap into uniform cubes, the sections break apart in a jumble of shapes and sizes, so you’ll get something different each time.
The bar itself is rich but not too sweet compared to other milk chocolate, and the brownie pieces are crumbly rather than chewy. It’s a tasty option if you’re after something indulgent.
Tony’s Chocolonely’s mission is to make chocolate production ‘100% slave-free’, and it currently gives over 9% of its bars’ retail price to cocoa farmers.
Green & Black's Organic Smooth Chocolate Bars
- Buy chocolate bar from Green & Black's (£1.99)
- Buy mint bar from Green & Black's (£1.99), Amazon (£2.15)
With its delicious bars, Easter eggs and hot chocolate powder, Green & Black’s is another industry front-runner in my eyes. These vegan Fairtrade bars are made with 50% cocoa, so they’re similar to the dark milk chocolate you can get from other brands. They’d be a perfect middle ground for kids or anyone new to dark chocolate.
As you’d expect from Green & Black’s, these bars are indeed smooth. The mint version has instant flavour and a refreshing taste, and stacks up well next to other minty chocolate you can buy (and I’ve tried a lot).
These bars score 10/10 for me – I can’t find fault with them.
Guylian Seashells Boxed Chocolates
Discovering Guylian chocolates are Fairtrade was a particular high point for me during the process of writing this article.
The brand combines West-African cocoa with Mediterranean hazelnuts to achieve its familiar and oh-so more-ish praline flavour, and you can’t fail to be impressed by the beautiful marbled shells neatly presented inside the box.
Anyone who’s had Guylian chocolates before will know just how delicious these pretty shells are: velvety smooth with a true hazelnut flavour. A real treat, and perfect for gifting.
According to the makers, the packaging is 100% recyclable – another big plus in our eyes – although it’s not clear whether the outer film is home-compostable.
Quinola White & Red Express Quinoa
The eye-catching imagery on Quinola’s packaging makes it one of the more beautiful food pouches you can buy – but there’s lots more to admire about this product.
Primarily, it’s easy to prepare – while lots of pouches are designed just for microwave use, I was pleased to see Quinola’s cooking instructions included pan-frying. You can even eat the quinoa straight from the pack, making it a convenient choice for taking on hikes and camping trips.
As you’d expect, the flavour is fairly subtle, but I was happy to eat the quinoa on its own as a quick nutritious snack, and as a side-dish for hot meals. The pack has enough to cover a few portions and lasts up to three days in the fridge.
Zaytoun Caramelised Almonds
- Buy now from Amazon (£9.98)
Anyone with a sweet tooth will know just how delicious caramelised nuts can be. As someone who never misses an opportunity to grab a bag from Christmas markets every December, I had high expectations – and these certainly don’t disappoint.
Whereas some caramelised nuts include spices or savoury flavours, these ones are deliciously sweet, with just enough caramel to give them a satisfying crunch.
There’s nothing to really dislike about this product – other than perhaps its addictiveness!
Earth Conscious Natural Deodorant Stick
- Buy now from &Keep (£7.00)
This natural deodorant has lots to recommend it: it’s vegan, cruelty-free and contains no aluminium, parabens or carcinogens. Plus, it comes in plastic-free, recyclable packaging.
Rather than block your sweat glands, this deodorant lets your body remove toxins naturally and instead covers the body odour.
Although the balm feels silky and smooth on the skin, it doesn’t dry completely, so the packaging warns you to use it sparingly. But the lavender and tea tree scent is divine and I soon forgot I was wearing anything other than my usual deodorant.
When you need a little more of the stick, you can press the cardboard tube from the bottom to push it up. I did have a bit of trouble keeping it in place when applying pressure as it kept popping back down into the tube, but I found I could avoid this by continuing to push up from the inside.
Earth Conscious’s full range includes a wide variety of deodorant scents, including mint, jasmine and rose and grapefruit and lemon. There’s even an unscented version.
Mumanu Organic Lip Balm
£8 is more than I’d usually spend on a lip balm, but Mumanu’s recyclable packaging and organic ingredients make it well worth a try. I was hit by the delicious spearmint fragrance as soon as I popped off the lid, and I was impressed to see the thickness of the lip balm inside – wider than all the high-street versions I’ve ever tried.
The makers have included beeswax, as well as shea and cocoa butter, so it’s no surprise the balm feels velvety soft. It’s pleasantly oilier than standard lip balms, and seems to stay in place longer too.
Plus, the tube is completely recyclable – even the plastic-looking outer sleeve is made from compostable cellulose. This one’s a real winner for me.
Fair Squared Hand Cream
- Buy olive scent from eBay (£9.26), Ethical Superstore (£10.45)
As a perennial dry-hands sufferer, a good hand cream always has a place in my bag.
This one is certified Fairtrade and organic, and is produced without animal testing. Plus, it’s free from harmful phthalates, triclosan, parabens and SLS, so you can avoid many of the nasties you’ll find in other toiletries.
This is a thick cream with a subtle olive fragrance, best suited to anyone with particularly dry or cracked hands. While it’s not overly oily, it does take a while to be absorbed, so it would also work well as part of a nighttime skincare routine, giving rich moisturisation overnight.
I tested the sample sachets, but buy the full-size version and you’ll get a recyclable glass jar and a metal lid, ethically made in Germany.
Thought Clothing Organic Cotton Breton Top
- Buy now from Thought (£39.95)
First impressions: this top is made with a lovely thick fabric, which is a fairly unusual feature for women’s tees. It hangs well and tucks nicely into trousers and skirts. Also, despite being mostly white, it doesn’t show up light-coloured underwear underneath – a big tick.
The boxy fit and dropped shoulders gives it a fresh, modern look, while the classic Breton stripes and three-quarter-length sleeves make it a perfect everyday staple. I’ll be wearing this a lot.
For other thick women’s T-shirts, try Arket’s organic Heavyweight tee or Cos’s organic long-sleeved and short-sleeved tees.
Turtle Bags Organic Cotton Long-Handled String Bag
- Buy now from &Keep (£6.75)
For a bag made of string, this little carrier is surprisingly sturdy. It’s perfect for storing fruits and veg on the weekly shop, but the long handles and deceptively large size also mean it can double as an everyday tote.
Going to work, it coped with my laptop, lunch and all the day-to-day essentials I’d usually carry, and left enough room in the handles to let me sling it comfortably over the shoulder.
The orange might have some people reaching for their sunnies, but you can buy this bag in lots of different tones, including bottle green, dark blue and black. Alternatively, grab the natural version in versatile creamy beige if you’re after something subtle.
Drawing on a love of gardening and countryside walks, Alice works across Countryfile and Gardens Illustrated magazines to find and review the very best products for life in the great outdoors.
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