In 2007 ActionAid launched their Who Pays? report, which detailed how the growing power of UK supermarkets perpetuates, or even worsens, poor conditions for the people who produced our food. Their report revealed job insecurity, longer hours and less pay for Costa Rican banana plantation workers and poverty-level wages and poor health conditions for Indian cashew nuts shellers. So, has anything changed?
Well, not really. In 2013, Liz May, head of policy at Traidcraft, which helps fight poverty through trade, stated: ‘Farmers and workers across the world are suffering every day because of unfair trading practices by supermarkets’. In 2017, the FAO’s World Banana Forum Secretariat conceded that banana production is still more about price than working conditions. But according to top market research firms, Mintel and Neilsen, there is hope.
Mintel listed ‘complete and total transparency’ as one of the key food and drink trends for 2018. This follows on from Neilsen’s research showing that consumers increasingly wanted to know their food was produced ethically and sustainably – and being prepared to pay more for this. Unsurprisingly then, ethical and environmental claims are on the rise across food packaging. But paying more at the till doesn’t always mean farmers and workers get more.
Although sales of Fairtrade labelled products have reached almost £2bn, undoubtedly improving the terms of trade for farmers able to join such schemes, the real winners remain the supermarkets. This is because supermarkets get a higher percentage of the final price customers pay and so get even more money for Fairtrade products which can be priced higher. The World Bank estimates the divergence between the increased price consumers pay for Fairtrade products and the price producers actually received has been over $100bn globally. So, how can consumers ensure farmers and producers of their food get a fair deal?
Well, there are fantastic brands such as Liberation Nuts and Divine Chocolate, both of which are co-owned by their producers. But, these brands still must cede an enormous amount - usually 40% - to supermarkets. Therefore, at Storimarket, we’ve set up an online marketplace where you can buy directly from small farmers and producers in Africa. By cutting out the middlemen, the producer gets at least double what they would have got through supermarkets. This allows them to continue to farm in a way that is good for the environment and their community, whilst growing their business.
Storimarket is a website that allows you to buy direct from smallholder farmers and ethical food producers in Africa. This not only betters their lives, but allows them to continue to farm in a way that is good for the environment and their community. That’s why we say that Storimarket products don’t just taste good, they do good too! Right now, we have healthy, ethical snack boxes immediately available, including tasty chocolate-covered cacao beans from Uganda and, both from Kenya, nutritious macadamia nuts and delicious dried mango. Use the discount code ‘AFRICA’ to get 10% off your first order.