Fairtrade Fortnight is a chance to celebrate the people behind the fantastic products that we love – and Co-op has championed Fairtrade for more than 25 years. In fact, we’re the UK’s largest convenience seller of Fairtrade products, and the largest seller of Fairtrade wine in the world

Based on the principles of fairness and equality, Fairtrade stands for a better way of doing business for farmers and producers. These same values are at the heart of what we do at Co-op; that’s why we’re proud to have been a pioneering supporter of Fairtrade for so long. Fairtrade ensures sustainable livelihoods for producers — guaranteeing a Fairtrade Minimum Price for their goods, as well as an extra sum of money called a Fairtrade Premium to invest in social or environmental community projects. Fairtrade also supports producers in adapting to climate change, while its rigorous farming standards help protect the environment, managing pests, improving soil quality and reducing gas emissions.

As a co-op, we’re committed to helping the people who provide our products. In 2020, we supported the global Fairtrade community through the devastating effects of Covid-19, by providing funding to promote economic recovery and resilience initiatives. We are continually inspired by the voices and stories of our Fairtrade producers — read on for three such stories…

Marike de Peña, bananas

Marike (top) has worked with banana producers in the Dominican Republic for almost 25 years. Banana production is a full-time job, with each plant requiring weekly attention. ‘Fairtrade prices cover the costs of production, which enables farmers to take good care of natural resources,’ she says. Banana production in the Dominican Republic is located on the coast, with limited wildlife, but it’s still important to increase biodiversity and look after natural resources. ‘That’s why we protect the earth by planting cover crops and trees at the borders of the farms,’ Marike explains. ‘Through these practices, we have improved the soil and increased the presence of bees and native birds.’

Diakite Salimata, cocoa

For female cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast, social norms and cultural barriers often prevent their voices being heard. Breaking down these barriers is the idea behind the Women’s School of Leadership programme, which Co-op has committed to funding since 2017, with other partners. The initiative provides a year of training and mentorship for female cocoa farmers, on topics including gender equality, financial management and income diversification. ‘The two most important things I’ve learned are self-confidence and budget management,’ says Diakite (top, centre), a member of one Fairtrade cocoa co-operative. ‘But everything else is important, too. I apply these learnings to everything I do.’

Learn more about Fairtrade in the ethical shopping episode of our ‘In it Together’ podcast at coop.co.uk/podcast

Hugo Javier Guerrero, coffee

Hugo (above, left) is part of a coffee farming family in Peru. Along with many other key coffee producing countries, Peru is facing a climate emergency. ‘Many farmers are having problems with pests and crop diseases,’ Hugo says. ‘On lower lands, many are changing their crop from coffee to sugar cane.’ But Fairtrade is helping farmers, with agricultural training and targeted interventions. The safety net Fairtrade provides, in terms of a stable income, a fairer price for their crops and being part of a co-operative, means there is hope for farmers like Hugo. ‘I think it will always be possible to grow coffee,’ he says, ‘as long as we are conscientious in how we do things.’

Brunch salad made with Fairtrade coffee

The coffee dressing adds a subtle depth of flavour here

Serves 4 • Ready in 20 mins

  • 1 tsp Co-op Fairtrade rich roast instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp Co-op red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Co-op Irresistible Fairtrade clear honey
  • 5 tbsp Co-op olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 100g Co-op Irresistible sourdough bloomer, crusts removed
  • 8 slices Co-op Irresistible Parma ham
  • 6 Co-op vine ripened tomatoes, halved 
  • 4 Co-op British free range eggs
  • 1 little gem lettuce, leaves torn 
  • 125g bag Co-op baby spinach
  • 4 salad onions, finely shredded
  1. Make the dressing by whisking together the coffee, vinegar, honey and 4 tbsp of the olive oil.
  2. Put the sourdough in a bowl and drizzle over the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, then toss until the bread is coated in the oil.
  3. Heat a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and dry-fry the Parma ham for 1-2 mins on each side, until crisp, then set aside.
  4. Tear the bread into pieces, add to the pan and fry for 4-5 mins, to make croutons, then set aside.
  5. Brush the cut sides of the tomatoes with the extra olive oil then fry, cut-side down, for 3-4 mins, until slightly softened.
  6. Poach the eggs. While they’re cooking, toss the lettuce, spinach, salad onion and croutons in the dressing, then divide between four plates. Crumble the ham over the top and add the tomatoes. Top with the eggs, season with black pepper and serve immediately.

The big match

Wine and chocolate is this year’s wine and cheese!

  1. Co-op Irresistible Fairtrade 85% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and Co-op Fairtrade Cabernet Sauvignon The chocolate’s intense cocoa flavour is a great match for the concentrated fruit, spicy overtones and firm tannins of the wine. 
  2. Co-op Irresistible Fairtrade White Chocolate and Co-op Fairtrade Shiraz Rosé Velvety smooth and creamy notes from the chocolate subtly contrast with the delicate aroma of red fruit and blackberries in the wine.
  3. Co-op Irresistible Dark Chocolate with Orange and Co-op Fairtrade Chardonnay Zesty orange flavours in the chocolate pair beautifully with the aromas of citrus and tropical fruits in the wine.


Two new launches are joining our Fairtrade range: Co-op Irresistible Single Origin Rwandan Coffee (available as pods, ground and whole bean) and Co-op Chocolate Stick, 64g. The new coffee, sourced from the Koakaka smallholder collective in Rwanda, continues our exploration of coffee from co-operatives around the world. It features notes of milk chocolate and nougat, balanced with hints of fresh berries and maple syrup sweetness. Co-op’s support for Fairtrade coffee stems back to 1992, when we were the first retailer to start selling ethically traded Cafédirect coffee, one of the world’s first Fairtrade products. And since 2003, all our own label coffee has been Fairtrade — another first for any retailer. So look out for these incredible-quality goodies at your local Co-op, and choose Fairtrade where you can to support producers and their communities across the world.

1 Co-op Fairtrade coffee
2 Co-op Fairtrade ice cream stick