This week marks the second week of Fairtrade fortnight which this year is launching their Make Bananas Fair campaign. Bananas are the UK's most popular fruit with each of us consuming 100 per year. They are also one of the most important commodities in world trade being the fourth most important food crop after rice, wheat and maize as well as being a staple food for some 400 million people. However in Britain banana's are at the heart of the supermarket price war with one supermarket trying to undercut the rest meaning that the price of production often not being paid by British supermarkets.
We have one of the most highly concentrated grocery markets in the world with four national chains controlling 70 per cent of the market. However, only one of the 'Big Four' were given the green light by the Fairtrade foundation after research by the Ethical Consumer Research Association showed that it met an overall score of 88/100 for social, economic and environmental good practice and transparency with respect to the bananas they source. Sainsbury's, The Co-op and Waitrose scored the best with 85% or above with Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Asda coming in next with 69%, 65% and 49% and Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi trailing in behind.
So what does this mean in reality? Well what it means is that if bananas had kept in pace with a Mars bar they would now cost £2.60 a Kilo instead of 68 pence per kilo which is the current market price. Similarly a banana can be grown on the other side of the world and shipped to the UK to be sold at 11p when an apple grown in Hereford is sold for 20p. Does something sound not right to you about these figures? If like me it does to you then look for the Fairtrade logo next time you are shopping to make sure that you are paying a fair price to those you grow our favourite fruit. Banana's are full of Potassium, Vitamins A, B6 and D but remember they have a high glycemic index which makes them a great source of energy before sport but I'd just have them in small quantities if you are more of a couch potato.
Don't forget our own producers in the UK are feeling the price war squeeze too so by sustainable organic food where you can direct from the producer to really support our local economy.
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