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Banana price war: Buy Fairtrade

October 9, 2009

This is like reading the funeral rites for Caribbean farmers. We already can’t cope, not with input and fertiliser prices as they are. Starving mouths, hungry bellies, and wasted lives will be the legacy.

(Windward Island farmers spokesperson)

With our less ethical supermarkets (Asda, Tesco, Aldi etc) signing up to a price war on bananas, it looks like the producers will find themselves in seriously financial trouble. When you’re surviving on a subsistance wage any cut, however small, means your children don’t get medical care, can’t go to school, won’t get fed properly.

Bananas, like bread and milk, are grocery staples and as such are the first port of call for any supermarket looking to squeeze their competition. While supermarkets always claim to be taking a hit on their profit margins in creating these Loss-Leaders, experience shows that price cuts are passed onto producers. Price wars reduce the price only temporarily as these are obviously unsustainable – but for the growers the effects are long-lasting.

Really, how tight are UK customers that they would grab cut-price bananas to save 50p on their weekly shop – we have free education, healthcare – banana producers and their families do not.

BUY ETHICAL: Show supermarkets you care about others

Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, M&S – all supermarkets with a good track record in ethical sourcing and selling  (see The Rough Guide to Food for evidence of this) – offer affordable Fairtrade bananas. The Fairtrade Foundation says: ‘the Foundation has commended Waitrose and Sainsbury’s for the scale of their commitment to Fairtrade, and Sainsbury’s saw overall banana sales grow by 10% following their 100% conversion to Fairtrade.’

Buy Fairtrade to help protect the livelihoods of growers.

Banana Split: where your money goes (Source: BananaLink, October 2009)

  • 40% of the retail price of bananas goes to supermarkets
  • 2% to producers

– Does this sound fair to you?

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Read The Rough Guide to Food for more on ethical food and supermarkets (and bananas).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    December 1, 2009 1:40 pm

    I was really enjoying your blog…don’t stop!

    • fooddigest permalink*
      December 2, 2009 11:48 pm

      Hi Emily

      Glad you like the blog.

      Not stopped – as such – just snowed under with other work! New blogs coming up: ‘The New Vegetarians?’

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