Fair trade products are not limited to purely raw materials but can also involve other types like composite products. We all know that coffee, flour, rice, sugar and tea are considered as purely fair trade products. They can also include processed food like biscuits, chocolate and ice cream, among many other processed foods. The main reason is that these processed foods contain products that can be certified as fairtrade.
Composite fair trade clothing and products are allowed not only for the reason stated above but because it also helps in diversifying the business. It also helps producers earn more income through new business opportunities. Because not all consumers buy raw products by introducing processed foods the choice of consumers are greatly increased. Thus when consumers eventually assimilate these new products as part of their purchasing habits, the producers are able to gain more profits.
Composite Fair Trade Definition
There are three main requirements in order for composite fair trade products to obtain the needed certification:
- If ALL of the ingredients of the processed food can be certified, then it has to be certified.
- If ALL of the ingredients are not suitable for certification, the product can still obtain certification provided that more than half of the ingredients are supplied by produces that are certified as fair trade.
- A product can still be certified even if the certified ingredient accounts for less than half of the product. The condition being that the ingredients with a fairtrade label must be above 20% of the dry weight of the product. An example of this would be a juice drink where the juice is 25% and the rest are water or a biscuit where 28% of the flour used to make it, is classified as Fairtrade.
Fair Trade Certification
At this time there remains the question of whether the level of requirements is satisfactory. One sector argues that the levels should be made higher in order to provide better protection to the fairtrade certification. The other sector on the other hand claims that the levels are already high and they should be lowered in order to certify more products and create additional business opportunities for the producers. There has been no final decision made and the policy on composite fair trade products remain on review with consultations continuously being made.
Whatever the decision may be, those in the fair trade movement know that it will be done for the benefit of everyone.