Fairtrade Ingredients: Save or Splurge?

Hi everyone! I’m taking a brief break from dissertation work to write up this little post that I’ve planning for a little while now. Due to the amount of work I have at the minute and also the fact that I’ve given up a number of my favourite things to eat (all unhealthy, naturally but such is the curse of being a sweet-tooth), I thought I’d tackle something a bit ‘deeper’ with this post. As some of you may know, this fortnight, beginning yesterday, is Fairtrade Fortnight, which is a cause that I’ve always been passionate about. However, before all you students give up on me because Fairtrade is too expensive, that’s exactly what I want to discuss. I’m a huge supporter of Fairtrade, but I’m also the first to admit that, as a student, I don’t really use Fairtrade ingredients. I’ve been under the impression, perhaps falsely, since I joined uni that Fairtrade food is just too expensive for a limited student budget (plus they don’t make pot noodles so…). It was only when I was doing a food shop a while back for a birthday bake for my friend that I realised that a lot of supermakets now sell Fairtrade stuff that’s their own brand. This made me realise that maybe it’s more affordable than I thought, hence the idea for this blog post.

When I was in my younger teenage years, I used to love reading those sections in the fashion pages in magazines that had ‘Save’ and ‘Splurge’/ ‘Spend’ options for various clothing items. I don’t know if anyone else remembers them, or if they even still do those sections, but I thought I’d borrow the idea to see which ingredients you can ‘save’ on and still buy Fairtrade and which you’d have to ‘splurge’ on to support Fairtrade. There’s loads of products I could have looked at for this, but I decided to just look some basic ingredients that you’d use all the time in the interest of getting some dissertation work done today. For the full list of products you can buy from the Fairtrade foundation itself, see this website, or buying from Traidcraft stalls or their website is great too.  For Fairtrade foods in the supermarket, look for the Fairtrade symbol (the same as on the cover photo for this post). It’s also worth saying that, on the Sainsbury’s online groceries website, you can search for Fairtrade foods under the ‘Dietary and Lifestyle options’ tab when you search for a food item.

Sugar- Save!

Sugar bag and cubes

A 1kg bag of white caster sugar from Sainsbury’s own brand costs £1.35. Sainsbury’s own Fairtrade caster sugar costs £1.50- I don’t know about you but I’d say that’s worth it for 15p!

Cocoa Powder- Spend!

Sainsbury’s own cocoa powder costs £2 for 250g, and Cadbury’s Bournville costs £2.90 for the same amount. This may seem like a lot but actually I usually get the Bournville one anyway as I love the taste of it!

Tea- Save!


Sainsbury’s Fairtrade tea bags are only £3 for 240! There’s really no excuses here as they’re actually the cheapest in the shop too. You can also get loads of great teas, in all different flavours, on the Traidcraft website here.

Fruit- Save!

You can get loads of different fruits that are Fairtrade- I know Sainsbury’s bananas are Fairtrade and the cheapest they have that are in a pack, but I hate bananas so I won’t be supporting Fairtrade by buying them! I searched for pineapple, which is one of my favourites and the good news is that it’s only 25p more for a Fairtrade pineapple.

Chocolate- Save or Splurge!

Chocolate blue

Sainsbury’s does own brand Fairtrade chocolate for own brand prices, but a lot of Cadbury’s is now Fairtrade and of course you can’t forget Divine chocolate! As any of you who have been reading this blog will know, I’m a huge fan of all their products, which you can find listed here, several of which made it into my ‘Top 10 Chocolate Bars’ blog post before Christmas.

Easter Eggs- Bit of a seasonal one here, but some of the best Easter eggs I’ve ever had are Fairtrade ones! The Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference ones are Fairtrade and very amazing, and the Divine ones are, well, divine (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist!).

I could go on listing products for ages, but the fact is that it’s really not all that expensive to shop a little more Fairtrade- I hope it’s inspired some of you to reach for a Fairtrade product every now and again, at the very least it’s inspired me too. It’s such an important cause and every day we’re cutting out people in poverty in favour of a product that will save us the odd 50p. If you’re feeling inspired, or even that you need a little more inspiration to be persuaded into buying Fairtrade products, I’d encourage you all to have a look at the mini-website for Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd Feb- 8th March), which also has on it a really powerful video about the work that this foundation does. Check this out here. I truly believe in this cause and not just within this fortnight, so I hope I’ve convinced some of you to support this, I know I will be making more of an effort to.


If you have any comments or questions about this post, or about the foundation, feel free to comment and as usual, I’ll be happy to answer as best I can!


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