The Co-operative Food is celebrating 10 years of Fairtrade Mark wines this year, and, to mark the occasion, the retailer is encouraging shoppers to take the ‘Fairtrade Wine Challenge’ by trying one of the wines from its delicious, market-leading Fairtrade wine range.
To encourage customers to take the Fairtrade Challenge, and choose a Fairtrade wine rather than their usual selection, the community-based retailer is offering 20% off selected Fairtrade wines from 24 February to 11 March inclusive to coincide with this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (24 February-9 March).
The Co-operative, which claims to have led the way in the development of Fairtrade, is the UK’s largest retailer of Fairtrade wine, selling 52.5% of all Fairtrade wine sold in the UK. It has also been recognised as the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade wine by The Fairtrade Foundation – accounting for 28% of global Fairtrade wine sales. Over the last 10 years, The Co-operative has sold 35m bottles of Fairtrade wine.
Andrew Mann, customer director, The Co-operative Food, said: “We are encouraging shoppers to take the Fairtrade Wine Challenge this year and get behind Fairtrade Fortnight by trying one of our 17 own-brand Fairtrade wines, instead of one of their regular wine purchases or even one of their favourites. We are confident that they will be impressed by the choice and the quality of these fantastic, new world wines from Argentina, South Africa and Chile.
“To gain a place in our range, the wines, which are selected by our specialist Fairtrade wine buyer, must compete directly in terms of quality with wines which are not Fairtrade certified. The good news is that the quality of Fairtrade wines in general has improved massively over the years, and we are now at the point where they represent excellent quality and value for money in their own right. The added bonus is that they offer a fair price and a social premium to the growers. By encouraging customers to try them at this important time in the Fairtrade calendar, we hope they will see for themselves the quality and appeal of these wines.
“We are immensely proud of our market-leading Fairtrade wine range. Sales continue to go from strength to strength, and 2013 was the most successful year to date for Fairtrade wine.”
The Co-operative introduced the first own-brand Fairtrade Mark wine in 2004, and has since ploughed £2.5 million in social premiums (almost half of which have been provided by The Co-operative as an additional voluntary contribution) back to the growers in the developing countries that produce Fairtrade wine. Notable projects which have been funded by sales of Fairtrade wine, include the building of a secondary school in Tilimuqui, Argentina, and a crèche and medical centre at the Du Toitskloof wine co-operative in the Western Cape of South Africa.
As part of Fairtrade Fortnight activity, The Co-operative is taking two representatives from the La Riojana Fairtrade wine project in Tilimuqui, Argentina, on a whistle-stop tour of the UK to highlight the benefits of Fairtrade to growers and communities producers in the developing world.
Daniela Cedron comes from a family who have been growing grapes for La Riojana since its establishment in 1940, and works for La Riojana’s export department, where she has witnessed the birth of Fairtrade and the impact that it has had on the winery and the local communities. Luisa Bordon is head teacher of Colegio Nacional Agrotecnico, a secondary school in Tilimuqui, which is attended by children of La Riojana’s workers and growers. The school was built with the Fairtrade premium and additional funding from The Co-operative.
The Fairtrade producer tour will take in over 25 locations from Stirling to Swansea in just 14 days, visiting schools, universities and Co-operative members’ events. The tour is designed to inspire audiences to support Fairtrade by hearing first-hand from La Riojana’s producers about the impact of Fairtrade and The Co-operative’s additional support in their communities.
Audience members will be able to sample food and juice from The Co-operative’s Fairtrade product range, a selection of which will also have up to 20% off to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, with those over 18 years of age being able to taste a selection of the retailer’s Fairtrade wines.