Waitrose is selling the first Fairtrade baked beans, produced by Geo Organics from white kidney beans grown by farmers in China.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, the beans come from farmers who belong to the Jurihe/Zhaluteqi Nature Village Farmer Association, based in one of China’s poorest rural regions of Tong Liao City in Inner Mongolia.
The Fairtrade-certified co-operative is made up of 39 farmers who farm around 2,000 hectares and produce 3,000 tonnes a year of pulses, including the white kidney beans.
Ashish Deo, commercial director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “It’s great to see the Fairtrade family of products continue to grow and Fairtrade pioneers like Geo Organics support a group of Fairtrade farmers who are among the most marginalised in the world. One of the Fairtrade’s key objectives is to make Fairtrade the norm and what better way than by introducing a Fairtrade version of firm UK favourite.”
The group has been Fairtrade certified since 2009, for pulses, soybeans and peanuts. Liu Gui Hai, chair of the co-operative said: “We have invested the social premium in building a well for the village which helps the farmers greatly.”
Mike Batten, who founded the Geo Organics brand with his wife Tracey, said: ‘It’s been great watching the product evolve and working with Waitrose, who really know this product category and are stocking the Fairtrade Baked Beans in all their stores. I want to encourage British shoppers to give Fairtrade baked beans a try. This is an everyday item that will really make a difference to the lives of Mongolian bean producers.”