The UK's first Fairtrade ready meals are to go on sale later this month.
Produced by Easy Bean, the two Fairtrade bean-based one-pot products New Mexican Chilli and African Palava hotpot will go on shelf later this month in 100 Sainsbury's and selected Waitrose and John Lewis stores. Sainsbury's will also be carrying a non-Fairtrade Moroccan Tagine.
Easy Bean was founded by farmer's daughter Christina Baskerville, who revealed that the Sainsbury's listing had come about after she met CEO Justin King at an awards dinner and persuaded him to try her product.
Being awarded Fairtrade status was her company's "most prized badge of honour", she said.
"Having worked closely with the farmers in Africa and Latin America who grow the crops and having come from a farming family myself, I know how vital it is that producers receive a fair deal," she added.
The full six-strong Easy Bean range (rsp: from £2.95) is carried by Waitrose and Ocado, and also includes Indian Sambar, French Cuisinées and Spanish Puchero.
The meals were high in fibre, low in fat and salt and provided two to three of a consumer's five-a-day, said the company. They were also gluten and dairy-free.
The ready meal listing was welcomed by the Fairtrade Foundation, which said total sales of Fairtrade products rose 40% in the UK last year to £1.2bn. "Expanding into new aisles in the supermarket is great news for Fairtrade," said a spokeswoman. "Easy Bean is the first Fairtrade convenience offering."
Fairtrade bananas boom at Sainsbury’s (26 March 2011)
Aldi ups the ante with its first Fairtrade range (28 February 2011)