Day 5 – The importance of Fair Trade & Organic

Day 5 – The importance of Fair Trade & Organic

As quinoa matures in its market cycle becoming more plentiful and well known, consumers are beginning to take notice of different options they have: conventional, organic, fair trade.  Up until now price-wise all were mostly equal.  But now that Peru’s cheaper agro-chemical industrial farmed quinoa has flooded the market, buyers are taking note of these differences.  I talked ot my local co-op bulk buyer about this the other day.  Here’s what he had to say…

The co-op can tolerate some price fluctuations in the quinoa and prefers organic and fair trade options over conventional quinoa thought at different rates and for different reasons. The buyer believes his quinoa consumers in particular are very health conscious and will purposely seek out organic quinoa. He also feels that the product’s taste, it being an alternative to gluten and not containing arsenic (which gluten free rice sometimes has) also makes it appealing to his customers. Because of this, the co-op buyer believes he can tolerate a 33% to 50% price difference for a conversional versus organic quinoa variety meaning that even when conventional quinoa becomes available on the market (UNFI the supplier, does not currently carry conventional quinoa), unless it is heavily discounted, it will not be worthwhile for the co-op to purchase it. However, the buyer speculates that if there was an influx of much cheaper non organic quinoa in the market, he might carry some in lieu of the slower selling quinoa varieties he currently carries such as the black quinoa which he sells the least of.

 

Andean Naturals supports Fair Trade certified quinoa.

Andean Naturals supports Fair Trade certified quinoa.

Fair Trade, the co-op buyer feels, is a bit of a harder sell because of the lack of clarity as to what Fair Trade actually is and who is upholding the principles the best. He notes that though people are aware of the quality of life of others, what is most important to them is the quality of their food. Because of this, he fees he can accommodate a 10% price difference for an organic Fair Trade quinoa option (which does not exist in bulk quinoa yet) but would also have to have more literature or information explaining the Fair Trade difference in a more transparent way.

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