Adding Value to Fair Trade
The environment in which we operate as a producer and marketer of organic and fair trade products has significantly changed. We are confronted by greater competition, often times from bigger players that have larger budgets they can spend on outreach programs and promotions targeting consumers. This being said, the offering of organic and fair trade products on the Canadian market has increased and the choice to buy one of our products is no longer as automatic as it was a few years ago. The environment is challenging us and, like many other players in the field, we have had to rethink our strategy to better differentiate ourselves. It has become more important to define our vision of fair trade among the growing number of companies entering the fair trade market. This has been and remains an exciting time.
For La Siembra, this meant product diversification. The first innovative category we branched out to: Baking ingredients with our Cuisine Camino line. You have likely seen its new addition this fall, shredded coconut. This new product fully satisfies our vision of fair trade. The product answers all certification requirements by Transfair Canada, and in addition, this product is transformed in its country of origin, in this case, by ACOPAGRO, a co-operative in Peru. We take pride in doing our very best to develop products that support manufacturing of products in their country of origin. This means that certain steps within the production chain that might have been completed in Canada or in other industrialized countries before can now be accomplished in Southern countries. We think twice and take into account these operational opportunities when selecting new products for development and, we evaluate which new products have the potential to increase the value retained by the communities of family farmers with which we work. Other recent Camino products that fully support our vision are our Whole brown sugar (Muscovado), transformed and packaged by CEPICAFE as well as our three Baking chocolate bars, transformed and packaged by Naranjillo, both co-operatives of family farmers in Peru.
In order to facilitate our positioning in this changed environment, as shows the example of the Cuisine Camino banking line, we are returning to our days of being a pioneer in the development of alternatives in innovative or non traditional product categories for organic and fair trade product offerings.
To all of you who are and have been loyal to the Cocoa Camino brand, you may have noticed that since this fall, we have been transitioning from Cocoa Camino to Camino. We are working on the development of new products that will gradually expand outside the realm of cocoa and sugar and regrouping all of these under the brand name Camino. You have probably already seen our new look and feel in stores: colourful and representative of the vibrant sustainable communities that we contribute to building through fair trade practices.
And, this is how we have chosen to move forward with our vision. It is exciting to see the fair trade market grow as more companies choose to step up their game. In the meantime, we hope our new look and feel calls upon you from store shelves and we hope your taste buds enjoy our new products. Happy tasting.
Jennifer Larocque is the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Camino brand owned by La Siembra co-operative.