Industry comment

Fairtrade Fortnight 2022

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As part of our commitment to ethical farming and trade, this month we’re looking at what we believe is one of the most important events in the food industry calendar, happening this year from 21st February – 6th March.

If you love fresh food as much as we do, and believe it should be sourced in a way that supports the planet, this post about Fairtrade Fortnight is for you!

How did the Fairtrade movement begin?

Founded in 1992, The Fairtrade Foundation (part of Fairtrade International) was jointly established by some of the world’s most well-known charities, including Christian Aid, Oxfam and the World Development Movement, to answer appeals from small-scale farmers in Mexico for fair trading treatment.

Growing from those humble beginnings, the Foundation launched its first certified products – Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, coffees from Cafédirect and Percol, and Clipper tea – in 1994. Then in 1995 it held the world’s first Fairtrade Fortnight.

So what exactly is Fairtrade Fortnight?

Image credit: Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual campaign taking place during two weeks over February and March each year. Designed to raise awareness of trade justice, it brings together campaigners, businesses and farmers who share their stories of people who grow and source the things that go into our food and drinks, alongside other important, naturally-occurring trade resources like gold and cotton.

This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, Fairtrade Fortnight’s official celebrations are being held online. There will be expert panels on climate change, video bake-offs, coffee mornings and a host of other virtual events taking place. However, these can be supplemented by anyone wishing to host their own in-person or digital events to spread the word of this year’s central themes. (More on that directly below!).

What is the theme of Fairtrade Fortnight 2022?

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 highlighted the plight of farmers and farm workers in some of the world’s least polluting countries, who are feeling the effects of climate change more than anyone – including people in the most pollution-creating ones. Since then, the United NationsCOP26 climate change conference in Glasgow has taken place, where unfortunately the world’s wealthiest nations delayed a promised $100bn annual funding to the most climate vulnerable countries until 2023.

Ahead of COP27 in Egypt this November, Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 urges people to ‘Choose The World You Want’ and support the farmers on the front line of the climate crisis, in order to show world leaders that now is the time to act on climate change.

Why we care about Fairtrade Fortnight

Did you know that 80% of the world’s food, for nearly 8 billion people, comes from just 500 million family-owned farms around the globe? Many of those farms are in low-income countries, where rising global temperatures and the resultant weather conditions represent a clear threat to the very livelihoods of the people involved.

With a changing climate comes the need for new equipment and innovative measures in order to keep producing food. Yet many of those countries are simply not able to afford those measures. It’s a problem created by the world’s wealthiest countries, where the financial burden is felt in the poorest ones. Put simply, as the climate crisis continues, the world’s ability to grow fresh produce is being put under threat.

As a fresh herb and ingredients supplier, at R&G Fresh we feel passionately that climate change is a problem for the entire world to band together and overcome. Our suppliers operate in countries as far off as Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, and we work with them regularly to make sure their growing practices care for their lands, rather than damaging them.

We also outsource much of our production process to our growers, meaning the money we would otherwise spend on waste goes into paying them higher wages. These ethical practices not only keep our supply chain greener, they also mean more money stays in those climate-vulnerable countries, where it’s needed now more than ever.

Image credit: Campaign Exchange

You don’t need to be fair trade certified to get involved with Fairtrade fortnight. In fact, you don’t even need to be involved with existing fair trade companies.

Ways to get involved with Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 include:

  • Run your own online or public event. You can even get in touch with the Fairtrade Foundation to request a guest speaker appearing for a virtual talk!
  • Reach out to local environmental or social justice groups near you and join together to share the message
  • Order Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 resources from The Fairtrade Foundation. These include posters and an explainer leaflet
  • Sign up to be a Fairtrade Fortnight VIP. Doing so will give you more Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 resources including campaign materials and a free quiz on Fairtrade and Climate Justice. You’ll also get first look at competitions and fresh Fairtrade products available to tie in with the Fortnight
  • Browse the Foundation’s updated climate key messages and FAQs to make sure you’re as knowledgeable as can be going into Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Plus use the online resources available in the Fairtrade Foundation resource library, including social media banners, press releases, pictures, videos, virtual Zoom backgrounds and more besides!

Additionally, if you’re particularly passionate about fair trade in all its forms, keep an eye out for World Fair Trade Day 2022 this May from the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).

Proud to work with ethical produce

At R&G Fresh we’re immensely proud of the way we work, and the fact that every day we really do live our values around ethical practices, sustainability, and fairness for all.

For more on how we operate, see our How We Work and Our Produce pages, or learn even more at the links below.


Cover image credit: Fairtrade Foundation

A herby salad bowl of vegan-friendly food

Live Vegan for Less: Eating Green and Staying Sustainable

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At R&G Fresh, we’re fully committed to farming, picking and packing the freshest produce possible in a way that works with (rather than damages) the land.

Here on our blog The Chopping Board, we’ve already covered how our suppliers grow their produce using ethical practices, and why stopping food waste matters more than ever. Now, to celebrate World Vegan Month this November, we’ve decided to look at the vegan life of eating green and staying sustainable.

Before we dig into the details, however, it’s first worth addressing one of the biggest blockers many people have to going green with their diet…

How much more expensive is it to go vegan?

It’s actually a misnomer that eating vegan is automatically more expensive than being a meat-eater. The truth is that meat alternatives like tofu are usually equivalently priced to meat, if not actually less costly. So, when it comes to expense, switching to a plant-based diet could even be considered appealing!

It might, however, be more accurate to say that there are currently many examples in supermarkets where a ready-made non-vegan food exists, but a vegan alternative does not. In these situations, creating a fresh vegan option from scratch can prove pricey by comparison.

For example, a non-vegan fresh cream cheese and chive snack dip at your local supermarket may cost in the region of £1-1.50. However, the ingredients for this spicy vegan cashew cream recipe based on nutritional yeast, raw cashew nuts and a vegan milk of your choice, will set you back considerably more.

As with any food choice, then, it depends on what you fancy at the time. Trade-offs are sometimes necessary between flavour and expense, but on the whole, the differences between eating a meat-inclusive and meat-free diet are typically far less than you might think.

Ways to Eat Green and Stay Sustainable

A vegan-friendly fresh salad bowl

If the idea that a vegan diet isn’t expensive surprised you, prepare for another shock: eating vegan doesn’t necessarily mean that your choices are good for the planet.

It’s all to do with the greenhouse gases given off by both farming and transporting different produce.

That’s not to say that animal agriculture isn’t the very worst thing from an environmental perspective. It inarguably is. Especially when you consider that it gives off a greater proportion of greenhouse gas emissions (14%) than all of the world’s vehicles (13.5%) put together. (In fact, Oxford University researchers found that if we did away with using livestock for meat and everyone on the planet went vegan, we could cut greenhouse gases by a whopping 73%!)

However, anyone looking into the vegan life of eating green and staying sustainable should be mindful of not only what they’re eating, but where it’s coming from and the environmental cost of growing and delivering it to their shopping basket.

Some green foods aren’t as green as you think

Asparagus, for instance, has the largest carbon footprint of any vegetable eaten in the UK, giving off a sizeable 5.3kg of CO2 for every kilogram – owing mainly to the fact much of it is imported from Peru. This is dwarfed by the average carbon footprint of beef at 36kg of CO2 per kilogram, but still over half of the carbon footprint of chicken (10kg Co2 per kg) – a fact that’s surprising, when you consider just how popular chicken is across the world.

Similarly, if you want to eat fruits like strawberries and blueberries out of season, they will have to be flown in from warmer climes – contributing to a larger carbon footprint and lower sustainability value. That’s not to mention more exotic fruits like cantaloupes and watermelon, which are imported into the UK all year round.

The issue of water

Some other fruits and vegetables meanwhile can exact a different environmental cost to the areas they’re grown in. Almonds, mangoes and avocados all require enormous amounts of fresh water to grow. A kilo of mangoes, for instance, needs 686 litres of water. Cashew nuts – one of the most popular protein sources in vegan-friendly dishes (including the cashew cream mentioned above) – consume a whopping 4,134 litres of fresh water per kilogram. And you might need up to 272 litres of water just to grow a single avocado. That’s a lot of Evian for just one small bowl of guacamole.

Of course, the issue of water may not sound damning in a country like the UK, where that particular resource is plentiful. But consider that many avocados in particular are grown in Chile, where there’s a notable water shortage, and it starts to look like a much bigger problem when it comes to sustainability.

Time to go organic?

It’s also worth noting how much more beneficial for the planet authentically organic produce is over foods grown with artificial fertilisers. The chemicals in the latter account for around 3% of all global greenhouse gas emissions – meaning any vegans (or would-be ones) looking for ways to eat green and stay sustainable might also want to consider going organic-only.

From all of the above, it’s clear that staying sustainable as a vegan means much more than just eating green. Paying attention to where your food comes from is incredibly important, and choosing foods that are in season, don’t use scarce natural resources to grow, and don’t rely on artificial fertilisers, can all make an enormous difference to your cuisine’s planetary impact.

A wooden sign pointing the way to a vegan lifestyle

Are you considering going vegan this World Vegan Month?

Whether this post has gotten you thinking about trying veganism, or you’ve been thinking about it for a while, there are a whole host of reasons to do so – as well as some incredibly helpful resources to help you make the switch.

For starters, over on The Vegan Society website they have a tool called The Veganalyser, where you can input your age and then see the number of animals you will save each year onwards by cutting out meat-based products.

The same website also includes benefits to your health and the environment, plus information you may not have known about the honey, dairy and egg industries. They even have vegan meal planning tips to help you make the change!

However, possibly the most impactful thing you can do to live the vegan life of eating green and staying sustainable is download the VeGuide app for iOS and Android devices. It’s designed to make going vegan easier than ever, with motivation, video guides, a progress tracker, and a whole section devoted to delicious vegan recipes – including these eminently affordable ones.

And once you’ve started on your very own vegan menu – don’t stop there! Check out these 150 incredible vegan recipes on Budget Bytes, designed to tickle your taste buds without breaking the bank.

Finally, if you find vegan dishes really need a fresh herb fix, make sure to check out our post on how to use herbs in vegan recipes for even more amazing meat-free dish ideas.

A plate, knife and fork on the union jack to celebrate British Food Fortnight

British Food Fortnight: Less Waste, More Taste!

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Early autumn is a fantastic time for foodies, with a ton of top food festivals to attend and two particularly prominent and long-running campaigns that will interest anyone with an interest in British cuisine or ethical food practices.

First up between 6-10 September is Zero Waste Week, an international movement now in its 14th year that encourages people to look after the planet by being more mindful of (and ultimately doing something about) the amount of food and other disposable items they throw out.

Then between 18th September – 3rd October is British Food Fortnight, an annual campaign designed to promote eating traditional British food produce, now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Being passionate about both causes, we thought it was time to look at them in a little more depth and give you an idea of how you can get involved in them!

What is zero waste and why is it important?

The idea behind zero waste is that items which you might once have absent-mindedly decided to throw out can instead be reused in an alternative way (maybe repaired, or possibly repurposed entirely) in order to get full value from them. This extends their shelf life, lowers the amount of waste in the world, and even helps save you money.

But what is zero waste week 2021?

An illustration of two hands holding the Zero Waste Week logo with

Zero Waste Week began in September 2008 in response to a natural disaster which left founder Rachel Strauss determined to leave behind a better life for her child.

It started as a blog where she encouraged people to check what was in their fridge and track what they threw out. It’s since grown into a movement followed in over 80 countries, with the #ZeroWasteWeek hashtag shared over 56 million times on Twitter.

Why does Zero Waste Week matter?

A video on the Zero Waste Week website makes the answer to this clear:

  • Only 1% of the things we buy are still being used after six months
  • An entire third of the food produced globally is wasted. Despite this, many third-world countries still experience famine and people dying of starvation
  • To grow all of that wasted food, people need a land mass larger than China – meaning an enormous logistical and pollutive effort for absolutely no benefit to anyone
  • To make the point on a more local and relatable level, however, the average UK family spends £810 a year on food they then throw out.

Whether on a humanitarian level, viewed through the lens of climate change, or considered purely on the basis of individual expense, food wastage in particular is an enormous problem. Addressing it is therefore crucially important to people from all walks of life, as well as to the longevity of our planet.

How can you get involved with Zero Waste Week?

The Zero Waste Week campaign works with businesses, local authorities, schools and householders to help them act more mindfully about their daily wastage. The first step is to do a waste audit.

“Just live your normal life,” says Rachel, “don’t try and make any changes for about a week. And then jot down everything you’re throwing away. And then you can start to make a plan as to what you’re going to do with it.”

If you’re interested in knowing more about Zero Waste Week, head to the website to sign up to the mailing list. You can also donate to keep Zero Waste high on the agenda, or download posters and other materials to print over at the press page.

Additionally, you can follow the campaign on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, joining the conversation with the hashtag #ZeroWasteWeek.

British Food Fortnight: everything you need to know

A selection of British food in front of the Union Jack flag

First conceived as a modern mainstream version of the traditional British Harvest Festival and patroned by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, British Food Fortnight has been running since 2001 and celebrates the diversity and deliciousness of fresh British foods, produce and ingredients.

Why buy and eat British?

The Love British Food website gives many compelling reasons, including:

  • British meat is more humanely reared than almost anywhere else: 70% of the pig meat imported into the UK comes from a farming system that would be illegal in the UK
  • British people want to buy British: 63% of consumers for instance want the chicken they eat to be reared here in Britain
  • Eating in-season British fruit and veg isn’t only good for you – it travels less far, meaning a lower carbon footprint, which is far better for the planet.

What does British Food Fortnight involve?

During the fortnight there will be literally hundreds of events up and down the country, in all sorts of establishments. They include:

  • Schools: Fun activities, foodie lessons and special school menus in schools.
  • Pubs, restaurants and hotels: menu promotions and visitor attractions.
  • Hospitals and care homes: Love British Food menus
  • Universities: Themed menus in unis where Fresher’s Week coincides with the Fortnight.
  • Shops and markets: Promotions, meet the producer events and tastings
  • The food service sector: Special menus in places from staff restaurants to sports venues
  • Across the country: The Love British Food Harvest Torch travels with a National Harvest Service every year.
  • Plus: An annual competition will run to find the most imaginative community event during the Fortnight.
  • Villages, market towns and cities: Community celebrations of all shapes and sizes!

How to get involved with British Food Fortnight

Whether you’re an individual or work in any branch of the British food industry, there are an incredible number of ways to get involved with the foodie festivities this British Food Fortnight. They include:

  • Consumers: Buy British, seek out British Food Fortnight menus and encourage local shops and restaurants to take part.
  • Retailers: Highlight British foods in-store, expand your range and offer tasting sessions.
  • Pubs, hotels etc: Highlight British food on your menu and name the farms your produce comes from. You could even launch offers, promotions and bookings to make the most of local pride in British produce!
  • Food service: Source British food, promote the Britishness of your menu and contact suppliers so you can buy in bulk (But make sure you don’t let any go to waste!)
  • Public sector: Hospitals, care homes, government offices and the like could consider banding together to aggregate food costs and running special menus in on-site canteens
  • Schools: Use the Fortnight as motivation to find British suppliers, buy in-season products, and promote your actions to local media interested in eating and buying British. You can even use point of sale material with the BFF or Union Jack to make your participation more noticeable
  • Universities: Offer cookery demos, produce case studies and market your participation in British Food Fortnight on your website and social media channels
  • Councils: Champion local business that buy and sell British produce and distribute our ‘How to take part’ packs. You could even sponsor or run local events, or offer regional food producers’ tastings or awareness courses that speak to the importance of buying, selling and British.

You can also apply to become a Food Hero in order to support the campaign in this and future years. Plus, the Love British Food site lists an additional 14 things you can do to promote the Fortnight. And don’t forget you can get involved with the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BritishFoodIsGreat.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to tell the organisers of British Food Fortnight what you’re doing so they can promote it too. You can email them at

How we support great-taste, low-waste British food

At R&G Fresh, we care deeply about reducing waste and delivering the freshest, and where possible locally-sourced produce, that can make every dish you prepare taste incredible.

Not only have we previously blogged about preventing food waste, we actively outsource the majority of our production process to our growers so that our food arrives pre-bunched. It’s a process designed specifically to reduce food waste while allowing us to pay our growers more at the same time – all part of our commitment to ethical food business practices. (In fact, 96% of our raw produce is bought through our sustainable sourcing strategy).

Speaking of our growers, at R&G Fresh we work with some of the finest on the planet – including several based in the UK. We feel passionately about providing the freshest in-season produce possible; picked, packed and shipped locally whenever the season allows. We also make sure our suppliers work with the land to enhance it rather than damaging it; thereby ensuring our practices are great for Britain, and the British food industry.

And over in the recipes part of our blog The Chopping Board, we showcase some of the best ways to use that freshly-picked British produce in recipes for quirky and traditional British foods alike.

To discover more about what we do, visit the How We Work and Our Produce pages, or browse the links below.

From food waste to new food

Why Stopping Food Waste Matters

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28th April 2021 is Stop Food Waste Day – so we felt it timely to look at the serious (and growing!) problem of food waste and what we can all do about it.

Understanding food loss and waste

According to FareShare, the UK food industry alone wastes 3.6 million tonnes of food each year – 2 million of which is still edible at the time it’s thrown out. That’s enough for around 1.3 billion meals.

Even taken in isolation, those numbers are staggering. But when you consider that over 8 million people in the UK struggle to eat each year, and that food bank usage hit an all-time high during the global pandemic, there are clearly some big reasons why food waste prevention matters.

Why does food waste happen?

Food waste happens at every stage of the supply chain.

Fareshare’s numbers indicate that around 2 million tonnes of waste occurs at the farming stage alone, with food that’s spilled, spoiled stored incorrectly or packed poorly.

Processing and manufacturing is the next largest area for improvement, with up to 160,000 tonnes of lost food that’s fit for human consumption. Distribution channels can account for up to 120,000 tonnes, and unsold retail produce for around 110,000 tonnes of food that could have fed hungry mouths.

Humanitarian concerns aside, however, food waste also contributes heavily to climate change, with the World Wildlife Fund estimating 11% of all food system greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided by successfully tackling the problem of food wastage.

Solving the problem of food waste

Food waste pile

At R&G Fresh we make sure our suppliers work responsibly with the land to nurture the soil and the immediate environment rather than damaging it.

Our growers also pre-bunch 90% of the produce they pick before shipping it to us, meaning we minimise waste as much as possible.

That all happens because everyone in our business is committed to a sustainable way of working. We really do believe that these things start from a value system that favours sustainability.

Aside from a fundamental culture shift, however, there are certain things companies and individuals can do to solve the problem of food waste.

Corporate food waste

This post by Supply Chain Digital offers three things businesses can look at to address food waste. In short, they are:

1.     Improve visibility across the supply chain

For companies to reduce food waste, they first need to analyse the different stages of their process to get a real sense of how it’s working, and what needs to change.

2.     Make intelligent changes

There are many kinds of changes food companies could make depending on their findings at stage one. They include:

  • Improving product forecasting and ordering less inventory
  • Reviewing their distribution process and partners
  • Taking a keen eye to transportation choices and combining fleet journeys

3.     Increase efficiencies and work together better

If stage one above was ‘figure out what to do’ and stage two was ‘do it’, stage three is to continually iterate on and improve those processes – while recognising that communication and transparency with other businesses are critical to making it happen.

At R&G Fresh, we regularly visit our growers to make sure we’re aware of the challenges they’re facing, and are on-hand to offer our resources and support. We believe it’s the right way to operate, and the companies we work with think that way too.

Additionally, there is also the simple act of donating food rather than throwing it away. More than 100 UK supermarkets have pledged to reduce food waste by half by 2030, and each of them donating to the food banks we mentioned earlier will go a long way to addressing the problem’s human impact.

Personal food waste

Full kitchen food waste bin

So far, we’ve explained why stopping food waste matters and some of the steps companies can take towards solving the problem of food waste.

However, according to Friends of the Earth, there are many steps we can all take as individuals to stop food waste, each and every day.

They include:

How will you do your bit to prevent food waste?

Whether you’re reading this from a food industry perspective, or looking at things as an individual, we hope we’ve gotten across why reducing food waste is important.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit the Stop Food Waste Day website and join the virtual event on 28th April.

COVID-19 Shopping Behaviours

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When the lockdown was announced, consumers had to adapt to a different way of shopping and cooking. With that in mind, we take a look at the impact COVID-19 has had on shopping behaviours so far.

Lockdown began on the 23rd March 2020 and shopping habits changed rapidly as panic buying across the country saw customers switch from fresh, to dried, frozen or ambient.

Shopping days (and time of day) changed as people were furloughed and retailers had to enforce restrictions on how many people could shop safely in store at any given time. Consumers started to shop at the start of the week and earlier in the day, which became the ‘new normal’, rather than at weekends.

During this period, customers found their inner chef and more families ate together in the evenings. People started to be more creative, using online recipes and getting inspiration via their store cupboard ingredients.

Home baking became the new trend, along with batch cooking and scratch cooking becoming more popular. These are set to continue as lockdown eases.

With this inspiration of uses, preparation of products and not wasting any leftover food, fresh-cut herbs sales saw an increase. Some of which was driven by consumers enjoying low, slow cooking for BBQ’s, making marinades, pesto and other sauces.

Although beers, wines and spirits have seen significant uplift over this period there was a particular interest in low or non-alcoholic cocktails too. These, coupled with old faithful herbs such as thyme, rosemary and bay provided a depth of flavour. Plus, by using the more fragrant herbs such as basil and mint an amazing freshness can be added to any mocktail.

Online sales crashed for several retailers during the initial months of the pandemic and convenience stores became the go-to for customers needing to pick up their local groceries where shelves were well stocked. Larger retailers struggled with demand and as we saw in the news, shelves were empty. This did increase sales, giving local stores significant growth.

As the situation eased, with more people returning to work and online slot availability considerably improved across retailers, customers continue to do one big shop a week with a small top-up from local shops.

This is starting to slow down now that more fast food outlets are starting to open and the appeal to eat out after lockdown has seen a rise in footfall to restaurants.

Traditional shopping habits are slowly returning to normal. The change, however, is gradual with online and ‘click and collect’ services having the largest growth over these unprecedented times. This is set to continue as the ‘new normal’ preferred way to shop.

Want to speak to us about stocking our fresh-cut herbs and ingredients? Please contact us for more information.


7 Chancerygate Way, Hawley Lane
Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 8FF

Tel: +44 (0)1483 474041
Fax: +44 (0)1483 476371