Composite products

Composite products are products made from more than one ingredient. For example a chocolate bar is made from cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and other ingredients, depending on the type of chocolate.

In Fairtrade products, all ingredients for which there are Fairtrade Standards must be Fairtrade certified. So, in the case of chocolate, the cocoa and the sugar must be certified. On such products the percentage of Fairtrade ingredients is displayed on the back of pack. In the case of single ingredient products like coffee, 100% of the product must be Fairtrade certified to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.

Minimum Fairtrade content

For a food composite product to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, at least 20 percent of the content must be Fairtrade certified. If a Fairtrade certified ingredient is available, it must be used, regardless of what percentage it makes up in the final product.

The minimum percentages are calculated in weight for solids and in volume for liquids. Added water and/or dairy can be excluded from the calculation if they make up more than 50 percent of the product.   

Transparent procedure in the case of exceptions

The landscape for Fairtrade products is always changing and Fairtrade recognizes this. The Composite Products Standard also includes a process for granting exceptions when necessary. While the goal is always to use as many Fairtrade ingredients as possible, on occasion ingredients are not available for a variety of reasons.

For instance, when a product has only recently been certified Fairtrade, mass quantities are not yet accessible to manufacturers. An exceptions committee has created guidelines for granting exceptions and makes sure that any exceptions are made in a consistent and transparent way.

To find out more about Fairtrade Composite Products, read our fact sheet (PDF) or see section 2.2 of the Generic Fairtrade Trade Standard (PDF).

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