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Karma Cola Gives Ethical Kick to Soft Drinks Market


Organic Milk Heading to China


ASDA Makes Sustainable Bananas Pledge




Karma Cola Gives Ethical Kick to Soft Drinks Market

Karma Cola, a new ethical soft drink brand, is attempting to take on the might of Cola-Cola with its Fairtrade and organic cola drink.

The company, which gives 3p of the cost of every bottle sold to cola nut producers in Sierra Leone, now counts the UK as its second largest market after New Zealand, where it was founded in 2012.

It sold 300,000 bottles of the cola in the UK during the first six months of the year, and is on target to reach 600,000 by the year-end.

Growth has been driven by a rise in "conscious consumers", co-founder Simon Coley said. "There's a huge community of people who follow Fairtrade and organic products in the UK," he said. The business has sent US $75,000 (50,000) to Sierra Leone in the past three years, a figure that is forecast to rise to US $500,000 by 2018.

The business is using the UK as a "springboard" to enter new European markets. "The category has been dominated by one or two brands," Mr Coley said. "We like being a challenger and the market is enormous."

The UK soft drinks market grew 4 percent last year and is now valued at US $31 billion (15.6bn), according to the British Soft Drinks Association. Unlike Coca-Cola, which protects its "secret recipe" formulation, Karma Cola publishes all the ingredients in its version, which contains vanilla, roast barley malt, coriander, nutmeg and lime essence, alongside a range of other Fairtrade and organic flavours.

"Everyone should know what they're consuming, especially when you're putting it in your mouth," said Mr Coley. "People have never been more open to companies that contribute to sustainability, and ethical supply chains," he added.

OM Comment
Karma Cola is congratulated on its early success in the UK market. The brand is catering to the ethical consumer with its range of organic & fair trade drinks. It is also tapping into the fizzy drinks sector, which is largely ignored by most organic and sustainable brands. Its success in the European market will however largely depend on distribution.

The distribution challenges faced by organic and sustainable brands will be covered in the upcoming Sustainable Foods Summit, hosted in San Francisco on 20-22nd January. A pioneering organic beverages brand will give a keynote on marketing obstacles. More details are on the website

Related Article: Distribution Key to Success of Green Brands

Source: The Grocer / OM



Organic Milk Heading to China

The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo) has been awarded the license for UK organic exports under an agreement reached between the UK Soil Association and Organic Food Development and Certification Centre of China (OFDC).

The co-operative is the first company to receive an export license from the Chinese authorities. Organic milk produced under this license can be supplied to organic processors wanting to export to China.

OMSCo plans to start selling organic milk to China next year. A spokesperson said: "The partnership will allow a roll out of organic dairy products in 2016, and with organic products in high demand in China, OMSCo hopes to be able to announce some further developments in this sector early in the new year."

OMSCo has been exporting to all main European markets since 2008, helping to redistribute the UK oversupply, and, in the process, earning its 200 strong group of farmers an export premium. Since 2011, the cooperative has also been producing a percentage of milk and dairy ingredients to the US National Organic Program (NOP) standard, giving access to the American market.

The initial certification for OMSCo covers 15 million litres of organic milk, worth between USD 10-15 million at port of export, depending on the end product the milk is used in.

OM Comment
OMSCo is targeting the Chinese market for organic foods, the largest in Asia. Demand for organic milk and dairy ingredients has been soaring partly because the country has suffered from a number of food scandals. The melamine scandal in particular has given China the largest market for organic infant formula in the world.

Organic Monitor is hosting a workshop on export opportunities in the global market for organic & eco-labelled foods at the Sustainable Foods Summit (20-22 Jan, San Francisco). The latest market data
on the global market will be presented, whilst the business openings for exporters will be highlighted. More details are on the website

Related Article: The Future Direction of Clean Labels

Source: News Release / OM



ASDA Makes Sustainable Bananas Pledge

ASDA is to switch its entire banana supply to sustainable sources from March 2016.

The UK retailer says that 93% of its bananas - the equivalent of more than 700 million individual bananas a year - would come from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms, with the remaining 7% sourced from Fairtrade Foundation farms.

ASDA has previously sourced just 40% of its bananas from Rainforest Alliance farms, facing criticism over its banana sourcing policy and aggressive pricing tactics. ASDA scored just 49 out of 100 in a Fairtrade Foundation survey last year, which ranked the major multiples on their sourcing practices based on social, economic and environmental criteria and the transparency of its supply chain. This compares with 90 for The Co-op, 88 for Sainsbury's and 65 for Tesco. 

Retailers such as Sainsbury's and The Co-op sell 100% Fairtrade Foundation bananas, but ASDA said it was unique among UK supermarkets in making a "public commitment" to Rainforest Alliance and called on its competitors to "follow our lead". 

The Rainforest Alliance focuses on ensuring sustainable livelihoods by conserving biodiversity and is targeted more at farm management than the farmers. Meanwhile, Fairtrade standards focus primarily on tackling poverty and empowering growers. 

"We have been working hard with our suppliers for three years to ensure our commitment to sourcing bananas from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms can be realised," said ASDA's chief customer officer, Barry Williams. 

"The banana supply chain can be complicated but through our strong grower relationships we know all the bananas we buy are from sources that work to ensure effective environmental stewardship and help workers enjoy safe working conditions."

The future direction of eco-labels - such as Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, etc. - are regularly debated at the Sustainable Foods Summit. The North American edition of this executive summit will be hosted in San Francisco on 20-22 January. In 2016, there will be other editions in Europe (Amsterdam) on June 9-10th, and Latin America (Sao Paulo) on 29-30th June. More details 


Source: The Grocer













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