“ Type: Cereal Bars „
*Making a world of difference*
The fair trade movement has been established in the UK for decades now and Traidcraft have been around for thirty years this year, promoting their goods with the memorable line 'Making a world of difference'. Fair trade products are good as they allow producers in the developing world a chance to sell their products on a more level playing field than the traditional market economy might allow for. Trade regulations, protectionism and corruption make it as hard as ever for some producers to compete in a global marketplace and in my eyes it's right and just that they get a 'break'.
With Fair Trade Fortnight recently finished, now seems as good a time as ever to be promoting the virtues of these dense, chewy and deliciously sweet cereal bars. Of course it is up to the conscience (and budgets) of individuals to determine whether or not they support fair trade, as not everyone will be militant about it. I'm a little stuck in the middle at the moment - always opting to purchase fair traded products as a first choice - but not doing without if I can't find a version from a fair trade producer!
*Letting you know the score*
Packaging doesn't usually warrant more than a line or two, but I'm a big fan of the box for Geobar packaging in general. It serves as a clever combo of effective advertising (both good quality images of the specific product in the box and description of the wider Traidcraft range), an aid to education and a particularly detailed guide to contents and nutrition. In addition to this, the box is made from 70% recycled material.
Fair trade products can cost a little more than their generic equivalents and I think it's only right that the caring consumer gets to see exactly who they're supporting and what benefits their purchase should bring. Charity should be a simple act of selfless giving, but we all know that it's important to see some result from our donation. I work for a government department that handles international aid and the message from public and government alike is very clear - it's no longer just enough to brand a product ethical and leave the rest up to the imagination of consumers; there needs to be some evidence of what it has achieved.
*Availability, cost and nutritional infomation*
Geobars are available from most major supermarkets, charity shops and a range of websites supporting fair trade. They are often commonly sourced for church canteens, youth events and school canteens. You will pay in the region of £1.80 for a packet of six and the purchasing power of the average supermarket means that this is almost always the cheapest place to buy these in any quantity.
46.9% of this particular Geobar is made from fair trade ingredients, an amount that the manufacture claims is the maximum possible. I'm prone to believe them, as there are a limited range of ingredients that it would be profitable or even possible to have a fair trade version of.
Each bar weighs in at 32 g and contains 145 Kcals, 16.2 g of sugar, 5.5 g of fat (2.5 g of which is saturated) and 0.01 g of sodium. There's no reason why one of these bars a day with your lunch couldn't be part of a balanced diet and my only concern at all is that a single bar is 18% of your sugar allowance for the day. This figure is no doubt slightly lower for men, as nutritional charts are typically calculated using the recommended amounts for women.
*Best. Cereal. Bar. Ever.*
Asides from their save the world credentials, the manufacturers have pulled off a triumph of a snack with these brilliant honey nut bars. They are very sweet, with a pronounced taste of honey and a lovely slightly floral after taste as a result. Please note, this could be my Geobar addicted brain playing tricks on me! The bars are roughly 30% raisins, Brazil nuts and almonds and these combine with a selection of crunchy cereals to make a snack bar that is chewy without being soggy, tasty and that seems quite virtuous on the snacking front.
I work in a fairly warm office and the chocolate Geobars can sometimes melt a little, which doesn't exactly compliment the flavour or the ease with which I can eat them. The honey and nut bars, however, aren't similarly afflicted and can be quite nice a little 'squishy'. Now that I think about it, one of these could be good dunked in tea.
These get full marks from me - meeting my taste requirements, my ethical preferences, my health demands and leaving my wallet intact. If you do one good thing in the next few weeks, why not do yourself a favour and pick up a box of these?
To find out more about fair trade in the UK, please take a look at the website of the Fairtrade Foundation, www.fairtrade.org.uk