The 4 minute guide to Cacao Bean’s by @BLYSS_choc

As the Biabeag series of talks and sessions develops it is good to move further back and explore the provenance of the raw materials and the early processing that they are subjected to.

In this short video Lyss talks us through the word of cacao beans and helps us to understand how vital they are to the end product. Get them wrong (and we covered this a lot during the Roaster event) and you are guaranteed to fail.

You can meet, listen to and discuss cacao with Lyss, Karen from Bean and Goose and Mary from Truffle Fairy on Saturday November 8th. Click here for more info and to book.



Meet The Roasters – the backstory of a @planetbeancafe coffee bean

On 20th September we will be looking at how to properly roast great coffee beans so that their magic can be tasted and enjoyed. But that taste starts with the grower and harvester. 

This 5 minute video (from Fairtrade company Planet Bean in Ontario, Canada) tells the story of their growers, pickers and dryers.

Thanks to them for sharing. For more on Meet The Roasters click here


Rapunzel Naturkost

What they do

They manufacture a wide range (over 400) organic, vegetarian and fairtraded food products. They also have a food ingredients division in Germany and offer an own label manufacturing service.

Where they do it

Just over half of their products are manufactured in Germany where they also have the widest distribution. Outside of Germany there are 30 countries worldwide where their products are available.

Who are they

Set up by Joseph Wilhelm and Jennifer Vermeulen in 1974 they now employ over 300 people.

The ethical bit?

Clearly defined ethics are deeply routed in the business. They operate their own organic certification scheme (Hand in Hand) together with producer partners in many countries.

They have a clear and fascinating mission statement and goals covering the environment, staff and independence from banks and other financial institutions.

My thoughts

With a turnover of > €100M this business has successfully scaled while maintaining a rigorous set of criteria which guide its operations. The passion and personal ethics of 2 individuals has lead to a powerhouse of organic food production and I am in awe of that.

This is not a sexy brand and they do not “do” social media that I can see. It is a solid and reputable brand.

I am familiar with a number of their products which make their way onto the Irish market and I am going to look out for more now!

Links to more

One World Award (Joseph is on the jury)

/ keith

Wish4 FairTrade, Kinsale, Ireland

Myself and Alan Clayton from Wish4 Fairtrade have had contact in the past when he was involved in another food business so it was really enjoyable to catch up with him in Belfast to hear all about the FairTrade brand which he has been developing over the last couple of years.

His plans for the future include pushing production of some of the products involved back into the countries where the raw materials are grown (preserving as much value as possible in the place of origin) and extending his market share in the UK.

Looking forward to the ongoing success of this business.


Cool Hunting: Alter Eco, global Fairtrade food brand

Alter Eco

Quinoa chocolate bars, purple jasmine rice and more from a powerhouse fair trade brand

Though today the fair trade food brand Alter Eco works with 25 cooperatives across 19 countries, they began in 1999 as a small shop in Paris carrying mostly furniture…. One of the leading members of the Fair Trade Initiative, their hands-on approach has led to major impacts in improving the food cycle…

Products range from bags of hearty grains like jasmine rice and quinoa to chocolate bars filled with sugary mint or crystallized orange peels…..

Each of Alter Eco’s 56 fair trade, USDA organic products sell on their site at reasonable prices…..For in-store purchase, check out the webstite’s retail locator, which lists carriers all across the U.S. and in parts of Canada.

Read on Cool Hunting


Traceable Coffee, by small scale coffee farmers

This is interesting, a system called Traceable Coffee put in place by producers to link consumers to the producers. A good website with a number of videos covering various aspects of the system.

Awareness of producers, as well as the brands who sit inbetween, is an important part of encouraging small food brands.