The Consumer Brand, based on a revolutionary consumer model that has taken France by storm, has entered the UK market with the launch of 1.5 kilogram bags of ‘It’s up to you’ plain flour. The flour has been grown, produced and brought to the market in the UK to specifications, set by a community of consumers from the general public, which include fair pricing for farmers, health considerations and environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices. The flour is the first of a number of planned product launches that put the consumer at the heart of the whole process and everyone is invited to join the revolution.
Pascal Hegglin, Co-Founder of The Consumer Brand explains: “ The Consumer Brand was born from an ethos which was started in France five years ago in response to the fact that more than 700 farmers there were committing suicide each year. Many of those deaths were occurring because farmers were going bankrupt in a cut-price industry which squeezed producers of raw materials. The Consumer Brand is a Community Interest Company (CIC) that puts fair pay for farmers at the top of its agenda but it doesn’t stop there. The community of consumers, which anyone can join, also sets the standards required for farming practices, manufacturing processes and the environmental impact for each product as well as the recommended retail price.”
Pascal continues: “Once the consumers have identified the parameters for the new product we set about finding producers and manufacturers who can meet their standards and ensure that we create the product they want at the price they have set. In this case we chose Matthews Cotswold Flour, a forward thinking company with one of the longest milling histories in the UK, and have just launched the 1.5 kg bags of flour on their website. The British farmers providing the wheat are now on a deal assuring them a set price per tonne over three years and their agricultural practices have been given the official stamp of wildlife friendly approval from the RSPB and a new organisation called Fair To Nature.”
Bertie Matthews, managing director of Matthews Cotswold Flour adds: “We are thrilled to be part of this incredible new project. I think this is a game-changing idea and I was personally really excited to see what the consumers were going to decide when it came to the flour. As a business we are already focused on fair prices for farmers and protecting the environment so we were readily able to meet the spec drawn up by the consumers for this flour. We are using as many local farmers as possible and we are working with Fair To Nature to improve biodiversity and soil health to help look after the environment.”
The original organisation for this ground-breaking consumer model was set up in France five years ago and is called ‘C’est qui le patron?’ which translates as ‘Who Is The Boss?’. The unique premise has taken the country by storm with around 16 million people, more than one in five shoppers, regularly purchasing at least one item produced under the system including milk, flour, eggs, wine, apple juice, honey and pasta. The Consumer Brand in the UK aims to follow their flour launch with other staple products such as eggs, milk oats and bacon and consumers can head to their website www.theconsumerbrand.co.uk to help shape how these are produced, sourced and priced.
The Consumer Brand is more than a simple fair trade style of initiative. Pascal elaborates: “What we do is create products with value. We come together as a group of people who share values, who share the idea that there should be more transparency in the supply chain. People who believe that we do want to pay farmers a fair wage, that we care about the environment and that we are willing to pay a little extra cost to pay for a product that we understand. Our consumers can be as engaged as they want. If they want to visit a farm they can. If they just want to buy the product in a store, they can.”
‘It’s Up To You’ Flour is now available in 1.5kg bags RRP £1.31 from www.fwpmatthews.co.uk and shortly from selected retail outlets. For more information on The Consumer Brand and to have your say on their next product visit www.theconsumerbrand.co.uk.