Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual event that highlights the ethical sector in the UK, started this week and just-food spoke to Paul Chandler, chief executive of Fairtrade pioneer Traidcraft, about the impact that interest from bigger companies is having on the aims of Fairtrade. One company that has launched Fairtrade products, Nestle, this week said it was the first confectioner in the UK to make its products additive-free. Elsewhere, we spoke to US industry body The Grocery Manufacturers Association on sustainability and asked Dutch retail giant Ahold, which runs major chains in the US, what suppliers will do to boost stagnant sales. 

"The big companies like to purchase Fairtrade often from their existing supply chains, rather than taking on new producers. And often those are from larger scale estates and plantations. There then comes a danger that a system whose origins were to help small-scale producers actually could begin to work in ways which exclude the small producers access to the markets" - Paul Chandler, chief executive of Fairtrade pioneer Traidcraft, says larger companies that enter the sector should devote some contracts to smaller producers.

"It's only through collaboration that we're going to move the needle on environmental issues and so, whether it's policy or science or education or sharing model practices across the industry, collaboration and coordination are really the most effective ways to do the right thing" - Meghan Statz, sustainability director at The Grocery Manufacturers Association, believes working with external stakeholders is vital in looking to lessen industry's impact on the environment.

"This is a significant milestone. Nestle Confectionery and our suppliers have worked very hard ensuring we don't compromise and we maintain the same quality and taste of all our brands" - David Rennie, MD of Nestle's confectionery arm in the UK explains the firm's decision to remove all artificial additives from its products.

"This sales performance, which proved very satisfactory on the whole, accompanied by significant market share gains, is the outcome of a long-term strategy designed to maintain our competitiveness even in difficult circumstances" - Lindt & Sprungli CEO Ernst Tanner explains why the upmarket chocolate firm still managed to increase profits in 2011.

"Food Should Taste Good products compete in the natural and organic salty snacks category - a segment that has experienced double-digit sales growth for the past two years and that has outpaced the growth of the broader salty snacks category" - a spokesperson for General Mills talks about its acquisition of tortilla maker Food Should Taste Good.

"What I think they will do is spend more on promotion to drive sales in our stores. In a way, for us that's good news, we're well positioned" - Ahold's CEO Dick Boer told just-food he expected suppliers in the US to spend more money on discounts to boost sales.

"In relation to market opportunities in the US, many informed consumers who are anti-GM may look for EU certified organic food as they are aware that there is very little GM cultivation in the EU comparable with the US" - Gillian Westbrook, general manager at the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), believes EU organic producers could benefit from the recent trade deal with the US and see demand for their products from anti-GM consumers across the Atlantic.

"The industry has the right to use its labelling scheme, but I suspect that GMA's motivation was to pre-empt the FDA's doing anything" - Michael Jacobson, director of US consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, argues the Grocery Manufacturers Association moved quickly and launched its Facts Up Front front-of-pack nutrition labels to pre-empt government action

"It has been quite a disciplined venture from a capital expenditure perspective and not particularly debilitating from a loss-making context" - Shore Capital analyst Clive Black on the growth of Tesco's dot.com business.

"Rob Murray will step down as CEO but not until 2013, so still some time to go and the process to find his replacement is in its early stages" - A spokesperson for Australian dairy firm Lion confirms the departure of its chairman and CEO.