It was the first national coffee company to announce a complete move to Fairtrade, and at the time, the company reported that it had made the move as the result of a clear demand from customers for products bearing the Fairtrade mark.
“We went Fairtrade as that is what our customers wanted, and we believed it was the right thing to do,” confirms operations director Allan McCallum-Toppin. “The growth of Fairtrade products since that time has been fantastic, and we have played our part in that.”
To celebrate the anniversary, AMT will run a one-week offer in which any customer buying a Fairtrade drink can have a Fairtrade brownie for half price.
AMT is the company that opened up the rail station coffee-bar market,and it has recently been given permission to open up on York railway station.
This decision is notable because an attempt by a rival chain coffee bar to do so, some months ago, drew damning local criticism for a design said to be unsympathetic to the distinctive historic design of the station.
Unusually, AMT is to site a kiosk in a waiting room, next to an existing serving hatch, and will be able to serve customers both in the waiting room and on the concourse.
The chain makes its promotional move at a time when Fairtrade has come under criticism in some quarters. The recent coffee trade summit meeting in Vienna, organized by Allegra strategies, featured a dramatic attack on the organisation from a well-known economist, Dr Peter Griffiths, who alleged that Fairtrade’s methods were inefficient, and that its performance was not transparent.
The usual criticism of Fairtrade from the beverage sector concerns the quality of coffee and tea available. However, AMT vehemently denies that its Fairtrade coffee is of any lesser standard.
“Our company mission statement and proven track record of delivering a high quality product at a reasonable price dispels the myth that going Fairtrade means compromising,” says McCallum-Toppin.
By Ian Boughton