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Beyond coffee: Prana Chai discusses the important of ethically sourced ingredients

While the importance and value of ethical sourcing is becoming better understood when it comes to coffee, many café owners might not realise how that carries over to other products on the menu.

Prana Chai says finding quality ingredients for its chai blends is of utmost importance to the brand, as is ethical sourcing.

“As café operators ourselves, we’ve seen first-hand how our customers increasingly expect an honest approach, natural ingredients, and an authentic experience,” says Prana Chai Founder Koray Gencel.

“We wanted to take the same approach to chai as specialty coffee companies, focusing on quality and providing the educated Australian consumer with a similar experience, with a capital ‘E’.”

Prana Chai recognises it has a responsibility to the farmers and workers who produce and harvest the ingredients it uses. To fulfill that duty, it works with supplier partners who, in turn, work closely with growers and exporters that follow ethical farming practices.

As spice and tea production requires a specific climate, Prana Chai needs to source ingredients from all over the world. Its tea suppliers back up Prana Chai’s sourcing commitments by providing Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified tea.

Its partners help ensure it sources from spice suppliers who demonstrate their commitment to excelling in worker safety, fair treatment, sustainable production, environmental protection, community support, and food safety and quality.

However, Prana Chai says the spice industry is notorious for a lack of transparency. It is often hard for a consumer to determine where their spices come from, let alone whether they have been ethically sourced. Prana Chai says most jars you’ll find on a grocery shelf can be made up from spices grown not only from different farms, but sometimes from different regions or even countries.

“We trust our partners to help us, as a small business, navigate the complex world of ethical sourcing. They help source our ingredients in an ethical and sustainable way, ensuring that workers involved are treated fairly and environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration,” Gencel says.

“Our key supply partners purchase our ingredients from long-established, first class suppliers who provide fully traceable ingredient solutions that support a transparent, sustainable ‘farm to fork’ consumer story.”

But it doesn’t stop there. While Prana Chai buys tea and spices from reputable sources, it is aware that even ethical sourcing isn’t always enough to disrupt the cycles of poverty experienced by many migrant workers. Due to colonial-era wage policies still prevalent in India, even ethically traded tea could have been picked by migrant workers earning less than US$2 a day.

“We, like many coffee and tea businesses, we feel helpless at the times when we have limited control over how the money we pay is distributed along the supply chain. Without tea workers, we wouldn’t be able to make Prana Chai. We wanted to go above and beyond ethical sourcing and so we decided to additionally donate to our charity partners $2 for every single bag sold by Prana Chai, to get funds directly to migrant workers and their families,” Gencel says.

“No matter which Prana Chai blend you buy, you can rest assured that we source our ingredients responsibly, source only the best, and blend our chai with the utmost precision to create the flavour and consistency that makes our award-winning sticky chai loved worldwide.”

For more information, visit www.pranachai.com

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