Fairtrade sales grow in spite of cost-of-living crisis

Fairtrade Premium from retail sales of bananas, coffee, flowers and tea grew steadily in 2022 as one in four British consumers they ‘always’ or ‘often’ choose Fairtrade products, according to the organisation.

As Fairtrade’s annual Fortnight campaign gets underway, the organisation reports seeing active efforts of consumers to seek out ethically sourced products such as bananas, chocolate and coffee.

In spite of the cost-of-living crisis and economic inflation impacting how consumers shop, they still largely expect businesses to do the right thing in terms of sourcing. It’s good, then, that sustainability doesn’t have to be unaffordable, said Fairtrade Foundation.

Increasing numbers of supermarket retailers now offer Fairtrade products as part of their value ranges. Ranges include:

  • Co-op’s Honest Value Range
  • M&S Remarksable Value
  • Waitrose Essentials.

Lidl and Aldi are the UK’s two biggest Fairtrade cocoa retailers, as over the last year Asda launched its Fairtrade aisle in its online store and the launch of Amazon Aware, an own-brand range of affordable, ‘consciously created’ products certified by labels such as Fairtrade.

Fairtrade continues to perform well in the retail space, it said. Latest research (Kantar 2022) reveals that 77% of UK consumers have chosen Fairtrade products over an alternative.

This comes at a time when a new consumer poll commissioned for Fairtrade Fortnight reveals that nearly two thirds (64%) of the British public either agree or strongly agree that buying sustainably sourced food in the supermarket is ‘a lifestyle change you can make to help protect food grown in countries at risk of climate change’.

Fairtrade is now reaffirming its commitment to work with companies to improve sustainability in the retail space.

Kerrina Thorogood, Commercial Partnerships Director at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the UK’s food stocks are dependent on supply chains that are, in turn, reliant on a whole host of complex factors operating smoothly in the background. The salad and fresh produce shortages that hit British supermarkets in February 2023 have served as a timely reminder of this.”

Kerinna, who featured as our exclusive Big Interview in the January issue of International Confectionery magazine also had this to say about their partnerships: “Through a partnership with Fairtrade, cocoa sector actors benefit from our experience in working with smallholder farmers, our rigorous standards, our transformational programmes and the very high consumer recognition of our Mark. We can achieve a world where cocoa farmers are thriving, earning a living income and our favourite cocoa products are mutually beneficial for all.”

You can read the interview in our January issue here.

Fairtrade’s latest consumer research (Kantar, 2022) also reveals that according to consumers’ perceptions of different ethical labels, Fairtrade performs very strongly on the environment. The figures show that when it comes to ‘supporting farmers to diversify their income to be more resilient to climate change and other risks,’ twice as many UK shoppers now associate this statement with the Fairtrade label.

Major brands and retailers are continuing to support Fairtrade despite the impacts of Brexit and ongoing cost-of-living-related challenges. They are making impressive commitments in 2022 to Fairtrade and the farmers and workers in their supply chains.

  • Ben & Jerry’s joined Tony’s Open Chain in a joint mission to end modern slavery and child labour in the chocolate industry. To celebrate their commitment, the two brands created delicious desserts inspired by each other, introducing Chocolatey Love A-Fair and Non-Dairy Chocolatey Love A-Fair, new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavours based on Tony’s popular milk caramel sea salt bar.
  • Ecotone launched Alter Eco chocolate in the UK for the first time in 2022. Meanwhile Beech’s Fine Chocolate converted their beans to 100% Fairtrade. Belgian chocolate brand Guylian also announced a switch to sourcing 100% Fairtrade cocoa. Hu Kitchen converted all their cocoa to Fairtrade, as did Mighty Fine, Quirky Chocolate and Sweet Freedom
  • Premium organic chocolate brand Green & Black’s announced a new range, Smooth, available in two flavours: Plain 50% Cocoa and Mint

These developments, and others, are timely, as Fairtrade Fortnight gets underway, running from 27 February – 12 March 2023. As part of this year’s campaign, the Fairtrade Foundation launched The Endangered Aisle immersive experience as part of a warning that key staples of consumers’ shopping – including chocolate – are at risk of becoming ‘endangered’, if not enough is done to reduce the environmental impact of cocoa farmer and paying farmers a proper wage.

“Today, Fairtrade’s work – connecting farmers, businesses and consumers on the path towards sustainability – is more important than ever. Climate change, conflict and the global cost-of-living crisis are threatening marginalised communities in low-income countries, putting their livelihoods and the future of our food at risk,” commented Jackie Marshall, Head of Brand and Marketing, Fairtrade Foundation.

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International Confectionery

Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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