Sales of Fairtrade ranges, including cocoa, have shown continual growth levels

Sales of Fairtrade items including cocoa-based products have experienced a sustained pattern of growth amid the pandemic, owing to greater consumer awareness, according to latest industry research, reports Neill Barston.

The GlobeScan 2021 study revealed a total of 65% of people in the UK say they would choose ranges from the ethically-founded movement, a wide range of goods, from bananas, wine and gold, through to cosmetic series.

Among the key findings, Fairtrade sales were reported to have increased by 14% in 2020, with the report tracking ethical expenditure year by year over the past two decades. Significantly, the movement’s own figures set out in its latest annual report show sales of Fairtrade cocoa grew by 3%.

Consequently, Fairtrade Foundation, which is marking its annual Fairtrade Fortnight that began on Monday, welcomed the research, which it said underlined shoppers’ continued commitment to its offerings.

Furthermore, the Co-op’s ‘Ethical Markets Report 2021’ noted that the UK ‘green pound’ has reached record levels, breaking through the £100 bn mark for the first time.

Major brands and retailers continue to back Fairtrade, including Ben & Jerry’s,  despite the impacts of Brexit and ongoing pandemic-related challenges, making impressive commitments to Fairtrade, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Cafedirect, and the farmers and workers in their supply chains. Within cocoa, Greggs for example continue to rollout their 100% chocolate couverture conversion.

Producers have benefitted from the introduction of living income reference price for coffee farmers in Colombia, as well as a Fairtrade Base Wage for bananas in 2021, meaning wage increases of up to 15 percent for banana workers. Separately, banana productivity climate projects with retailers became an interesting focus for its in collaboration with Co-op.

According to the organisation’s research, there is a clear desire among online shoppers to support brands that are not only taking care of their own teams and suppliers but are also contributing to making the world a better place. A new partnership with B Lab will pursue collaborations around standards development and building network relationships.

The Fairtrade Foundation has seen a boom in demand for beauty products in 2021 and the charity believes that this growth has been partly bolstered by its Sourced Ingredient (FSI) certification model, giving companies greater flexibility to incorporate ingredients such as shea butter and olive oil into its product ranges.

Anna Barker, Head of Responsible Business at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “After the disappointment of COP26, shoppers are increasingly looking to businesses to act on their ethical and social concerns.

“We’re pleased that we can now facilitate this through our FSI certification model and offer Fairtrade ingredients to some of the lesser known, more niche commodities such as shea butter, allowing us to support some of these key, but often unsupported, supply chains within the cosmetics industry. The pandemic combined with the increasing effect of climate change put pressure on low-income farmers around the world, and many fear being further marginalised by the economic downturn in months to come.”

As climate change continues to escalate, Fairtrade has warned that consumers will increasingly demand companies focus more on sustainability. Shoppers are looking to brands to provide responsibly sourced and produced products they can feel good about purchasing. In 2021, 59% of Fairtrade shoppers[i] said they were willing to pay more for a product to ensure farmers and workers were paid a fair price.



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