Fairtrade research finds a third of consumers overlook ethical Easter eggs over price assumptions

Fresh research from Fairtrade has found 31% of consumers are overlooking purchasing ethical brand Easter eggs on the assumption that they are costing more, which comes amid an ongoing cost of living crisis that has made consumers instinctively price-sensitive, reports Neill Barston.

The global social justice movement noted that with cocoa prices running at extreme highs, shoppers can help do their bit by making a genuine difference for farmers working the sector, as well as for the environment, through supporting brands and companies that are highly focused on sustainable sourcing practices.

As Fairtrade observed, in the UK alone, around 80 million Easter eggs are consumed, with 94% of people stating they buy at least one each year, though consumer research has revealed that taste and quality are the top considerations (for 47% of respondents), price (36%) and convenience (25%) also considered notable factors.

Clearly, from the many reports carried by Confectionery Production on the issue, shoppers are becoming more savvy to the provenance of their products, with (21%) of us are eager to support products made to a high standard. Additionally, 18% believe in the importance of fair pay for farmers, and a further 18% only buy products that reflect their values around sustainability and climate change.

Perhaps surprisingly, according to ethically founded global movement, one in nine (11%) reportedly don’t actually know what Fairtrade, which played a key role at our previous editions of the World Confectionery Conference, stands for in terms of its principles, while a further one in 14 wondering if it supports the farmers who grow cocoa.

Significantly, as the new consumer research revealed, while  children are well versed in the traditions of Easter egg hunts – with each youngster expected to enjoy up to eight easter eggs over Easter, almost half (46% of parents) have not talked to them about why fair terms of trade are so important, especially given the vulnerable position in which many farmers find themselves in West Africa.

One of the key markers that it has used to distinguish itself in the market has been the introduction of a Fairtrade premium, receiving an extra $200 per tonne of cocoa beans they sell. In 2018, more than £166 million of Fairtrade Premium was generated through sales and given back to communities.

2024 Easter offerings
This year, retailers in the UK are in fact stocking a wide range of Fairtrade confectionery produce, including this first for Aldi, as it unveils a debut ruby chocolate egg (below) in a striking geometric form,  as well as other brands including Tony’s Chocolonely delivering chunky Easter eggs, Co-op unveiling its latest salted toffee variety, Waitrose offering a classy pistachio flavoured egg, plus another distinctive offering from Cocoa Loco, producing a solid form Easter bunny.

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation commented: “If you’re planning to buy an Easter egg this weekend, make it a Fairtrade one. Cocoa farmers are facing a fourth successive year of crop losses caused by changes in climate. They tell us that it’s becoming very difficult to grow cocoa because rainfall patterns have changed, temperatures are rising and farming costs have gone up. When your crop fails, you lose your income. Fairtrade’s Minimum Price and Premium provide them with a safety net, with the aim of covering their farming costs and enabling investments so they can plan ahead and remain in business.

“Together, we can all help cocoa farmers become more resilient, one Easter egg at a time, by looking for the Fairtrade Mark when we are out shopping.”

As the organisation noted, in spite of producing three fifths of the world’s cocoa, many cocoa farmers in West Africa live below the extreme poverty line, with many earning less than $1 a day, and in light of cocoa prices touching $10,000 a day on the US stock exchange, agricultural communities within Ivory Coast and Ghana reportedly considering strike action over the extreme disparity in the financial rewards within supply chains.

According to Fairtrade, farmers in fact earn  only 6% of the final value of a chocolate bar on average, they have little negotiating power and yet bear most of the risk. Poverty means they struggle with deforestation, gender inequality, and exploitation.

In light of this, Fairtrade Foundation is petitioning the UK Government to deliver the promised funding and legal changes to new laws to protect forests and farmers. The move comes ahead of secondary legislation of the Environment Act, which will come before Parliament this year and outlines further details on deforestation.

Gidney added: “Under the banner of our 30th anniversary we will continue to advocate for climate justice. Our world is perhaps more dangerous now than it was 30 years ago: the climate crisis, global insecurity, rising costs and long-term low pricing continue to threaten farmers’ futures. That matters to us all.”

Fairtrade works to safeguard the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and any product bearing its logo must meet Fairtrade International’s rigorous standards. Fairtrade goods are also affordable and can be easily found on the high street.


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