Awareness of Fairtrade mark leaps

By staff writers
27 May 2008

Latest research commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation and launched to coincide with World Fair Trade Day, shows more UK consumers than ever before recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark.

The TNS CAPI OmniBus findings also show understanding of the concept behind the Mark has increased, with 64% of the population linking the Mark to a better deal for producers in the developing world. This means the message of Fairtrade is getting through, say campaigners.

The research shows it is also influencing everyday purchases throughout the country, with 1 in 4 of the UK’s shoppers now regularly buying several products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark. The trend is for more people to be buying more products more regularly.

"This research shows that the balance of public opinion is tipping in favour of Fairtrade where Fairtrade is seen as an integral part of a sustainable global future," said Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation. "More and more UK shoppers see Fairtrade as a simple, highly effective way to enable producers in the developing world to work their way out of poverty with dignity, receiving a decent return for their great produce and hard work."

"The challenge is now set for UK business to make more Fairtrade products available. There have been significant commercial developments in recent years – which have no doubt contributed to the visibility of the FAIRTRADE Mark and therefore the awareness reflected in this research – but there is a long way to go as producers in the developing world line up to be able to supply the UK Fairtrade market and UK consumers show their willingness to buy Fairtrade goods as they become available across sectors."

The findings, which exceeded the Foundation’s own expectations, are mirrored in the recently announced uplift in estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products, which increased from £286m in 2006 to £493m in 2007.

The Foundation puts the huge leaps in sales and awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark down to the vibrant grassroots social movement which underpins Fairtrade. Across the country, there are now more than 350 Fairtrade Towns, 4,000 Fairtrade Churches, 37 Fairtrade Synagogues, 60 Fairtrade Universities and a newly launched network of Fairtrade Schools, all campaigning to support and promote Fairtrade in their local area. This community level campaigning alongside the public education of the Fairtrade companies, such as new nut company Liberation, means the FAIRTRADE Mark is unique in the way it is backed by the public. This support, coupled with the uptake of Fairtrade by the big and mainstream companies, has made the FAIRTRADE Mark very well known.

"On World Fair Trade Day," continued Harriet, "we are calling on consumers, companies and politicians to step up the fight against global poverty through trade, and continue to tip the balance in favour of farmers from developing countries. With 2 billion working people earning less than US$2 a day and many of these producing the goods we put in our shopping baskets every day, it is critical to increase the momentum for change through Fairtrade in 2008."

The findings show the gap between people buying Fairtrade products regularly and occasionally has decreased since 2007 . The percentage of consumers who regularly or occasionally buy several Fairtrade products has gone up and the number of consumers who say they never buy Fairtrade products has also decreased. This indicates that people are no longer buying Fairtrade products as a ‘one off’ and are moving across sectors in their purchasing.

The survey also showed that recognition is highest with 35–44 year olds and fastest growing with 25–34 year olds. It confirms that more women than men recognize the Mark, reflecting the main shoppers in most households.

Coffee remains the most widely known Fairtrade product, followed by significant increases in awareness of Fairtrade tea, chocolate and bananas. However, recognition of the overall range of Fairtrade products has risen across most categories in 2008. Meanwhile, the figures for estimated retail sales for 2007 released earlier in the year showed Fairtrade bananas are the best selling Fairtrade product with sales topping £150m, an increase of 130% and Fairtrade coffee sales rose 24% to more than £117m. Items made with Fairtrade certified cotton increased from more than half a million to just under 9.5m units and Fairtrade tea rose 24% to just over £30m.

Demand for Fairtrade products has significantly increased across all sectors in 2008. In particular, the public’s appetite for Fairtrade products in schools, colleges and universities has nearly tripled from 10% to 29%. Demand for Fairtrade products in hotels and B&Bs has risen from 11% to 23% and in workplaces has more than doubled from 9% to 21%. People also want to see more Fairtrade available in cafes, restaurants and pubs (25% to 34%) and in local shops (20% to 32%) and on the move when travelling (14% to 25%).

World Fair Trade Day is an international celebration of Fair Trade internationally, with events organised worldwide. IFAT member organisations based in 70 countries, along with Fair Trade shops and networks, host events including Fair Trade breakfasts, talks, concerts, fashion shows and much more, to promote Fair Trade and campaign for justice in trade. The Fairtrade Foundation is a member of FINE, the umbrella body encompassing IFAT (International Fair Trade Association), FLO (Fair Trade Labelling Organizations International), NEWS! (Network of European Worldshops) and EFTA (European Fair Trade Association).

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