Fairtrade range gaining traction as demand for sustainable groceries rises

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Fairtrade range of products is increasing popping up in supermarket value ranges as the demand for affordable and sustainable groceries rises, state recent reports.

Marks & Spencer, the Co-op and Waitrose reportedly are now Fairtrade range, enabling shoppers to make a “small switch” to more affordable products.

There are now more than 6,000 Fairtrade products including coffee, tea, wine, sugar and chocolate but also clothing and beauty products. While Co-op is said to have expanded its Fairtrade range by a fifth over the past year, supermarkets Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s are also selling a bunch of Fairtrade products.

Asda and Amazon have added a tag on their websites for Fairtrade products so shoppers can search specifically for them.

Kerrina Thorogood, the Fairtrade Foundation’s commercial partnerships director, said “sustainability doesn’t have to be unaffordable for consumers”.

“Ethical consumerism in the UK has gone from a niche, fragile market to a robust, mainstream one, suggesting it is embedded in shopper habits and here to stay,” she said. “Despite the challenging economic context, UK consumers still largely expect businesses to do the right thing in terms of sourcing ethics.”

Retailers are seen supporting Fairtrade to cater to sustainability needs of the shoppers amid the cost of living crisis. In recent years, consumers have spent more on ethical products, with demand for plant-based foods as well as Fairtrade and organic ranges.

Increasing inflation rate said to have put sustainability on back seat. However, a recent a Fairtrade Foundation poll claims that three-quarters of UK shoppers buy the ethical brand.

Kerrina Thorogood, director of partnerships, Fairtrade Foundation, states that it seems this is a message that UK shoppers understand.

“Our latest consumer research (Kantar, 2022) 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 as they do another prominent food certification scheme.

“Elsewhere, Fairtrade consistently outperforms in other sustainability categories, including ‘paying a fair price to producers’ and being ‘ethically and responsibly sourced’, according to Kantar,” reports quoted Thorogood as saying.

The same data also shows that in 2022, some 77 per cent of UK consumers have chosen Fairtrade products over an alternative, while 76 per cent care about Fairtrade. This demonstrates shoppers’ ongoing commitment to, and demand for, sustainably sourced goods, says Thorogood.