Despite hard economic times, sales of Fairtrade products grew by 12% in the UK retail market last year. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, the value of Fairtrade products went from Â£1.17 billion in 2010 to Â£1.32 billion in 2011.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise considering the decline of the purchasing of organic products, but with rising costs, itâ€™s easy to see why organic is becoming less appealing for many (see Organic Sales Drop, Turning Farmers Away From Greener Methods).
Fairtrade, on the other hand, is increasingly sold by many supermarkets at the same price (or near) as conventionally produced products, making it more appealing.
The cocoa and sugar Fairtrade sectors have seen the most significant amount of growth, with a 21% and 34% increase over the year 2010. Several major retailers including Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose, Sainsburyâ€™s, and Tesco will be converting their stocks of bagged sugar to Fairtrade sugar from Tate & Lyle, the first major sugar brand to convert to Fairtrade in 2008. This will bring the UKâ€™s bagged sugar market to 42%, the largest single Fairtrade product.
While the UK is the largest market for Fairtrade products, only about 0.01% of all food and beverage sales globally are certified Fairtrade, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The trend is expected to continue as more retailers start incorporating Fairtrade into their products lines. Over time, wouldnâ€™t it be nice to see ONLY Fairtrade products in the market? Hopefully that will be the case over coming years if the demand continues to increase.
Do you make sure to buy Fairtrade when it comes to certain items, if the price is right?