Fairtrade sales up 12% to £800m despite tough climate

LONDON - Fairtrade sales were up 12% in 2009 despite the tough economic climate as shoppers increasingly turned to products approved by the only independent guarantee of a better deal for Third World producers.

Fairtrade Fortnight: asks shoppers to switch to Fairtrade
Fairtrade Fortnight: asks shoppers to switch to Fairtrade

Last year, sales of Fairtrade goods reached an estimated retail value of £799m and the Fairtrade Foundation also claims that 71% of people who do not already buy everything they can Fairtrade, are willing to swap one or more products during Fairtrade Fortnight which starts today (22 February).

The figures, compiled by YouGov, were taken from a sample of 3,359 adults online between 15 February and 7 February, commissioned by the Foundation.

Harriet Lamb, chief executive at the Fairtrade Foundation said: "2009 was a tough year for everyone, but a desperate year for many poor communities and small farmers in developing countries."

She added: "These challenging times have been a wake-up call and forward-thinking companies have also been re-evaluating their priorities, seeing sustainability as the way forward for business, building relations with producers and introducing many Fairtrade products in the past year."

Last year, large brands that have made the switch to Fairtrade have included Cadbury Dairy Milk, all Starbucks espresso-based coffee and Nestle's four-finger Kit Kat.

This week, Ben & Jerry's ice cream announced that it is going 100% Fairtrade in the UK and throughout Europe by the end of 2011.

In January, Green & Black's switched its entire range of chocolate bars and beverages to 100% Fairtrade by the end of 2011.

Last week, Sainsbury's claimed that it had become the "world's largest Fairtrade retailer", following a 10% rise in sales to £218m over the past year.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 is carrying the theme of ‘The Big Swap' to encourage consumers to swap everyday shopping basket items such as tea, coffee and chocolate, for Fairtrade ones during the fortnight.

Lamb said: "This extraordinary support for Fairtrade means we are well placed to make an even bigger difference in 2010. We are redoubling our efforts to expand Fairtrade to more producers, enabling them to sell more on Fairtrade terms."


View the gallery of some of the most actively engaged brands aligned with Fairtrade values here.

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