Fair Trade Sales Surge

UK shoppers spent 12% more on Fairtrade-certified products in 2011 than they did in the year before, according to figures released on 17 July by Fair Trade International. The UK is the world’s biggest market for fairly traded goods. 

The surge is part of a general increase in shoppers opting for Fairtrade-certified products with sales of almost €5 billion (£3.85 billion) worldwide in 2011.

Coffee sales led the increase (up 12% year on year), followed by cocoa (up 14%), bananas (9%), sugar (9%), tea (8%) and flowers (11%). More than half of all bananas bought in Switzerland now bear the Fairtrade mark, and in the UK almost half of all bagged sugar in shops will be Fairtrade-certified following the decision of Morrisons supermarket to convert its entire range of sugar to Fair Trade.

The pattern is not restricted to rich Northern countries. South Africans spent more than three times more on Fairtrade certified products in 2011 than in 2010, including products grown in their own country. South Korea, in its first year with a national Fairtrade organisation, registered sales of £13 million.

'The news that the UK is the largest market for Fair Trade goods is unsurprising, with many becoming conscious of the impact that fair pricing has on livelihoods, health and education to producers and their families in the developing world,' said Martin Rhodes, Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum.

Though there were no separate figures for Scotland, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum sees today’s announcement by Fair Trade International as highlighting the way that Fairtrade is becoming the norm among consumers.