U.S. leads in fair-trade consumption

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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LONDON — At about ₤455.3 million ($919.3 million) in 2007 sales, the United States has the largest fair-trade market of 11 countries surveyed by Datamonitor.

"Ethical consumerism will increasingly come to the fore as people shop for products they feel akin to politically, ethically and aesthetically," said Nick Beevors, consumer market analyst at Datamonitor. "Consumers will choose brands that are actively making a difference in a transparent and trustworthy manner."

Mr. Beevors said this is reflected by double-digit growth of 15.7% in fair-trade purchases between 2007 and 2012 in the 11 countries analyzed.

With ₤395.3 million in 2007 fair-trade sales, the United Kingdom came in behind the United States, followed by France, Germany and The Netherlands. The U.K. ranked highest in per capita spending on such products.

Datamonitor said environmental concerns represent the most important issue in ethical consumption today as consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about how their actions are affecting the world around them. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, drought in Australia and floods in the U.K. are making consumers more aware and concerned of climate change as well. In all countries, beverages represented the largest portion of fair-trade product sales.

"Fair-trade products meet both social and environmental standards set by the group, creating a fair deal for producers and minimal environmental impact," Mr. Beevors said. "Another important driver of fair-trade purchases is the perceived authenticity, detail and overall sense of provenance associated with such products. Consumers increasingly want to become engaged with issues such as origin and production details. Fair-trade labeling is something that gives them a degree of confidence over these issues."

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