Shoppers Understand Fair Trade

Articles
November 09, 2010

Shoppers Understand Fair Trade

Fair trade products are popping up more and more on supermarket shelves these days from coffee to tea and chocolate to even flowers.

Fair trade products are popping up more and more on supermarket shelves these days from coffee to tea and chocolate to even flowers.
 
Last month, Fair Trade USA focused on its consumer education efforts with Fair Trade Month – a social media, grassroots campaign calling on supporters to raise awareness and build demand for Fair Trade. Advocates organized thousands activities café crawls to festivals building awareness to its benefits.
 
The Lempert Report joined in on the action, we wanted to gauge consumers comprehension of fair trade. The principle that defines fair trade is of course, “fair price” where democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum and fair price.
 
Fair trade also includes “fair labor conditions” such that workers enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages and promotes community development.  
 
So do consumers really understand all that? Retailers take note: 60 percent of respondents felt that they knew exactly what fair trade means. A whopping 79 percent said fair trade meant that farm workers were paid living wages in return for implementing sustainable agriculture techniques.
 
Grasping the concept of fair trade is one thing, but are they willing to spend more? They say yes - over 80 percent of the consumer panel said they would pay more for fair trade products; whether they actually would or not is the question.
 
In terms of the benefits of fair trade that matter most to consumers, 47 percent say fighting poverty, 31 percent say building sustainable businesses and 14 percent say protecting the environment.  
 
Fair Trade USA has done a terrific job on coffee and chocolate in particular, the question is whether the Fair Trade movement can successfully be communicated and executed throughout the supermarket.