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Fair Trade is Hot!

Fair trade hits the spotlight! The fair trade product range in supermarkets is increasing rapidly. Fair trade coffee, fair trade tea, fair trade bananas, fair trade chocolate; these are just a few examples of fair trade products in supermarkets. And supermarkets are keen to profit from the positive image, which fair trade products seem to have nowadays. Fair Trade was formerly something that was only meant for ‘new-age-hippies’, but now it seems to be hot to buy a fair produced and manufactured chocolate bar. It is actually almost ‘not done’ if chocolate is not produced from ‘fair’ cocoa and does not have a ‘seal of approval’ on its label.

Are all Fair trade products organic?

Fair trade means fair trade and focuses on a fair price. Producers – mostly farmers – are being paid a proper wage in the country of their origin. There are agreements on price security and stability. Often customers get all advantages concerning low prices whereas farmers are left behind in poverty. Working in a ‘fair trade’ way makes it possible to pay an honest price and to grant a deposit, which producers can invest in their production chain. Sustainability is a high priority and in the production only takes place on local, social and environmental conditions. Fair trade products are not necessarily organic, but according to several Fairtrade models, fair trade has, in addition strict social requirements, also strict environmental regulations “that guide farmers’ towards organic farming. The fair trade model focuses on investments ‘in a sustainable future in which organic farming is an important endeavor.’

Sales fair trade products increases

The modern consumer seems to have found his social conscience. This can be measured from his purchasing behavior. According to a study, 55% of the consumers buys at least one fair trade product a week. In 2008 that percentage was much lower (30%). Figures from Fairtrade International show that the turnover of fair trade food worldwide has increased by 12%. In Europe, sales increased even with 20%, despite the economic crisis of the last years. Recent research (Food for Food and Intromart GFK) also shows that over 80% of EU consumers value on fair trade, organic and / or locally produced products.

Are fair trade products less tasty?

Surveys (NCDO, Max Havelaar and Fair Trade Original) show that the purchasing behavior of consumers is most strongly determined by idealistic motives, but the quality and taste are the most important second reason for choosing products from fair trade. More than 87% of the consumers who buy fair trade food, indicate that the taste of fair trade coffee is the same or even better than “non-fair trade coffee”. In recent years, big food businesses, bars and restaurants (e.g. Starbucks) switched in completely or partially to fair trade.

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