Shoppers expect business and government to make food fairer

Fairtrade shopping basket

  • Two in three people believe farmers are underpaid but 58% would pay more if they knew producers received fairer prices
  • Majority of public recognise that more must be done to ensure the future sustainability of food

A new survey, published today, 17 August 2016, has revealed that the vast majority of British consumers believe it is the responsibility of businesses and the government to make food fair.

The research shows 92% of shoppers said food companies should ensure food production is fair and sustainable, whilst 85% said they expected the government to take responsibility for this.

Consumers also want the people who grow their food to be protected from unfair trade such as low prices - 63% believe UK farmers and 64% believe that farmers in developing countries are underpaid for their produce.

Whilst two-thirds (65%) believe that responsibly produced food is more expensive, 58% would be willing to pay more if they knew products were delivering a better price and fairer wages for farmers and workers, closely followed by environmentally-friendly food production at 53%.

However, although consumers recognise a link between low prices and unsustainable food production, only 43% connect this with the future availability of food and 55% understand the risks posed by climate change to food supply chains are significant. However, three quarters of respondents (74%) agree that for future generations, we need to take some steps to ensure sustainable food production.

Shoppers believe that avoiding child and slave labour should be priorities for the government in improving food production, followed by food safety and safe working conditions for producers. 

Michael Gidney, CEO, Fairtrade Foundation, said:

“British people are giving a strong message to companies and the government about the kind of trade we want to see and now, more than ever, they must prioritise fairer, greener, more sustainable food production. Therefore progressive, responsible businesses will want to respond to their customers’ desire to see them treat farmers and workers fairly.

“And the public’s views on the importance of ensuring the human rights of farmers and workers is a clear sign to the government to prioritise these issues and improve working conditions across supply chains.”

Abbie Curtis, Senior Project Manager at GlobeScan said:

This research shows very clearly that British consumers expect businesses and government to take action to ensure the fairness and long-term sustainability of food production, both here at home and in developing countries. It is important for retailers and food companies, alongside government, to respond to this and take appropriate steps towards meeting these expectations.”

This research was carried out by GlobeScan, an independent research consultancy. Fieldwork was conducted in June 2016 via an online survey of 1,004 consumers in the UK, weighted to be nationally representative by age, gender and region.

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For more information, images or interviews, contact Martine Parry martine.parry@fairtrade.org.uk 020 7440 7695 / 07886 301486.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is a strategy consultancy specialising in stakeholder intelligence and engagement in the areas of reputation, sustainability and purpose. We help global companies, multilateral organisations and international NGOs build stronger, more trusting relationships with their stakeholders to deliver long-term success.

GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London, San Francisco, Cape Town, São Paulo and Hong Kong. For more information, visit www.globescan.com.

About the Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2015 exceeded £1.6 billion.