Fairtrade bucks economic trend with 19% sales growth

25 February 2013 

Sales of Fairtrade goods in the UK top £1.5 billion

The Fairtrade Foundation today launches Fairtrade Fortnight (Go Further for Fairtrade, 27 February to 10 March 2013) announcing soaring sales in 2012, showing public support for and business interest in Fairtrade goes on expanding and deepening. 

The Fairtrade Foundation’s new CEO Michael Gidney says:  “Fairtrade sales continue to confound expectation in the midst of the current tough economic climate. The UK public have developed a lasting appetite for food and goods traded on fairer terms with producers, and forward thinking businesses are responding energetically to this by providing a wider range of products.” 


Sales of sugar in 2012 grew 35%

Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2012 reached £1.57 billion, a 19% increase on sales of £1.32 bn in 2011. Cocoa, sugar and bananas have all seen significant growth at respectively 21%, 35% and 15% increase over 2011. Wine, gold and herbs and spices have all grown.  Areas that have remained steady include coffee, tea and cotton.  Critically, this means a significant increase in Fairtrade Premiums, the extra that producers receive for business or social development, in 2012 compared with 2011.


2012 saw several major initiatives in the chocolate category - Maltesers’ switch to Fairtrade, the introduction of Bubbly by Cadbury Dairy Milk, and the roll-out of the full range of Green & Black’s bars – that have resulted in the impressive growth of 21% in Fairtrade cocoa and also contributed to strong growth in Fairtrade sugar sales. Growth in sugar sales was further boosted by Morrison’s converting all their own label range to Tate &Lyle Fairtrade sugar and Ben & Jerry’s completing the conversion of their full range to Fairtrade. Bananas growth was mainly driven by the Co-operative switching all their bananas to Fairtrade.

Meanwhile, enterprising Fairtrade companies like Divine Chocolate, Cafédirect, Traidcraft and Equal Exchange have brought out many attractive new products and Fairtrade got another boost during the London 2012 Games when Fairtrade wine, tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar and bananas were served at all Olympic venues.

· People in the UK drank 2 billion cups of Fairtrade coffee, ate 1.3 billion bananas and drank 3.2 billion cups of tea in 2012!

· Britain leads the world on Fairtrade.  The Fairtrade system currently works with 1.24 million people - farmers and workers - across more than 66 developing countries

· 78% of people in the UK say that recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark (source: TNS 2012) The FAIRTRADE Mark is the world’s most recognized ethical label, according Globescan research conducted our behalf in 2011.

· 80% of people say it is important to them that companies contribute to poverty reduction and community development, according to Globescan researchconducted our behalf in 2011

· Fairtrade accounts for 10% of all tea sold in the UK , just over 27% of all roast and ground retail coffee is Fairtrade certified and  12% of chocolate confectionery sold in the UK is Fairtrade certified.  In the Hot Chocolate category, over 70% of sales are Fairtrade certified.

· Globally, Fairtrade producers received a total of approx 53 million GBP as additional Fairtrade Premium in 2010-11

Producers arriving to tour the country for Fairtrade Fortnight have been bemused to arrive in the UK a time when traceability and prices of food are being hotly debated.  Gerardo Arias Camacho, a coffee farmer from Costa Rica, says, “What really matters to me about the Fairtrade system, is that, when I sell my coffee, I feel I know who it is going to and people here also know that it is improving the lives of the farmers I work with, and our communities.”

The Fairtrade Foundation says 2013 is already off to a good start, with more businesses ‘going further for Fairtrade’ like Divine Chocolate launching their Bee Happy range,  the Co-operative switching all their roses to Fairtrade, and Kit Kat 2-finger going Fairtrade, nearly trebling the company’s purchases of cocoa and sugar on Fairtrade terms.

Michael Gidney, who took over as Chief Executive in November 2012, says the Fairtrade Foundation remains ambitious for the future, and today publishes the Fairtrade Foundation’s new three-year strategy, Unlocking the Power of the Many, to take the UK Fairtrade market beyond £2 billion by 2015. “Together – producers, businesses and the UK public – we hold incredible power to deliver even greater impact and wider change,” he says.  “Let’s use it.  Let’s unlock that power and change trade for good.”

Read more about the Make Food Fair campaign here