Man shopping at he Endangered Aisle for Fairtrade Fortnight 2023

Shoppers concerned over climate threat to favourite foods

Survey for Fairtrade Fortnight 2023 shows that consumers would be ‘devastated’ to lose their favourite foods to climate change, with many already adapting the way they shop.

60 percent of British people would be ‘devastated, annoyed or upset’ if chocolate was no longer available to buy in the UK. Over half (54%) would feel the same about losing coffee or bananas.

In new consumer research, conducted by 3Gem Research & Insights for Fairtrade Fortnight 2023, it was revealed that approximately 80 percent of UK consumers bought at least one bar of chocolate and at least one banana in their weekly supermarket shop, and drank at least one cup of coffee a day.

Yet all of these favourite foods are threatened by climate change – from rising temperatures to more extreme weather – as well as a loss of biodiversity thanks to deforestation and use of pesticides.

In fact, Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Ghana told us, during their last harvest, that they don’t see a future in the crop because it’s so difficult to grow.

However, the research, which polled 2,000 people in the UK, showed many didn’t realise the looming threats to our food.

  • 40 percent either ‘don’t care’ or ‘rarely check’ the country of origin for foods like bananas, coffee and cocoa
  • 37 percent are either unsure, or don’t believe, that climate change will affect their weekly shop

The cost of living crisis is also having an impact, with 43 percent saying that paying their energy bills is ‘a bigger concern to them than climate change and damage being done to the planet’.

Small changes, big impact

But that does not mean that people don’t care:

  • 38 percent are already making changes to their lifestyle and shopping habits to limit their impact on the planet
  • 64 percent either agree or strongly agree that ‘buying sustainably sourced food in the supermarket is a lifestyle change you can make to help protect food grown in countries at risk of climate change’.

In fact nearly half (44 percent) of people choose products that are sustainably sourced when they go shopping, whether these are Fairtrade, organic, vegan or locally produced.

And the good news is, this does not have to be expensive. Fairtrade products such as tea, coffee and bananas are available at affordable prices nationwide including in own-label discount ranges.

You can find many Fairtrade supermarket staples in our blog Are Fairtrade products really more expensive?

Fairtrade Fortnight Endangered Aisle illustration

This Fairtrade Fortnight, Fairtrade is highlighting these issues with our exciting Endangered Aisle pop up.

Open to the public from 28 February – 2 March, the store will bring alive the potential effects of climate breakdown on our weekly shop.

Find out more on our Fairtrade Fortnight page.

Why does choosing Fairtrade make a difference?

With Fairtrade’s support – including our Minimum Price, Premium, Standards and Programmes – farmers get better pay. The more money farmers have, the more they can build their resilience to the climate crisis.

Just look at Latin America and the Caribbean – in 2022, producers from more than 100 Fairtrade organisations across 20 countries planted more than 300,000 trees in six months.

This Fairtrade Fortnight we hope UK shoppers will back Fairtrade, and farming communities overseas. Together we can play our part in safeguarding their livelihoods, the future of the food they grow, and our shared planet. 

  • Photo: Kenny Akande, a visitor at The Endangered Aisle as part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2023. Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire.

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