Ethical food purchases set to rise

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fair trade Trade Food

UK consumers are likely to become more interested in purchasing ethically produced foods as the country emerges from recession, according to research from IGD.

Although consumers have become more price sensitive in the tough economic environment, the recession has not suppressed consumers’ appetite for ethically produced products, such as Fairtrade, free-range, and locally sourced foods. Looking forward to 2012, the latest survey from market research organization IGD showed that consumers intend to increase spending on locally and regionally sourced foods in particular, with 37 per cent saying they expect to be spending more on local foods in three years’ time.

Thirty-four per cent said they intend to increase spending on foods that boast high animal welfare standards, like free range or Freedom Food, and 31 per cent said they would spend more on Fairtrade products.

Although consumers are interested in purchasing more food on the basis of ethical values, more than half (54 percent) said they would be more careful with their money in the future, irrespective of economic recovery.

However chief executive of IGD Joanne Denney-Finch said​that being more careful is not about trading down.

“Almost half expect to enjoy a better quality of food by 2012, with only seven percent expecting it to be worse,” ​she said. “…It’s a challenge for the food industry but also a big opportunity.”

The survey consisted of 1,091 face-to-face interviews that took place in August 2009.

In an earlier survey from IGD, conducted in April and May this year, 52 per cent of respondents said they feel pay and conditions of people producing grocery goods in poorer countries is an important consideration when shopping.

According to the Fairtrade Foundation, the UK fair trade market was worth £712.6m in 2008 and it expects more growth even in the difficult climate of 2009.

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