FLO said that sales of Fairtrade-certified sugar and cocoa saw the biggest sales increases last year, as several major confectionery manufacturers made commitments to source fairly traded ingredients, including Cadbury Dairy Milk, Nestle’s Kit Kat, and Green & Black’s, as well as the ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. Fairtrade cocoa sales were up 35 per cent in 2009, while Fairtrade sugar sales grew by 57 per cent.
CEO of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International Rob Cameron said: “As 2009 began in the midst of the worst recession in 70 years, we worried that Fairtrade producers could lose sales. Instead, consumers across the globe bucked the trend and proved their deep commitment to giving producers a fair deal. Fairtrade sales grew in all countries.”
The organization said that sales of Fairtrade herbs and spices also increased, and sales of coffee, the first certified Fairtrade product, grew at 12 per cent. The total amount spent of Fairtrade products during 2009 reached an estimated €3.4bn, FLO said.
Although consumers had become more price sensitive in the tough economic environment, the recession has not suppressed consumers’ appetite for ethically produced products, according to market research. The research firm IGD, for example, has said it expects British consumers to spend even more on Fairtrade products as the country emerges from recession.
In a survey conducted late last year, the organization found that 31 per cent of UK consumers said they intended to spend more on Fairtrade products in the future.
Fairtrade sales grew ‘exponentially’ in Eastern Europe, South Africa, and many countries in the global south during 2009, FLO said, and shoppers in the most established Fairtrade markets also increased their spending on Fairtrade products.
“The largest Fairtrade markets had strong growth: 14 per cent in the UK and 7 per cent in the USA,” the organization said.
An estimated 1.2 million farmers and workers sell through the Fairtrade scheme, with benefits including higher-than-market income and funds for development projects.