U.K.: Strong appetite for Fairtrade but more grocery partnerships needed
As thousands of people get behind Fairtrade Fortnight (Feb. 29 - March 13) in the U.K., positive volume growth in four out of the five main food categories sends strong signals that shoppers and businesses are backing Fairtrade.
Despite a tough grocery market, there has been growth in the banana category (5%) and cocoa products (6%), while coffee volumes have increased 12% and tea 3%.
"These figures show that British shoppers remain committed to Fairtrade, despite the turbulence in the grocery market," says Fairtrade Foundation CEO Michael Gidney.
"That’s good news for those businesses offering Fairtrade products.
"We’re delighted to see increases in most of the categories for which Fairtrade is best known, this means more producers are getting a better deal for the grow for us."
Increased volumes will lead to greater financial premiums to Fairtrade farmers and workers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
In real terms, the growth in volumes means that in 2015, the U.K.’s appetite for Fairtrade bananas led to more than 88 million being eaten.
The foundation says further business commitment are expected to be made during the fortnight and later this year, and cites 2016 as the first full year of sales of Mars Bars sourced with Fairtrade cocoa, which first hit the shelves in the fall of 2015.
Over the next two weeks thousands of activities are planned in local communities, shops, cafes, workplaces, schools and faith networks.
Farmers from Colombia, India and Kenya will be touring the U.K. meeting local businesses and the public to highlight the impact of Fairtrade in their local communities as well as the challenges they continue to face.
Kicking off yesterday, the annual campaign has the theme ‘Sit Down for breakfast, Stand Up for Farmers’, highlighting the levels of food insecurity experienced by millions of smallholder farmers and workers producing the foods that make their way to British tables every day.
During the campaign, the Fairtrade Foundation’s new 2016-2020 strategy ‘Changing Trade, Changing Lives - Fairtrade Can, I Can’, will also be launched. It includes aims to drive transformative change in five focus commodity sectors (bananas, cocoa, tea, coffee and flowers) and improve income and delivery of living wages, as well as innovate together with businesses to deliver deeper impact through new partnership and programs.