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Fairtrade in Spain hits €26m but still lags behind Europe

By Kacey Culliney , 01-Oct-2012
Last updated on 01-Oct-2012 at 13:07 GMT

Spain busy buying Fairtrade but activity is still a way off wider Europe
Spain busy buying Fairtrade but activity is still a way off wider Europe

Fairtrade sales in Spain hit €26m for 2011 but wider Europe is significantly ahead in both sales and awareness, according to a report.

The Spanish state report on Fairtrade showed that sales of certified and non-certified products surged 16.8% to €26m from last year with certified items representing just over €20m.

Food items represented 88% of overall value. Coffee led sales at €11.7m and confectionery was the second largest segment. Sales of Fairtrade certified sugar, candy, chocolate and ice-cream totted up to €7.3m in 2011.

Gudrun Schlöpker, communications officer at Fairtrade Spain, said there are around 70 brands offering Fairtrade products on the Spanish market.

“Of this, there are 40 brands licenced with us to sell Fairtrade certified products and these are predominantly Spanish firms or companies with operations in the country,” Schlöpker told FoodNavigator.

“But the European neighbours are doing much better. The central European Fairtrade market is far more established,” she said.

Spain: The younger market

This is predominantly a result of time, she said, as wider Europe has been active in Fairtrade for considerably longer than Spain.

The first certified product was brought to the Spanish market eight years ago, she noted, compared to 20 years ago in other European countries.

“This late activity in Spain was due to political development in the country,” she added.

Average expenditure per capita in Spain for 2011 was about ten times lower than wider Europe at €0.55 compared to €29 in Switzerland and €24 in the UK.

Despite this, consumer awareness is relatively strong across the country, with 45% aware of the Fairtrade label and what it represents, according to data from the association.

Pushing Fairtrade further

It is predominantly sales in retail and bigger channels that is driving growth, Schlöpker said, and “brands with more penetration in retail will help to drive sales further”.

“Consumers are looking for more ethical products and if they are readily available where they shop then the likelihood of purchase is far higher,” she added.

There are significant growth opportunities in composite Fairtrade products, particularly candy, cookies, chocolate and ice-cream, she said. 

What is a Fairtrade composite product?

These are products that contain a mixture of Fairtrade ingredients from developing countries and locally sourced European ingredients, as opposed to 100% Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade bananas are also a sector that can be driven forward, she said, along with other fruits and fruit juices.

“We currently have one fruit juice brand licensed with us and the product is very popular. There is clearly a market interest,” she said.

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