Special Report: Post Pandemic Trends 2021

Fairtrade cocoa demand increases during pandemic as more consumers make ethical choices

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Shoppers choosing Fairtrade products over an alternative is higher than ever, the organisation claims. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation
Shoppers choosing Fairtrade products over an alternative is higher than ever, the organisation claims. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation

Related tags Fairtrade cocoa coronavirus

A boom in consumer demand for Fairtrade products in 2020, including cocoa, is reflecting the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic has sparked an increased global consciousness, changing the way many of us eat, drink and shop.

The Fairtrade organisation said its purchases increased by 15% in the last year and almost 30% of consumers pledged to buy more Fairtrade goods in the future, according to Ethical Consumer’s recent Ethical Markets Report produced in collaboration with Co-operative Group in the UK.

Even pets are going ethical: Ben & Jerry’s now offer pet food made from Fairtrade ingredients in the US, a first for Fairtrade.

Fairtrade has also seen standout commitments from companies determined to lead the way in ensuring a living income for farmers. Tony’s Chocolonely and Ben & Jerry’s, for example, will pay significantly more than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, helping farmers become even more resilient. This is hugely significant, showing that another way of trading is possible, Fairtrade said.

Big spend

Sustainable grocery shopping has moved from being a niche market into an area of big spend, and is particularly apparent online – and shoppers choosing Fairtrade products over an alternative is higher than ever in Fairtrade’s history.

Catherine David, Fairtrade Foundation Commercial Director, said: "This is a heart-warming vote of confidence in Fairtrade from shoppers who clearly recognise the benefits of Fairtrade for the producers growing our food. The pandemic combined with the ongoing effects of climate change put enormous pressure on the most vulnerable farmers and workers in 2020, and many will be further marginalised by the economic impact in the months to come. Consumer support for Fairtrade continues to provide a vital lifeline to producers which will be more important than ever in 2021​."

According to high-end supermarket Waitrose’s ‘How Britain Shops Report’, over one in four shoppers were actively seeking out the Fairtrade logo when shopping online in 2020, particularly within the 18-24 bracket.

This rise in ethical consumption and choosing responsibly sourced products comes at a time when Fairtrade is needed by farmers more than ever, the organisation claimed.

Economic impacts

It said the economic impacts of Covid-19 on low-income communities overseas has shown why farmers need to be valued and fairly paid. The same is true as climate change continues to bring significant challenges to agricultural communities, including extreme weather damage to crops and farmland.

The annual Fairtrade Fortnight takes place between 22 February to 7 March and will mark the start of a new climate campaign asking the British public to get behind Fairtrade so that farmers overseas can benefit from fairer prices, fairer trading practices and the resources needed for tackling the climate emergency in low-income countries such as Kenya and Honduras.

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