In a global survey of 11,150 consumers, which include 2,200 US consumers, Fairtrade America found 61% of consumers recognize the Fairtrade label, a 118% growth in awareness since 2019, Archila shared. In terms of Fairtrade label visibility, 48% of consumers found it on coffees, 31% on chocolate/cocoa, 27% on bananas, and 27% on teas, based on the 2023 data.
Overall, 72% of consumers said they trust the label, with 48% saying they had some trust in it and 38% of saying they had a lot of trust in the label. In terms of what the label represented, 77% of consumers said Fairtrade meant producers received a better price for their crops, 71% said Fairtrade products contribute to greater social justice, and 68% said the label supports farmers to reduce the impact of climate change on their livelihoods.
“We're really excited to build on that momentum in the US. We know that awareness and trust are continuing to grow. We know that our efforts to build consumer understanding are paying off, and the research also provides us a few critical pieces of direction for how to continue to build on that momentum and enhance partnerships.”
Consumers will pay a premium for Fairtrade, but product accessibility remains a challenge
Consumer are increasingly seeking Fairtrade products in retail and are willing to pay a premium for them, said Katie Kowalski, director of commercial partnerships for Fairtrade America.
“This isn't just happening in a vacuum within the grocery store. There is a real impact for your brand and your label. So, shoppers felt that Fairtrade has an overwhelmingly positive effect on the perception of brands that are certified, and we know that shoppers are taking that information to where they're shopping.”
Despite inflation, 67% of consumers agree or strongly agree that they would pay more for these products, Kowalski shared. Consumers have also increased the frequency of the Fairtrade products they purchase, with 91% of consumers who know of the Fairtrade label reporting occasionally or regularly purchasing certified items.
However, while consumers are more willing to buy Fairtrade products, they aren’t as accessible as consumers want, noted Kate Stritzinger, director of marketing and impact at Fairtrade America. In the survey, 40% of consumers said it was hard to find Fairtrade products in retailers, and 29% said they are not available in the places they usually shop.
At the same time, consumers want to hear about the farmers that grow the products, with 92% of them saying that they are interested in learning about the farmers that grow coffee, tea, chocolate, and fruit.
To tell the stories of these farms, Fairtrade Americas paints murals of individual farmers at specific retailers, hosts webinars with Fairtrade farmers, and engages consumers over social media platforms.
"We're meeting shoppers in stores. We're meeting them online and through trusted resources that they already are tapping into," Stritzinger said. "We're really proud of being able to meet folks where they are, and we are really excited to continue to adapt to the channels where they're continuing to grow and explore new places where they find information."