Ethical products “too pricey” and untrustworthy, say shoppers

Almost half of all shoppers (45%) are put off buying ethical products because they’re too expensive. 

The survey of 2,000 consumers, commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation for Fairtrade Fortnight, also found that 16% of consumers shun ethical products because they “don’t trust claims” made about ethically-sourced products. The ethical credentials of a store are also unimportant to 51% of consumers.

The poll also showed that almost half of respondents (46%) were unaware of exploitation in the food chain. Around a quarter (26%) admitted to “never thinking about who produces their food and drink”, which marks a 3% decrease in thoughtfulness, said the foundation.

Still, Fairtrade sales increased 7% in the 52 weeks ending December 31st 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel data released this week.

Among the best performing categories was Fairtrade alcohol, with volume sales up 29%. This was driven in part by continued growth of Co-op’s own label Fairtrade wine as well as Tesco expanding their range of Finest Fairtrade wine.

The figures exclude out of home sales, through coffee shops and other outlets, as well as the impact of Fairtrade’s wider programme partnership work with companies such as Waitrose and Mondelēz.

It hasn’t been an easy year for the movement. The Foundation has been criticised for what some see as its “Fairtrade-lite” partnership with Mondelēz, whilst Sainsbury’s (the world’s largest retailer of Faitrade products) ditched the certification scheme on some of its teas in favour of an in-house version called “fairly traded”. A very public spat ensued.

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