Brits spent £8.2 billion in 2018 on ethical food and drink, including organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified products.
Over the past five years, sales of ethical food and drink have shot up by 43% from £5.7 billion in 2013, according to the latest figures from Mintel. This year, sales are forecast to increase a further 4% to reach £8.6 billion.
While 49% of UK adults believe that their food and drink choices make a difference to the environment, slightly more (51%) disagree or are unsure whether or not this is true.
Cost remains a significant barrier: 70% of UK adults said eating sustainably or ethically is harder when money is tight. Confusion is having an impact too, with 60% finding it difficult to know the differences between the various sustainable and ethical schemes.
Free-range (66%) is the most widely bought food with an ethical certification; the claim is widespread in selected everyday categories like eggs and chicken. In fact, concern over animal welfare (45%) is the number one reason for buying any food or drink with an ethical certification.
Fairtrade is bought by 53%, whilst 49% and 30% purchase Red Tractor and organic respectively.