March 15th, 2012 | Published in Food Business
Food marketers should take note of how the rising growth of fair trade products. Sales of products with Fair Trade USA’s seal of approval for ethics and sustainability rose 75 percent in the fourth quarter of last year over the first quarter of 2011, according to a recent report by retail research company SPINS and reported in the Huffington Post. The spike in sales took place even though fair trade-certified products, about 95 percent of which are edible goods, almost always cost more than alternative items.
“[Recent growth] reflects consumers’ interest in being able to vote with their dollars to make every purchase matter,” Mary Jo Cook, chief impact officer of Fair Trade USA. Sales of fair trade-certified frozen desserts rose 394 percent and purchases of fair trade-certified snack bars climbed almost tenfold in late 2011. A major reason for the tremendous growth in sales is the recent embrace of fair trade by a few major brands, Cook said. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, committed to using fair trade ingredients and has slowly been moving toward universal adoption for all its products. That means that some consumers may have started to buy fair trade-certified products without realizing.