Fair prices, living income & improving farmer livelihoods: Consumers see Fairtrade as reflection of personal values

A woman coffee farmer picking coffee cherries in Indonesia

A multi-country survey shows that a majority of shoppers, including those in Australia and New Zealand, are familiar with the Fairtrade Mark and believe it reflects their personal values.

Of those consumers to have seen the Fairtrade Mark occasionally or often, a significant proportion (87% in both Australia and New Zealand) have trust in the Fairtrade Mark and closely associate it with providing fair prices, a living income and helping farmers to escape from poverty – attributes which are all crucial to building trust.

Coffee is the most visible Fairtrade product across the eight countries surveyed, followed by bananas, chocolate and cocoa

Despite the fact that domestic coffee consumption in Australia has steadily declined, Fairtrade certified coffee has grown 12.5% in volume over the last year.

A ratio of approximately one in two Australians recognise the Fairtrade Mark. Of the Australian consumers to have seen the Mark, 78% agree the Fairtrade Mark has a positive impact on brand perceptions.

The report’s findings indicate that the Fairtrade Mark enables consumers to easily decide if a product has been responsibly sourced, and that the Mark on a product represents something they can be proud to be seen with, which reflects their personal values.

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson said: “The data sends a very compelling message to companies that there is a strong body of shoppers who identify with the values of Fairtrade and want business to play fair. People now expect businesses to take their social and environmental responsibilities seriously. More than that, it’s clear that a significant segment of the public back Fairtrade’s rigorous, transparent system to deliver equity and justice in trade.”

The comprehensive cross-continental study of 9,200 consumers was carried out for National Fairtrade Organisations across eight countries by international research and advisory consultancy GlobeScan.

In New Zealand, Fairtrade’s help for farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change is an important driver of consumer trust in the Mark. 

The results suggest that people want to be able to make the simple direct link between buying Fairtrade products and helping farmers deal with climate disaster.

The report demonstrates that Fairtrade is the most trusted ethical label in New Zealand, with three out of four Kiwis indicating the Fairtrade Mark has a positive impact on brand perception.

“Consumers associate Fairtrade with fair prices, living income, good working conditions, and support for farmers in developing countries. Where they can, shoppers will reward companies that do the right thing”, Harriss Olson concluded.

GlobeScan conducted the Fairtrade Consumer Perceptions survey between January and March 2019 in eight markets: Australia, Canada, Germany, India, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK and USA.