British shoppers want to know more about workers in poorer countries

From, published 25.08.09

” Despite the tough economic conditions at home, British shoppers are showing increasing concern over the welfare of people producing their food and groceries in developing countries.

Research released today by international food and grocery expert IGD shows that:

  • More than half (52%) of shoppers feel that the pay and conditions of people producing their groceries in poorer countries is an important consideration*
  • A further third (34%) would like these workers to enjoy good conditions even if they don’t normally think about it
  • Over half (54%) want to know more about the pay and conditions of food producers in poorer countries and a further 19% would like more information to be made available for others to scrutinise
  • Nearly three-fifths (59%) of shoppers claim to be active supporters of Fairtrade, buying products at least occasionally
  • Nearly one in ten (9%) claim specifically to choose stores with a wide range of Fairtrade products, and always buy Fairtrade when possible

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “Interest in social responsibility is still gaining momentum. The recession is prompting shoppers to seek out the best value but not by abandoning their values. Today’s technologies and instant news reports help to close the gap between consumers and producers around the world, heightening awareness and compassion.

“The resilience of the trend, even throughout a recession, sends out a strong message. Ethical sourcing is growing increasingly important for shoppers. That’s why it’s fast becoming a new competitive frontier for food retailers and brand owners.”

According to the Fairtrade Foundation, UK Fairtrade sales grew by 43% to £712.6m in 2008 and continue to grow in 2009.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fairtrade Foundation: “In the current global economic climate, farmers need Fairtrade more than ever. So it is reassuring that the IGD research shows consumers are still wholeheartedly backing a better deal for farmers and workers around the world, enabling them to survive this crisis and continue investing in stronger businesses and a better life for their communities. In tough times, people go back to their core values, people care about other people and Fairtrade gives them the chance to put their values into everyday action whenever they go shopping.

“This IGD research underlines that the public are giving companies permission to care. But credit is also due to these leaders – from dedicated companies like Cafédirect to major players such as Sainsbury’s who have taken the public permission and run with it.

“This is consistent with our own research which show consumers want business to build better and longer-term relations with the producers on whom they depend.”