British shoppers want cheaper fair trade products, survey finds

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New shop-led research has found that 41% of consumers would buy more fair trade products if there were greater choice, with the majority of respondents unaware of the environmental benefits of the fair trade system.

A survey, conducted by British gift shop Paprika among members of the public, asked shoppers questions about the ethics of companies and fair trade shopping.

While 72% of people were aware that fair trade farmers are given a fair wage, the majority ignore that the certification also considers the environmental sustainability of production as well.

The survey found that 58% of respondents had not bought a fair trade product in the past because of its cost, while 35% pointed the lack of choice as a reason. Overall, 78% of people said that they have refused to buy a product on ethical grounds at least once.

However, 41% said they would buy more goods if there was more choice available and 36% said they would do so if products were cheaper. Nevertheless, the survey found that many people are willing to pay a little extra if they know that a product is ethical.

The research also looked at what people think to be the most and the least ethical brands, banks or retailers, with 38% saying the Co-operative Food is the most ethical supermarket and 35% indicating Co-op Bank is among the better banks.

In 2012, the UK’s ethical consumer market grew by 12%, with the sector worth £54 billion. The Fairtrade Foundation also reported that sales of fairtrade products grew by 14% in 2013, rising from more than £1.5 billion in 2012 to £1.78 billion last year.

Photo: lilivanili via Flickr

Further reading:

Fairtrade Fortnight: sales of Fairtrade goods hits new £1.78bn record

Ethical consumer market grows to £47bn despite recession

One in four people happy to spend more on ethical products

Ethical consumer market now worth £54bn in the UK – up 12% in 2012

The Guide to Sustainable Spending 2013