Fairtrade product sales rose 12% worldwide in 2011 due to ethical sourcing commitments from the food and drink industry and increased consumer awareness.
Fairtrade International released its 2011 annual figures today and reported €5bn in global sales last year.
The organisation aims to secure a better deal for farmers in the developing world through its certification programme.
UK: the biggest market
As in 2010, retail sales for Fairtrade goods were higher in the UK than anywhere else in the world. Sales in the UK stood at €1.5bn, up 12% on last year with the market accounting for almost a third of global Fairtrade sales.
Vicky Pauschert, communications for Fairtrade, told FoodNavigator that UK demand was so high due to a strong grassroots movement.
Fairtrade is promoted in schools and universities and the organisation has set-up Fairtrade partnership towns linking UK consumers to producers in the developing world, she said.
Pauschert, said that the global rise of Fairtrade was largely down to commitments from major companies.
Almost half of all bagged sugar in UK stores will be Fairtrade certified following recent commitments from supermarkets and Tate & Lyle.
Cadbury/Kraft’s decision to certify plain Dairy Milk bars in June last year in South Africa also helped Fairtrade sales in that market to grow whopping 283%.
“Consumer demand in certainly on the increase,” added Pauschert.
“Even in the economic downturn people are still worried about where their products come from.”
Spain was the fastest growing market in Europe with sales up 39% to around €20m. However, Gudrun Schlöpker of Fairtrade Spain told this site that this growth was to be expected as the organisation only began work in Spain six years ago and it was one of its newest markets in Europe with room for growth.
Fairtrade certifies a range of products from fruit, sugar, cocoa, coffee and tea.
Volume sales of Fairtrade dried fruit and fruit juices grew dramatically in 2011, by 42% and 52% respectively.
Fairtrade certifies a number of supermarket own-brand fruit juices and also a range of products from drinks manufacturers such as King Juice.
Sales volumes of cocoa beans from Fairtrade certified farms grew 14% to 40,198 metric tonnes in 2011.
Leading chocolate manufacturers such as Ferrero, Mars and Nestlé have recently pledged to source more cocoa from third-party certified farms amid growing pressure over the use of child labour in West Africa from human rights groups and the EU. (See HERE )
Mars has committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa by 2020 and intends to collaborate with Fairtrade as a certification partner after recently certifying Malteasers with the organisation in the UK.
“We welcome commitments from big companies to source sustainably,“ said Pauschert.