The UK has more consistent Fairtrade customers than any other developed nation, according to a global survey from the charitable organisation.
Despite the recession, the survey showed public support for Fairtrade goods was still on the rise worldwide, with shoppers increasingly expecting businesses to be more accountable and fair in dealing with producers in developing countries.
But support for the Fairtrade proposition was holding up best in the UK, despite the difficult economic times. Some 50 per cent of UK consumers say they purchase Fairtrade products regularly, at least once a month.
Sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40 per cent in the UK in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn, compared with £836m in 2009.
The global study of 17,000 consumers, carried out for Fairtrade International by international opinion research consultancy GlobeScan, also showed Fairtrade was the most widely recognised ethical label.
Nearly six in ten consumers, across the 24 countries surveyed, knew the Fairtrade certification mark — with 96 per cent of UK respondents stating they recognised it.
A total 83 per cent of UK consumers said they looked to companies they deal with to help in reducing poverty, through the way they do business; and 90 per cent of consumers trusted Fairtrade as an organisation.
Barbara Crowther, director of communications and policy for the Fairtrade Foundation, said, ‘People expect businesses to take their social and environmental responsibilities even more seriously.
‘More than that, it’s clear the public want to put the weight of their own shopping baskets behind Fairtrade’s principles of equity and justice in trade. Where they can, shoppers will reward companies that do the right thing’.