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Wine key driver of Fairtrade sales

Published:  12 March, 2018

Alcohol has, albeit from a small platform, emerged as a key driver of Fairtrade with UK consumers showing increasing support for drinks accredited as such.

In the past year, Fairtrade alcohol sales in the off-trade were up 30.7% to £94 million compared with a 7.2% increase for the total category to £840 million, according to Kantar Worldpanel (year to December 31, 2017).

The data also shows Fairtrade alcohol putting in a stellar performance in terms of volume, growing well ahead of the total market with sales up an impressive 29% compared with a mere 2.5% for the entire category in the same period.

The obvious choice due to its provenance, with very few spirits and beer brands having gone down the route, Fairtrade alcohol is overwhelmingly made up of wine, and The Co-op is leading the way.

In the past year alone, the retailer said volume sales of its own-label Fairtrade wine rose by 9% and, keen to keep the momentum going, The Co-op is not planning on “sitting still” this year, with “exciting developments” in the pipeline for the first six months of 2018, which the retailer said will act as a step-change to its involvement in Fairtrade.

“Producers, particularly those in South Africa, are really beginning to engage with Fairtrade standards due to the benefits it brings them, and with some major brands and producers now on board there is a Fairtrade wine presence on UK shelves of a scale not previously seen,” said Co-op wine buyer Ed Robinson.

Fairtrade wines attract more customer loyalty than others stocked by The Co-op, he added. “Customer engagement is at an all-time high and we are seeing a strong and growing bond between our Fairtrade wine projects and our customer base,” he said.

Echoing this, the Fairtrade Foundation said that in line with increasing consumer demand, it is seeing a range of products at various different price points becoming available in store across the country.

“This is not only great news for consumers but also for Fairtrade wine producers and workers who will benefit from a fair price for their efforts as well as the additional Fairtrade premium, which they can invest in their businesses and community,” said Sarah Singer, wine supply chain manager, Fairtrade Foundation.

“It is wonderful to see the Fairtrade wine market growing year on year in the UK,” she added, pointing to plenty of scope for further growth with alcohol currently only accounting for 11.2% of total Fairtrade value sales (Kantar Worldpanel).