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Shoppers increasingly opting for Fairtrade products

Published:  23 July, 2008

Interest in Fairtrade products has doubled in the last five years, new figures show.

Nearly a quarter of shoppers saying they have recently bought Fairtrade products, up from 11% in 2003, a report by analysts IGD suggests.

IGD predicts growth in annual Fairtrade spending will average 11% over the next five years to total 585m by 2012.

"People are taking a renewed interest in where their food comes from and how it is produced," explained Gerardine Padbury, senior consumer analyst, IGD.

Padbury said Fairtrade sales were likely to remain strong in an economic downturn, with only 6% of shoppers saying they will cut back on ethical purchasing because of a tighter household budget.

"Ethical shopping is one of the big growth areas in the UK, with sales of ethically-branded products outstripping conventional products," she added.

"But there is no single ethical consumer, and each shopper is placing a different emphasis on environmental, social and economic issues. This presents both challenges and opportunities for retailers and suppliers."

"Many have responded rapidly to consumer concerns, especially through high-profile, flagship Fairtrade products such as chocolate, coffee and bananas.

"Fairtrade is also branching out into other products such as flowers, wine and even footballs.

"Ethical shopping is moving into the mainstream as shoppers' become increasingly informed about how food is produced."