Consumer Support for Fairtrade Products Remains Strong Despite Global Cost of Living

Consumers all over the world are staying loyal to Fairtrade as the most visible and trusted ethical label, according to recent research findings by GlobeScan and Fairtrade.

Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing more than two million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 37,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers, and advocate for a fair and sustainable future. GlobeScan is a global insights and advisory consultancy working at the intersection of brand purpose, sustainability, and trust.

Consumers Willing to Pay More for a Fairtrade Products

Close to three in five (56 percent) of shoppers surveyed in 12 countries said they were willing to pay more for a Fairtrade product, despite the increased cost of living. While consumers are increasingly concerned about rising food prices, small-scale farmers also face skyrocketing fuel, transport and fertilizer costs, putting their livelihoods even further at risk.

”It is encouraging that shoppers are staying committed to sustainability values even during hard times, to support farmers and workers getting a fair income,” said Sandra Uwera, global CEO of Fairtrade International. “The global cost of living crisis is squeezing both consumers and producers, but this survey shows that many people still put ethical considerations high on the list when they go shopping.”

Despite recent indications of an overall dip in consumers’ willingness to choose “purposeful” brands, Fairtrade appears to be bucking the trend when it comes to ethical shopping choices, with more people saying they regularly buy Fairtrade products than the last survey in 2021. Forty-four percent buy at least one Fairtrade product per month, up three percentage points from two years ago.

Continuing a trend seen since the first Fairtrade GlobeScan survey in 2008, trust in Fairtrade remains high. Just over 70 percent of those surveyed recognized the Fairtrade label, and of those, 86 percent said they trusted it – including three-quarters of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X.

Other highlights from the Globescan survey include:

  • Younger consumers (those aged 25-34) were the most likely to be willing pay more than regular price for Fairtrade products despite the increased cost of living.
  • Shoppers strongly associated Fairtrade with social justice issues such as decent working conditions, protecting farmers’ and workers’ rights, and tackling poverty.
  • 75 percent – including four out of five parents – said the Fairtrade label makes it easy for them to decide if a product is ethically and responsibly produced.
  • Consumers’ emotional connection to Fairtrade remained strong, and buying Fairtrade evoked a sense of being part of a community and pride for many.
  • More than one in five shoppers – a small uptick from previous years – associate Fairtrade with support for farmers to reduce the impact of climate change, reduce the impact of farming on the environment, and protect against deforestation (22 percent each), reflecting greater awareness of Fairtrade's actions in these areas of sustainability.

In addition, consumers overwhelmingly see added value for brands that carry the Fairtrade label. Seventy-nine percent stated they have a positive impression of a brand when the Fairtrade label is present, while 43 percent said their view of a brand would be negatively impacted if it stopped carrying the label.

“Despite the impacts of inflation on the average consumer [six in 10 people across the world say they have been “greatly affected” by cost of living], our research shows increasing concern about climate change and poverty,” said Caroline Holme, senior director at GlobeScan. “According to GlobeScan’s annual Healthy & Sustainable Living study, people want to have those big concerns reflected in the products they buy. And certifications such as Fairtrade continue to be critical to help consumers shop with their values.”

This year’s survey provided new insights into who consumers believe are most responsible for protecting human and environmental rights. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that governments were the most responsible for protecting human rights, followed by international bodies such as the UN or European Union (21 percent). When it comes to environmental protection, consumers again said national governments were the most responsible (25 percent), with large companies and individuals a close second (19 percent each).While shoppers didn’t see certifications as primarily responsible, they strongly associated Fairtrade with having impact on these issues, especially on decent working conditions and fair pay for farmers and workers.

“Farmers and agricultural workers are facing multiple crises, including spiraling inflation, lower real wages and the effects of climate change – while consumers around the world are also facing great uncertainty,” said Uwera. “These findings send a clear message that shoppers still want fair and sustainable options, and suggest that they see no short cut to a more sustainable future.”

The 2023 Fairtrade-GlobeScan consumer research was conducted in January and February 2023 in 11 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the United States. The sample for each country is nationally representative (as far as possible online). Quotas were set by age, gender, region, education and income. The final sample is weighted to reflect the general population as per the latest available census data.

A separate survey was conducted in India in August and September 2022, bringing the total number of participants to 11,217. The India sample is made up of consumers who fall within the A1 and A2 SEC (defined by education and ownership of durable goods). Quotas were set by age, gender and city so that the demographics of the sample are balanced and resemble the target population.

The research was partly funded by a grant from the European Union-Fairtrade Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), as part of the EU’s efforts to accelerate sustainable production and consumption by unlocking the power of producers and workers to drive inclusive trade and development through Fairtrade.

To learn more about Fairtrade International, visit

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