Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Buyers Know How to Be Fair

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Buyers Know How to Be Fair

Article excerpt

Fairtrade Fortnight runs until March 19. Jane Hall looks at why Fairtrade is becoming a lifestyle choice for thousands of consumers.

It's ethically sound and good for the environment, but you don't have to be a holier-than-thou type or a modern hippy with an allotment and a lifetime membership of the Green Party to embrace Fairtrade goods.

Huge numbers of consumers are making conscious lifestyle choices and helping to expand the value of Fairtrade by a staggering 40% every year.

Sales of Fairtrade products rose from pounds 140m in 2004 to pounds 195m in 2005 and are forecast to increase again this year.

On the back of this, the first baby food bearing the Fairtrade logo has just been launched. The Plum Baby range made from organic mango, banana and quinoa grain from South America, marks Britons' growing appetite for healthy and ethically-traded products.

Available in six flavours, one of which is Fairtrade, from larger branches of Sainsbury's, its launch comes in Fairtrade Fortnight, during which shoppers are encouraged to regularly buy products bearing the logo.

"People are increasingly aware of global poverty, particularly following G8 and the Make Poverty History Campaign in 2005," said Mel Young, editor-in-chief of New Consumer magazine.

Mel says one of the easiest ways to do your bit is to look out for the 1,300 products which now carry the Fairtrade Mark ( including fashion items with the recent launch of Fairtrade Cotton, as well as coffee, fresh fruit, sugar, honey, rice, chocolate, wine, flowers and homewares.

"In a recent MORI 2004 poll more than two thirds of UK consumers said they are prepared to pay more for Fairtrade products," says Mel.

Big high street players such as Marks & Spencer and Topshop have now added Fairtrade fashion to their stores, while Virgin Trains is moving towards stocking only Fairtrade hot drinks.

"Awareness of the Fairtrade mark has also seen remarkable growth in the UK, with almost half of the population in 2005 recognising the mark," Mel said.

WHAT IS FAIRTRADE? In 1986 Max Havelaar [OK] launched the Fairtrade consumer guarantee label on coffee sourced from Mexico. …

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