Demand for Fair Trade Products Surge Despite Recession

The world Fair trade day has rolled out again and it is on May 14th, 2011. A lot of people are often confused about environmentally-friendly products and fair trade products. Fair trade means a market-based approach which brings equity to the economy by helping small and medium producers in developing, under developed countries and to sell in big developed nations. The main motive of the Fair trade is to make sure that the producers get a higher, fairer price for their products. These products are then need to be certified and meet environmental and social standards of practice. Of course, fair trade products are a bit more expensive than the conventional products because of their quality. The demand for the fair trade products has seen a major drop during the recession and the industry was in turmoil. Many people believe that the Fair trade day will see a surge in the demand for the products. People should not ignore the fact that these products are produced by individuals who live in under developed countries and are sourced from farms. Under the fair trade policy, the products are manufactured in less labour intensive areas and also assure that the manufacturer is paid fairly for the products. From the consumer point of view, this will make them guilt free of buying products which are made under labour abuses.

Many countries are encouraging fair trade products and this has led to huge demand for the products until last year. However, there was a slight decline in the demand for the products. Developed economies like United States have increased their import of fair trade certified items and the consumers are receiving it with high acceptance. According to a report from Fair Trade USA (a leading third-party certifier of Fair trade products in US), the growth of fair trade products have seen a huge demand and increased brand recognition for the products. Some experts believe that even though the world economy is affected by the recession, there was a continued increase and Fairtrade USA has certified 62 percent of the coffee as organic. On the other side, the fair-trade farming communities has earned more than US$220 million as against US$56 million in 1998. This has also helped them to invest in community development programs like establishing high schools and providing access to education for their children, proper sanitary and medical care.

Witnessing this huge demand, Fairtrade USA has decided to increase the product expansion into both new and existing categories and include vodka, green peppers, apparel, spices, herbs and other extracts. Currently, there are nearly 9,500 Fairtrade-certified consumer products which are offered by more than 700 industry partners available in 60,000 retail locations in US. More than 92 new producers have joined the Fair trade system in 2010 which represents 140,000 farmers. According to recent estimates from SPINS (a natural products market research firm), sales of Fair Trade certified-products rose by 15.2% in the health food retail stores and 17% in conventional supermarkets.  Coffee and its substitutes, tea, cocoa, snacks and soap are the top categories.

This article is written by Susan, an Environmentalist by profession and prefers to wear ethically made silver and gemstone jewellery.