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Fair Trade USA, a third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, and the National Marketing Institute (NMI), a consulting and research firm specializing in health and sustainability, have released data showing that 59 percent of U.S. consumers now recognize the Fair Trade Certified label. The two entities teamed up for NMI’s “The State of Sustainability in America” study, which comes out at the end of March.
As well as the rise in overall awareness – up from 55 percent in 2013 – the joint research found that almost 40 percent of the general population look for proof of social claims when buying products. Millennials are especially prone to such motivation: 70 percent are more likely to buy items from companies that support their preferred causes, versus 61 percent of the general population. Additionally, 65 percent of Millennials recognize the Fair Trade Certified label.
“Consumers want accountability, responsibility and sustainability from the companies with which they do business,” noted MaryEllen Molyneaux, president of Harleysville, Pa.-based NMI. “The Fair Trade Certified label allows shoppers to readily identify products that meet these criteria.”
Higher numbers of Fair Trade Certified products on store shelves have contributed to increased consumer awareness, with 133 new items launched since January 2016 alone, driven largely by growth in the mainstream sector. Last year, nearly 550 Fair Trade Certified CPG items were introduced. Among the new items are snacks made with Fair Trade Certified chocolate, beverages and skin care products.
“This growth in Fair Trade offerings indicates that consumers increasingly care about what happens at the other of the supply-chain — that the farmers who grow the foods they love can take care of their land, their families and themselves,” said Sri Artham, VP of CPG at Oakland, Calif.-based Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization. “It’s clear that the brands supporting Fair Trade are rewarded by consumers voting with their dollars.”