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Fairtrade has never been so popular, but a new survey* has revealed that consumers are confused when it comes to understanding the principles behind the Fairtrade mark.

More than 2,500 consumers took part in the survey, conducted online at

When it comes to understanding where the extra money paid for Fairtrade is spent, a staggering 80% of consumers think that brands carrying the Fairtrade logo work directly with growers, build long-term partnerships, and reinvest in grower training and development.

In truth, the Fairtrade Mark guarantees a fair and stable price for farmers and an extra premium to help improve their lives. Only a small number of brands go beyond the Fairtrade standard, including hot drinks company Cafédirect and Divine Chocolate. These organisations have direct relationships with their grower partners, which sees them hold shares in the company, sit on the Board of directors and have a say in how the business is run.

Shoppers are also bewildered when it comes to understanding how much money from each Fairtrade product goes back to the growers. 47% believe that the same amount of money goes back to, say, coffee growers regardless of which Fairtrade coffee product they buy.

In reality, companies that buy raw materials from the Fairtrade register are required to pay the minimum Fairtrade price, which covers growers’ costs of production and provides a social premium for investment in community projects. Brand owners whose products carry the Fairtrade Mark are not required to work directly with growers.

Zachary Dominitz, Head of Corporate Affairs, Cafédirect says: “We are proud of, and guided by, the direct, personal, long-term relationships we’ve nurtured with our grower partners over the last 17 years. In addition to paying above market prices, over the last three years we have invested on average 60% of our profits into training and development programmes for our growers, to help build their expertise. Fairtrade gives millions of small-scale farmers disadvantaged by the conventional trading system an opportunity to earn a decent living, but that is just a starting point, not an answer. We believe that we have raised the bar for Fairtrade, and urge other brands to follow our lead and help guarantee a sustainable future for growers and communities around the world.”

In total, 87% of respondents bought Fairtrade every week or every month, supporting figures from the Fairtrade Foundation, which show that sales of Fairtrade products have increased by 40% or more each year, to an estimated £430 million in 2007.

A resounding 86% of consumers said “yes” when asked whether they would pay a few pence more for quality Fairtrade products.

*Survey sponsored by Cafédirect and conducted independently at, February 2008

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 25th February-9th March 2008


For further information please contact Rosie Watson/Gerri McNally
FML Public Relations
Tel: 01273 834716

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