Fair trade, the market

Fair trade food has a long track record of growth


Fair trade aims to help producers in developing countries to improve their living conditions and promote sustainability. It advocates the payment of a higher price to farmers as well as higher social and environmental standards. Nowadays, there are several recognised fair trade certifiers, including Max Havelaar and Fair Trade International. These are umbrella organisations whose mission is to set the fair trade standards and to support, inspect and certify disadvantaged producers and harmonise the fair trade message.

Fair trade corresponds to the real price to producers as it also includes a premium, used by the cooperative for projects to develop the community. Premium allocation, decided by the farmers, goes to community projects. Fair trade markets Fair trade products are now sold in over 125 countries. Around 80% of the 1,200 producer organisations worldwide are smallholders. This represents over 1.3 million farmers and workers in 70 countries. The estimated fair trade premium was €86 million in 2013. 55% of this fair trade premium on plantations was spent on direct support for workers and their families, while another 25% was spent on wider community projects such as education and health-related investments.

In Europe, fair trade has grown by 28% to €5.5 billion in retail value in 2013. Further growth is expected for the next few years. The UK is by far the largest market, representing €2 billion, followed by Germany (€0.55 billion) and France (€0.35 billion). Annual per capita consumption is the highest in Switzerland (€44 per person), followed by the UK and Sweden. The average in Europe was €12 per capita in 2012.
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