Washington — Fairtrade America has released five key trends that will impact how brands source ingredients and work to have a larger impact on people and the planet in 2022.
The third-party certification organization notes that shoppers are increasingly looking for ethically sourced products, with more than half of respondents to its biennial Fairtrade Consumer Insights report confirming they have changed their purchasing choices within the past year to make a difference on economic, social, environmental or political issues.
Fairtrade America predicts this consumer attitude will play out in the following ways in 2022:
Consumers will continue to demand companies focus more on sustainability. As climate change continues to worsen, consumers are looking to brands to provide sustainably sourced and produced products they can feel good about purchasing. In fact, more than a quarter of consumers say they always or usually base their purchases on sustainability, which is an increase of 11 points over the past 14 years and up 4 points from 2019.
Advocacy for human rights and fair wages will go global in scale. In 2021, 73 percent of Fairtrade shoppers were willing to pay more for a product to ensure farmers and producers were paid a fair price; specifically, up to 35 percent more per pound for Fairtrade coffee and 30 percent more per bar for Fairtrade chocolate. About three quarters of consumers familiar with Fairtrade agree that when they buy certified products, they “feel part of a community standing up for fairness and justice.”
Fairtrade America points out large companies are re-examining their supply chains to ensure they are meeting these consumer demands. Earlier this year, Unilever announced a commitment to ensuring that workers who directly supply its goods and services across 190 countries will receive a living wage by 2030.
Shopping for everyday goods online will remain the new norm. While the world is slowly reopening amid the pandemic, COVID led more U.S. consumers to make purchases online, and that is a trend that will continue into 2022. In 2020, U.S. ecommerce grew by 32.4 percent with a total spend of $791.70 billion, according to Digital Commerce 360. This digitalization makes it easier for shoppers to compare products and learn whether or not a company’s sourcing and manufacturing practices align with their values.
Shoppers will seek out organizations and companies that promote gender equality. Frequent Fairtrade shoppers care more than average about women’s causes, according to GlobeScan survey data, which the organization notes is not surprising given that female producers worldwide are still fighting for equal rights and opportunities. A large proportion of the world’s food is farmed by women, yet there is a significant “gender gap” in agriculture leaving female farmers with less access than their male counterparts to resources like land, information, credit, training and supplies.
More mission-focused brands + brand transparency. There is a clear consumer desire to support brands that are not only taking care of their own teams and suppliers, but also contributing to making the world a better place. A study by Zeno Group found that consumers are up to six times more likely to buy from companies with a strong purpose. Additionally, 71 percent of consumers indicated that traceability is very important to them and that they are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide it, according to IBM Research Insights. This means companies have an opportunity to attract new customers and drive loyalty with existing shoppers by authentically developing a transparent supply chain and by celebrating how they work to benefit people and the planet.
While many companies today are mission-based, larger organizations are also meeting this consumer demand by partnering with Fairtrade to certify new product lines and/or ingredients. For example, Russel Stover Chocolate recently released Joy Bites, its first-ever collection of no-sugar-added chocolate bars crafted with Fairtrade certified cocoa that comes in 100 percent recyclable packaging with FSC-certified outer sleeves.
“We are energized by how consumers are showing a readiness to advocate for people and the planet through their own everyday choices,” says Peg Willingham, executive director, Fairtrade America. “At Fairtrade America, we will continue to partner with and support companies who want to balance the power of global trade to benefit the farmers and workers behind our favorite products, and I’m looking forward to seeing how brands take on this cause in 2022 and beyond.”