Fairtrade products boom in Belgium despite economic crisis

Fairtrade products boom in Belgium despite economic crisis
Credit: Belga

The sale and popularity of Fairtrade products in Belgium experienced strong growth last year despite people facing a rising cost of living.

In 2021, Fairtrade products in Belgium generated about €3.5 million – 4.3% more than in the so-called "disaster year" of 2020, the organisation's results for 2021 showed. This money is paid in full to farmers' cooperatives and workers' organisations, often producing bananas, cocoa and coffee beans.

It can be used by local communities to invest in more sustainable production techniques or education for their children, for example.

"Fairtrade is more than just selling Fairtrade products. It is also about advocating for a better world and mobilising a movement around important human values," Nicolas Lambert, director of Fairtrade Belgium, said. Some 1.9 million farmers and employees are active in the Fairtrade system.

Chocolate, coffee and bananas

Especially when it comes to buying chocolate, people living in Belgium opt for fair trade products. The overall market share for chocolate with Fairtrade cocoa has increased to 15.4%, a rise of almost 7% compared to 2020.

Coffee and bananas, both "traditional" Fairtrade products, also performed well with market shares of 3% and 20% respectively.

Growing sales go hand in hand with overall improved brand awareness of the organisation, as a recent survey showed that 83% of Belgians now say they recognise the label, the highest level in years.

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The organisation has also managed to increase its partners on the Belgian market and has boosted lobbying efforts to mobilise businesses for a Belgian law regarding the sustainability of cacao within the Beyond Chocolate initiative.

"The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the pandemic, not to mention climate change, make it more difficult than ever for millions of farmers and workers in global supply chains," the organisation stressed.

In 2022, the Belgian branch of the organisation will focus on and how coffee farmers deal with these challenges, especially climate change.

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