Fairtrade products on the rise in Belgium, but more work is needed

Fairtrade products on the rise in Belgium, but more work is needed
© Belga

Belgians are turning more and more frequently to products bearing the Fairtrade label, but the scope for improvement was still enormous, according to Fairtrade Belgium.

Last year, sales of such products grew by 24% as well as achieving a deeper market penetration in Belgium. But while bananas were the Fairtrade certification mark's spearhead the drive, other items - mainly coffee and chocolate - are still struggling to make a niche for themselves in the global supply chain, according to figures published on Friday.

These products' growth reflected both "consumer demand for more ethical products and the growing commitment of the industry and large retailers," Fair trade Belgium commended.

More than three quarters of Belgians purchased products with the Fairtrade label and 70% of them would like to see a greater variety on sale, according to the association. The increasing selection of products on sale has contributed greatly, although the three best sellers coffee, bananas and cocoa-based products remain the same.

There is, however, enormous room for improvement as far as Fairtrade Belgium is concerned. "In termes of market share, if nearly one banana in five was Fairtrade in 2018, coffee and chocolate have not yet reached the 5% mark," the association emphasised. What is required today is "a growing involvement of brands, suppliers and the political world," notably to "stimulate demand by increasing public awareness," according to Nicolas Lambert, director of Fairtrade Belgium.

"It is important because certified producers can currently sell only some of their produce under Fairtrade conditions. So, the impact is watered down because the remaining produce must be sold under conventional conditions, with no minimum price guarantee or additional premium."

The Brussels Times

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