Consumers Hot for Fair Trade Coffee

Aug 07, 2002

Fair trade coffee sales make up less than one percent of the market but sales are growing despite an oversupply of beans on the market.

Consumers, some at least, appear willing to pay substantially more for coffee if they know that the higher price translates into better economic conditions for the coffee farmers.

According to Reuters, “coffee producers can sell their beans with the ‘fair trade’ label for at least $1.26 a pound, more than twice Tuesday’s New York September coffee price of 47.35 cents a pound (45 kg).”

“Officials say shoppers in North America and Europe are increasingly willing
to buy fair trade goods. Worried their hamburger might give them mad cow disease
after recent scares in Europe, or that their sneakers were made in an Asian
sweatshop, consumers are more and more discerning and willing to pay a bit extra
for products with the ‘fair trade’ label.”

Moderator’s Comment: Should retailers require manufacturers
to supply fair trade product? Will consumers that say they want to buy fair
trade items change their minds once their shopping bills increase?

We would stop short of requiring but the philosophy behind
fair trade is worthy of support. It was said that consumers would not spend
more for organic products. Many do. [George
Anderson – Moderator


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