Awareness and Trust in Fairtrade on the Rise

by Pippa Rogers

Since 2008 GlobeScan has partnered with Fairtrade to provide insight on consumers’ priorities, attitudes and expectations, the role of certifications, and the impact of the Fairtrade Mark. Tracking these consumer sentiments remains vital in a world where consumers face new challenges and increasingly demand better information on the impact of their purchasing choices.  

These strategic insights, both at global and national levels, allow us to track progress in key metrics such as trust and awareness, help inform our market positioning strategies to build and maintain trust, and provide direction on how to communicate with consumers and increase demand of Fairtrade products. 

GlobeScan conducted this year’s Fairtrade Consumer Brand study in twelve markets via an online survey, which included a nationally representative sample of 1,067 Canadians surveyed in both French and English. The survey data is weighted to reflect demographic composition by gender, age, income, and education, as per the latest available census data.  

This year’s data show that awareness of the Fairtrade Mark in Canada has seen impressive growth. With an increase of +15 percentage points, awareness has grown to 57% over 2021’s awareness of 42%, signaling that well over half of Canadians now recognizing the Fairtrade Mark. 

Trust amongst those who know the Mark has also seen an increase, moving +3 percentage points from 82% in 2021 to 85% in 2023. This bodes particularly well in a time where general trust levels in institutions have decreased amongst Canadians.  With the awareness and trust in Fairtrade on the rise, we see an evolving consumer market for sustainable brands.

The positive impact of the Fairtrade Mark on brands also continues to be strong. Four in five Canadian consumers say the Fairtrade Mark has a positive impact on their perceptions of a brand. Additionally, four in five Canadians who recall seeing the Fairtrade Mark are more likely to buy a product when they can see its origins, and a similar proportion agree that the Mark makes it easy to identify responsible products. Canadian consumers continue to have a strong preference for Fairtrade products over Rainforest Alliance on most key product categories. 

Visibility of Fairtrade products has significantly increased, with coffee remaining the most visible product at 59%, followed by chocolate/snacks at 39%, tea at 21%, and bananas at 17%.​ Purchase of Fairtrade products has also increased since 2021 up from 29% to 33%, trailing only five percentage points behind purchases from local farmers. With awareness and trust in Fairtrade on the rise, we hope to see more growth in the demand for Fairtrade goods in the Canadian market.

Consumers continue to demonstrate willingness to pay more for ethically sourced products, even in inflationary times. Seven in ten consumers who recall seeing the Mark would be willing to pay slightly more for ethical products​, with nearly six in ten consumers willing to pay more than regular price for Fairtrade products despite the increased cost of living​. 

Overall understanding of how Fairtrade benefits farmers and workers is strong, with at least seven in ten Canadians who recall seeing the Fairtrade Mark closely associating it with workers’ rights, fair prices and pay for producers​. Additionally, nearly eight in ten report that when they purchase a Fairtrade product, they feel they are standing in solidarity with farmers and workers and feel that they are part of a community standing up for fairness and justice. 

Globally, Fairtrade remains the most well-known and most trusted Mark.  

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Consumer Data Market Research