Sainsbury’s has become the world’s biggest retailer of Fairtrade products, it announced in February. Almost one in four pounds spent on Fairtrade in the UK are spent at a Sainsbury’s store.
The retailer generates a Fairtrade premium of $16 million, more than any other retailer. Gwyn Burr, Sainsbury’s customer director, said: ‘We sell over 650 million bananas a year, or 1,200 a minute, which means a total Fairtrade premium to banana suppliers of £3.9m ($6.16m) per year benefiting small farmers, farm workers and farming communities.’
Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘We look forward to working with Sainsbury’s in 2010 and through the next decade so that together we can tip the balance of trade in favour of disadvantaged producers.’
The Fairtrade market has been growing by an average of 50% per year since 1997. According to Mintel, the UK remains the biggest market for Fairtrade goods, with 18 million consumers regularly buying Fairtrade. In 2009, sales grew by 15%, defying the recession unlike many other ‘premium’ products. Brands are increasingly making the transition, with KitKat recently announcing its intention to go Fairtrade in 2010.
The brand has been the subject of criticism, however, with some suppliers saying the relatively small market for Fairtrade goods does not provide enough cash to make a real difference, with others citing the difficulty of making sure the premiums reach their intended recipients.
Source: International Supermarket News