Study: Consumers ‘would pay more’ to make food fairer

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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Study: Consumers ‘would pay more’ to make food fairer

Majority of shoppers would pay higher prices at the supermarket checkout to ensure fairer returns for producers

Study: Consumers ‘would pay more’ to make food fairer

Downward price pressure in British retailers has squeezed some producers

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A survey has revealed that over half of consumers would be willing to pay more for their groceries if they knew products were delivering better returns for farmers and their workers.

The survey, published on 17 August, showed that 58 per cent of shoppers would be prepared to pay more if they knew products were delivering a better price and fairer wages for farmers and workers.

Consumers want the people who grow their food to be protected from unfair trade such as low prices – 63 per cent believe UK farmers and 64 per cent believe that farmers in developing countries are underpaid for their produce.

And the overwhelming majority of those surveyed (92 per cent) said food companies should ensure food production is fair and sustainable, whilst 85 per cent said they expected the government to take responsibility for this.

However, although consumers recognise a link between low prices and unsustainable food production, only 43 per cent connect this with the future availability of food and 55 per cent understand the risks posed by climate change to food supply chains are significant.

However, three quarters of respondents (74 per cent) agree that for future generations, we need to take some steps to ensure sustainable food production.

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “British people are giving a strong message to companies and the government about the kind of trade we want to see and now, more than ever, they must prioritise fairer, greener, more sustainable food production. Therefore progressive, responsible businesses will want to respond to their customers’ desire to see them treat farmers and workers fairly.

“And the public’s views on the importance of ensuring the human rights of farmers and workers is a clear sign to the government to prioritise these issues and improve working conditions across supply chains.”

Abbie Curtis, senior project manager at GlobeScan added: "This research shows very clearly that British consumers expect businesses and government to take action to ensure the fairness and long-term sustainability of food production, both here at home and in developing countries.

“It is important for retailers and food companies, alongside government, to respond to this and take appropriate steps towards meeting these expectations.”

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