Fairtrade America has shared five key trends the organisation expects will drive consumer choices and brand action in 2023.
Despite inflation and rising prices on products, research from Fairtrade America shows that many consumers are still making thoughtful choices while shopping, choosing products that align with their values. As these consumers become increasingly interested in and informed about supply chains, sourcing and product sustainability, brands will need to invest in practices that drive loyalty among discerning consumers.
According to Fairtrade America, consumers will change their diets to lower environmental impact. A recent study by GlobeScan on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) says 31 per cent of United States consumers who have changed their diet have done so because of an environmental reason, with 11 per cent saying they changed their diet specifically due to climate change.
“Responsible shoppers in the US are demanding that companies and governments drive transformation that benefits the people who grow our food and protects the planet,” says Fairtrade America Director of Commercial Partnerships Carlos Urmeneta.
“As expectations of transparency and sustainability in the supply chain become more and more mainstream, we are partnering with farmers, retailers and brands to provide shoppers the assurance they are looking for in their favourite products.”
Fairtrade America also predicts that consumers, governments, and organisations like Fairtrade are prioritising a decrease in deforestation.
A recent GlobeScan survey found that 86 per cent of consumers try to avoid products that damage biodiversity. Consumers are increasingly aware of deforestation, and more companies are pushing for bans on deforestation and for governments to enact legislation that would combat deforestation.
Fairtrade and Fairtrade farmers are working to do their part to counter deforestation. Fairtrade Standards stipulate that producers may not cut down protected forests, but many farmers go above and beyond this, using their Fairtrade Premium funds to plant more trees, which can provide helpful shade and weather protection for their crops, and expand forested areas.
Fairtrade America also forecasts that supply chain due diligence requirements will become more prevalent.
More retailers are seeking brands that can provide transparency along the supply chain, including in the form of third-party certifications. The European Commission adopted a proposal aimed at fostering sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains, and Germany passed the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act in 2021 that will take effect on 1 January 2023. Fairtrade America says the United States is likely to follow – the Securities and Exchange Commission already announced proposed rules and rule amendments on corporate due diligence.
Fairtrade America also foresees growth in products marketed as sustainable.
The 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index found that sustainability-marketed products were responsible for a third of growth in consumer-packaged goods from 2015 to 2021, and market share growth continues year over year.
As consumers continue to seek out sustainable options, companies aim to meet that demand by backing up sustainability claims. In 2021, more than 2500 companies used the Fairtrade Mark on more than 37,000 products sold globally with Fairtrade products accessible to consumers in 143 countries, according to the 2022 Fairtrade Annual Report.
Finally, Fairtrade America believes consumers and brands will prioritise regenerative agriculture practices.
In a Food Insight survey, 30 per cent of consumer respondents selected regenerative agriculture as a top choice among the most beneficial agricultural and consumption practices for the land their food is grown on. Fairtrade predicts an expanded focus on regenerative agriculture in 2023 as more brands work with farmers to implement these practices where ingredients are grown.
Partnership with a leading certification organisation like Fairtrade America is one way that companies can keep up with these market trends toward sustainability and achieve visions for environmental and social impact.
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