U.S. Consumer Insights — The Rise of Conscious Consumerism  3/24/2022

The pandemic has changed the world, and the business sector is no exception. One consistent trend that has emerged throughout has been a continuous shift in shopping behaviors. The sustainable shopping movement continues to be on the rise as consumers are more ethically and environmentally conscious than ever. This is reflected in their preference for Fair Trade Certified™ products.

Conscious consumers recognize that when they see the Fair Trade Certified label on a product it has met a set of rigorous standards supporting sustainable and responsible consumption and production, making it easier for them to choose items that align with their values. Consumers are looking for brands and certifications that they can trust, and over 75% of the population trusts the Fair Trade Certified label. 

Because Fair Trade USA™ works at every step in the supply chain to make positive environmental and social impacts, Fair Trade Certified goods match the kind of products that conscious consumers seek out. They look for the stories behind the items they buy and understand that their purchases make a true difference for people and communities around the world. 86% of consumers want more sustainable and equitable products in the post-pandemic market.

Awareness of fair trade across the board is significantly higher than it was 10 years ago. In 2012, only 38% of the general population recognized the Fair Trade Certified label. In 2019, it was 60%, and in 2021 rose to 66%. Recognition of the Fair Trade Certified label by a continually growing majority of consumers empowers them to make informed decisions about their everyday purchases. As the trend continues, conscious consumerism will become the norm.

A nonprofit organization, Fair Trade USA is the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified seal on a product signifies that it was made according to fair trade standards that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong, transparent supply chains. It engages consumers by celebrating brands that sell Fair Trade Certified products, as well as educating consumers and inviting them to be advocates for sustainability. Through the certification of a wide range of products and ingredients (like fresh produce, apparel, home goods, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, flowers, herbs, grains, dairy, and seafood) consumers are given options at every turn to send a clear message about the future that they want by voting with their dollars. 

Fair Trade USA is building an innovative model of responsible business, conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, fishers, their families, and their communities around the world. The data clearly shows that the shopping public trusts and endorses that model.

To receive the full report on conscious consumer trends, go to www.fairtradecertified.org/ecrm

Fair Trade USA will host a webinar at ECRM’s upcoming Global Market: Spring Buying Days. If you are participating, tune into Fair Trade USA's session on March 30th at 1pm PST/4pm EST and hear how to meet your category goals: attract new customers, increase basket size, drive profitability through trial and loyalty, and accelerate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.



Jacquie Pfyl

Director of Industry Marketing
Fair Trade USA

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