Fairtrade Fortnight: Half of Brits unaware of exploitation in the food chain

Fairtrade Fortnight: Half of Brits unaware of exploitation in the food chain

Almost half of British consumers say they are unaware of exploitation in the food chain, according to a new survey.

Research by Kantar Worldpanel shows that over a quarter of Brits never think about who produces their food and drink and 88% put price and quality as key factors in their decisions when purchasing food. Only 49% place the store’s ethical credentials as a key factor.

The findings come as the Fairtrade Foundation celebrates Fairtrade Fortnight, which ends on 11th March and invites people to ‘come on in’ to Fairtrade.

The UK consumes 820,000 tonnes of bananas – equating to around 100 bananas each – yet millions of farmers and workers are still being ripped off, says the Fairtrade Foundation. In the past 15 years there has been a 40% drop in the typical UK retail price of loose bananas, which costs of production have doubled in some regions. It means that workers on non-Fairtrade plantations often have to contend with basic housing, poor working conditions and a lack of job security and continue to be undermined by late cancellations and delayed payments from unscrupulous buyers.

Highlighting these issues, a giant double doorway was set up on the Millennium Footbridge in London, inviting passers-by to experience a Panama banana farm through an immersive 360 virtual reality film, as well as receive a free Fairtrade banana.

“Most British consumers don’t realise the reality behind the food we eat nor once they make the connection between what they buy and who it was grown by,” said Cheryl McGechie, director of public engagement at the Fairtrade Foundation. “Although Fairtrade provides a vital safety net that can help lift farmers and workers out of poverty, we need more people to choose Fairtrade, as every item that is sold on Fairtrade terms means more money for the producers who grow some of our favourite foods.”