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February 22, 2010

GLOBAL: Brazil, India “key to Fairtrade’s future”

Brazil, India and South Africa will be central to the future growth of Fairtrade, the executive director of UK-based charity The Fairtrade Foundation has told just-food.

Brazil, India and South Africa will be central to the future growth of Fairtrade, the executive director of UK-based charity The Fairtrade Foundation has told just-food.

Harriet Lamb said a combination in those countries of farmers selling Fairtrade produce and of a growing, more affluent middle class made such markets key to the development of the business.

Awareness of the Fairtrade mark is growing in the UK, on the back of high-profile moves from Cadbury, Nestle and Unilever to switch to Fairtrade certification on products like Dairy Milk, KitKat and Ben & Jerry’s.

In an exclusive interview with just-food, Lamb said there was “huge potential” for Fairtrade outside of Europe and insisted there would be “an explosion” in the mark in the US in the years ahead.

“We think the future will be in countries like South Africa, like India, like Brazil, the growing developing countries where there will be farmers selling on Fairtrade terms but where there is also a very strong middle class,” Lamb said. “In India, there are as many middle-class people as in the whole population of Europe, so the potential is huge in those countries.

“The next step is to build awareness, for example, in the US. That is a huge consumer market but the awareness of Fairtrade is much lower in the US. The potential is there but it is definitely behind Europe. With the engagement of some big American brands like Ben & Jerry’s, coupled with the beginnings of the growth of the grassroots social movement in the US, we will see an explosion at some point in the US in the years to come.”

For more on Harriet Lamb’s interview – including a focus on Nestle’s, Cadbury’s and Unilever’s recent Fairtrade moves – click here.

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