A study conducted by Furman University has suggested that consumers prefer fair trade coffee over non-fair alternatives.
The study created two experimental conditions within a privately owned coffee shop. The first with low point-of-purchases labels promoting fair trade coffee and the second with high visibility labels. These conditions were tested during morning and evening retails hours against non-fair trade coffee products.
In all situations the experiment found that consumers preferred fair trade labelled products over non-fair alternatives. This including buying coffee at a cafe to making it at home with Nespresso compatible machines.
Each day the shop offered customers the option of using fair trade or non-fair trade coffee in their beverages.
The results showed a 40% preference towards high visibility labelling and a 20% preference towards low visibility labelling of coffee sales in the evening. The morning sales also showed a preference towards fair trade but to a lesser extent, perhaps due to the consumer’s purchase mind set on their way to work.
Researchers Jeanine Stratton and Matt Werner stated that consumers have been showing increasing interest in purchasing goods that promote pro-environmental claims. Particularly claims that seek to improve the well being of social groups, such as fair wages to coffee farmers and workers who produce raw materials.
This is not surprising as coffee is one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world market, often second to oil. And According to the International Coffee Organisation the production and trading of coffee provides employment opportunities worldwide, especially to developing countries with favourable growing conditions.
As such movements like Fair Trade labelling have emerged to protect both coffee pricing and the quality of coffee production, by ensuring fair working conditions and payment to workers.
These values of global social responsibility have seeped into the mindsets of consumers, and therefore it has become wise to move to responsibly sourced products in order to positively impact sales.
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