Consumers ‘don’t care’ about ethical goods

Consumers pay scant attention to the growing numbers of logos on food packaging and are not interested in environmental and fair-trade issues when making purchases, according to research by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

The findings are a blow to organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and the Soil Association, and call into question whether it is worth brands signing up with these schemes.

Most shoppers “don’t want to spend the time looking at different logos and don’t recognise them”, says the research, which found that 70 per cent of consumers were influenced by price, sell-by date and taste alone. Less than a quarter of consumers consider issues such as genetic modification, animal welfare and where items are produced.

Only nine per cent of consumers recognised the Soil Association logo, which adorns organic food grown in the UK. The Little Red Tractor farm standards logo fared better, with 35 per cent of consumers recognising it.

Cafédirect, a pioneer of fair trade, says the results “come as no surprise”. Head of strategic corporate development Sylvie Barr says: “We have known for a while that people are not interested in what’s happening outside their own back yard.”

However, she says ethical shopping is increasing and points to the Ethical Purchasing Index, published this week, which found that ethical foods sales have risen by 24 per cent this year, to almost &£1.6bn.

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