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Publishing: 7 February

Advertising deadline: 23 January

Submissions deadline: 16 January

Contact Amy North (

The Story

Fairtrade sales and volume are down . Is this proof the movement is losing ground to rival ethical schemes, or are shoppers losing their consciences altogether? How much of an impact have the price war and deflation had? What other factors are affecting the market? Why are some sectors, such as alcohol and biscuits, bucking the general decline in Fairtrade? And how can Fairtrade return to overall growth?

Key themes:

Innovations, new listings, de-listings, certifications and de-certifications : This feature will pay close attention to any new arrivals on the Fairtrade scene over the past year, in terms of brands, new product types and retailers. And what are the movement’s chances of convincing Tesco and Asda to switch to 100% Fairtrade bananas and what would the impact of this be on the market?

The next big Fairtrade category? This feature will explore exactly where the most potential for future growth in Fairtrade lies. With drinks and frozen confectionery currently under-represented, are we going to see more activity here? Where else will we see more players seeking Fairtrade certification?

Rival schemes : Schemes such as Rainforest Alliance and UTZ are gaining ground in the UK as a growing number of brands and retailers become certified by them. What impact is this having on the Fairtrade movement? Has anyone left Fairtrade in favour of a rival scheme? How is the growth of rival schemes impacting public perceptions of Fairtrade?

Prices : With deflation rife in some sectors of grocery at present, particularly in fresh fruit and veg, is Fairtrade, which generally carries a premium over standard goods, being priced out of the market? Our analysis suggests that the average price of Fairtrade goods has risen 3.2% in the past year. Why? Why have prices fallen in some Fairtrade sectors, such as fruit & veg and hot beverages?

Suppliers : A year ago we reported how some grower and supplier organisations were voicing growing unease about the Fairtrade Foundation’s demands. What is the situation now? What has the Foundation done to allay suppliers’ concerns?

Are shoppers losing their consciences? This feature will include exclusive consumer research on the shoppers’ motives for buying goods certified by ethical movements such as Fairtrade and public perceptions of the Fairtrade Foundation.

Promotions : This feature will explore how the promotional strategies of retailers and brands have changed over the past year.

Advertising and marketing : This feature will also investigate how the marketing and advertising strategies of the category’s biggest players have evolved over the past year and how they will develop in the coming year to sustain growth or return brands to growth.

Key questions the feature is likely to address:

 What consumer trends have impacted the category over the past year?

 How have promotional strategies (both in terms of price and marketing) evolved?

 How have individual retailers’ strategies impacted the market?

 How has merchandising changed in the market?

 What impact has own-label had on branded players?

 What’s next for the category?