from Ian Bretman, deputy director, the Fairtrade Foundation, London EC1N
Sir; Your news article on the recent study by IGD( Ethics lose out to lower prices', The Grocer, November 30, p8) creates an impression of a problem that does not actually exist.
At the Fairtrade Foundation we have always recognised that to be truly sustainable, labels such as our Fairtrade mark must enable consumers to make positive ethical choices without compromising the intrinsic qualities they naturally expect from products, such as taste and value for money. Even the most committed supporters are unlikely to place their ethical concerns higher than a fundamental food safety issue such as the sell-by date.
Leaving aside the fact that our own regular polling indicates consumer awareness of the Fairtrade mark at well over 20% (rather than the 14% cited by IGD), the study confirms that nearly a quarter of consumers do have ethical issues on their agenda. As many other studies show this proportion to be steadily increasing, the grocery industry might be better served by a description of a shopping basket that's "half-full", rather than "half empty".