Gina Overton Trade marketing manager, Cafédirect
Says: The big retailers take Fairtrade seriously but convenience stores are still a huge area for future development. The majority of Fairtrade sales come from the multiples but because they also have c-stores this has been a way for Fairtrade to enter the sector.
The problem independents face is limited shelf space and more expensive products, but manufacturers are helping. We have launched teabags in packs of 40, which gives consumers a low entry point into Fairtrade and makes stocking the product easier for c-stores. We encourage retailers to stock more products like this.
There is still a lot of work to do to convince consumers to buy Fairtrade products from c-stores. This month's Fairtrade Fortnight will encourage stores to stock more products. We are launching a new programme this month, including a national press advertising campaign that capitalises on the activity for Fairtrade Fortnight. The ads will include a 50p-off coupon to drive trial.
We are also running sampling, PR and hosting talks with our growers to get the message to consumers, so it's a good time for retailers to start supporting us.
Mark Varney Business development manager, Fairtrade Foundation
Says: There is clearly a challenge for c-stores in terms of space, but we have seen more listings of products in wholesalers in the past year.
Our intention is to grow in the c-store sector, although talking to c-stores is much harder than talking to the multiples. But we also acknowledge that more can be done in smaller formats.
In the past few years, sales during Fairtrade Fortnight have doubled on a week-by-week basis, typically up 30% in the run up to the event. The theme for this year's Fairtrade Fortnight is 'change today, choose Fairtrade' and we will be speaking to c-stores about what they can do during the fortnight. We plan to visit towns across the country as well as companies' head offices and also ensure that stores have PoS material. Stores across the country will also have themed staff activity.
We have also produced a 'stock it' postcard that can be found at events across the country. The cards ask retailers to stock more Fairtrade products and we want consumers to give them to their local stores when they can't find the products they want.
Larry Bush Marketing director, Traidcraft
Says: We're seeing good growth in the impulse and convenience sector. Our sales of food and beverages have risen 25% in convenience in the past year and we have been developing products that are more suitable for the sector.
These include two-packs of cookies, which we have reformatted for c-stores, a range of healthy snacks in a grab-bag format and our Geobars, which we sell in counter-top display units so that retailers with limited space can stock them.
There are signs that the independent trade is opening its eyes to Fairtrade's potential, but it is still going to be a hard nut to crack. There are certain areas that we believe will grow that shops should look out for. Wine is one growth area.
It is still only five years since the first Fairtrade wine was launched and there is no reason why the market won't shoot up in the near future.
Food isn't the only area where there is potential for growth. We have just launched an ethical range of tissues. It's an ecological product but the proceeds from every pack are given to help the developing world.