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Fair Trade Products Continue to Increase Sales and Market Share in France

In 2021, fair-trade-labelled products experienced an 11% jump in sales, and the French sector accounted for 35% of total sales. In honor of the opening of the Fair Trade Fortnight, which is being held in last May, here is an overview of a system based on fair remuneration for producers.

The fair-trade sector is continuing its rapid growth in France. In 2021, it passed the bar of €2 billion in annual sales for the first time. That represents an 11% increase in a single year, according to the Fair Trade Monitor.  

Since 2014, the fair-trade label can apply both to products from the global south, and to ones produced in France. In 2021, although the lion’s share (65%) of sales of fair-trade products were from the south, more and more consumers are taking an interest in French fair-trade products too, and their sales increased by 9%. The French fair-trade sector now accounts for 35% of total sales, for revenue of €707 million.

In France, 6,000 farms have the fair-trade label, as well as over 12,000 agricultural producers and workers. In the food sector, the number of references is increasing 36% a year, and currently involves over 500 brands. 

Coffee and Chocolate in the Lead

Looking at sales in more detail, with products from all sources included, food accounts for 95% of sales. Coffee is the highest-selling fair-trade item: in 2021, it alone accounted for 37% (in value) of sales of imported products, for over €458 million.

Among the fair-trade products that progressed the most from 2020 to 2021, chocolate sales grew by 28%, enabling it to reach over €249.5 million, for 20% of total fair-trade sales.

As for fair-trade products that are made in France, bread and croissants account for 59% of sales, and dairy products, which account for just 14.5% of French fair-trade products, saw spectacular growth, with a 44% increase in 2021. The vast majority (54%) of these sales take place in supermarkets for the import sector, while outlets are more varied for the French sector: 38% in fair-trade and/or organic shops, 30% in supermarkets and 31% in bakeries.

France’s new climate law states that, starting in 2023, all products sold as fair trade must bear a recognized label or guarantee system.

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