According to research carried out recently by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), the number of UK consumers concerned about food miles has nearly doubled in the last five years. Sixteen per cent are now said to rate the distance food travels as one of their top five concerns about food production, up from nine per cent in 2003.
But then strangely enough, the same IGD report ‘Shopper Trends – Five Years On’, goes on to highlight the point that British shoppers’ interest in Fairtrade has more than doubled in the past five years, with nearly a quarter of shoppers now saying they have recently bought Fairtrade products, up from 11 per cent in 2003. IGD predicts growth in annual Fairtrade spending will average 11 per cent over the next five years to total €776m by 2012.
This seems to amply illustrate the confused state of the buying public. They are anxious about the long distances food travels to reach their plates, but at the same time they appear to be keen to purchase more Fairtrade produce, which undoubtedly comes from a distant source.
I think the problem here is, the consumer has a dilemma over whether to save the planet or help save a third world farmer’s livelihood. Now I know why shopping is so exhausting.