The ethical consumer: an investigation into purchasing behaviour towards Fairtrade Coffee in Ireland
The Fairtrade brand is experiencing high growth rates globally as demand for ethically produced goods intensifies. This indicates that consumers have identified the need to provide supplying countries with an honest return for their labour. However, review of existing literature highlights the possibility that this ethos may not be the sole influencer in the consumer purchasing process. This study examines the internal and external factors that may affect consumer purchasing behaviour for Fairtrade coffee in Ireland. Coffee is the most valuable good traded for Fairtrade and also has a value to the global economy that is second only to oil (Black Gold, 2006). Consideration of various influential factors, which include demographics, price, branding and attitudes, identifies the most significant relationships that exist within the selected sample. A key finding from analysis of primary quantitative data, highlights that the demographic profile of the Irish Fairtrade coffee consumer is reflective of that reported by Svensson and Myhre (2012) for a sample of the Swedish population. Despite this similarity however, variation exists within the factors that influence each sample when purchasing Fairtrade coffee. Hypothesis testing reveals that a number of hypotheses which were accepted for the Swedish sample do not hold a level of significance within the Irish sample. It is recognised that continued research is required nationally and internationally to address the gap within existing literature in relation to this topic.
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