The Tables Below Give Information About Sales of Fairtrade

The tables below give information about sales of Fairtrade*-labelled coffee and bananas in 1999 and 2004 in five European countries.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 10 Test 2 Writing Task 1.

Sales of Fairtrade-labelled coffee and bananas (1999 & 2004)

The Tables Below Give Information About Sales of Fairtrade

Sample Essay

The tables display how much Fairtrade-labelled coffee and bananas were bought in 1999 and 2004 in 5 countries of Europe.

Overall, while sales of bananas increased in Switzerland, the UK and Belgium and decreased in Sweden and Denmark, coffee sales showed a climb in all 5 countries.

In both years, people in Switzerland bought far more bananas than people in the other four countries, with sales rising significantly from 15 to 47 million euros. Banana sales in the UK and Belgium also went up, to 5.5 and 4 million euros respectively, whereas sales in Sweden and Denmark showed a decline, to 1 and 0.9 million euros respectively.

Only 1.5 million euros’ worth of coffee was bought in the UK in 1999; however, sales in this country increased dramatically to 20 million euros in 2004, which was the highest across the 5 countries that year. Although people in Switzerland were the biggest coffee buyers in 1999 with 3 million euros of sales, this figure showed a relatively small growth to 6 million euros in 2004. People in Denmark, Belgium and Sweden also bought more coffee in 2004, but the increases were slight, to 2, 1.7 and 1 million euros respectively. 

203 Words

How to Select Data

In the first chart, the UK had the biggest figure of the five countries in 2004, and Switzerland had the biggest figure in 1999. That is to say, these two countries are more important than the other three countries. So, I included their data in both years. For the remaining 3 countries, I only included their data in 2004.

The same method can be used to select data in the second chart. Switzerland had the biggest figures in both years. These two biggest figures must be included in our essay. For the remaining four countries, you can only mention their figures in 2004. 

How to Paraphrase ‘Sales of Coffee’ 

Use the verb “buy”
  • Passive voice: 1.5 million euros’ worth of coffee was bought in the UK in 1999.
  • Active voice: People in the UK bought 1.5 million euros’ worth of coffee in 1999.
Use the noun “buyer”
  • People in the UK became the largest buyers of coffee in 2004.

8 CommentsLeave A Comment

    1. Hi, thanks for your question. Of course you can’t simply replace “worth” with “price”. How are you going to use “price”? Can you provide a complete sentence?

    1. Hi, thanks for your question. Sales of bananas in Switzerland means what Swiss people bought. So “buy/bought” is the most accurate verb to use here.

      With that said, since there are sales, there must be buyers and sellers; the buyers buy and the sellers sell, and since these are two sides of the same transaction, their values are the same, and I think you are entirely justified using the verb “sell” to describe the data.

  1. It’s weird though the title says sales figures whereas the note at the bottom indicates these countries bought rather than sold (passive voice in farmers have been paid). So are these countries sellers or buyers?

    1. This is really a great question. The text at the bottom of the tables is just explaining what fairtrade-labeled coffee and bananas are. It doesn’t mean that the tables are about the value of coffee and bananas these five countries bought from developing countries. This is because, for developing countries’ sales of bananas to Switzerland, ‘to’ would be used. However, in the title, “In” is used: “sales of bananas IN five European countries”. It means what people in these five countries bought.

      Since there are sales, there must be buyers and sellers; the buyers buy and the sellers sell, and since these are two sides of the same transaction, their values are the same, and I think you are entirely justified using the verbs “buy” and “sell” to describe the data. Just be careful not to use “sell” in the active voice. For example, don’t say Switzerland sold 3 million Euros’ worth of Fairtrade coffee. It may be read as Switzerland’s sales of coffee to other countries. Use the passive voice instead: 3 million Euros’ worth of Fairtrade coffee was sold in Switzerland. You can use the verb “buy” in either the passive or the active voice.

      Hope this helps.

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