First known for coffee, Fair Trade Certified ingredients continue to expand into new categories around the grocery store. With more responsible choices available, consumers who purchase Fair Trade Certified products are able to help farmers and workers invest in their businesses and communities, earn fair prices, protect the environment and work in safe conditions. Fair Trade is also a way for companies to build strong, reliable, transparent supply chains that foster long-term relationships with growers.
More than 50 new Fair Trade Certified apparel and consumer packaged goods (CPG) products debuted during the first quarter of 2014, according to Fair Trade USA, Oakland, Calif., the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. These new products add to the 300 Fair Trade Certified CPG items launched in 2013.
One important innovation is the introduction of Fair Trade USA’s newest certified product: coconut. For the first time, consumers can find Fair Trade Certified coconut water and coconut oil at the supermarket.
Fair Trade Certified products come from more than 70 countries with low- to medium-development status in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean. Fair Trade farmers and farm workers are empowered to compete in the global marketplace through direct, long-term contracts with international buyers. This market access helps farming families fight poverty through trade, not aid, keeping food on the table, children in school and families on their land. Fair Trade Certified farms must meet and adhere to rigorous Fair Trade standards, which address a variety of social and environmental issues.
A few Fair Trade product examples on the market right now include:
Scoops for a Cause
Three Twins Ice Cream, Petaluma, Calif., the Bay Area-based pioneer of Fair Trade Certified organic ice cream introduces three new pint flavors and the company’s first Fair Trade Certified organic wafer ice cream sandwiches. Committed to providing a great product at a great price, all Three Twins ice cream pints top out at $4.99 per pint and include a charitable donation of 1 percent for the Planet and Ice Cream for Acres. By combining USDA-stamped organic ingredients, including milk and cream sourced from family farms within 17 miles of its California factory, the company is reinventing ice cream with fresh, creative flavors. Now boasting 21 pint flavors, the new varieties are: Brownie Batter Chunk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Land of Milk and Honey. The sandwiches will be available in June.
Certified Estate Teas
Iconic tea brand Celestial Seasonings, from The Hain Celestial Group Inc., Boulder, Colo., invites consumers to “discover the estate difference” with a new line of tea bags available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores. Organic and Fair Trade Certified Estate Teas combine hand-selected tea leaves from premier tea growers around the world to create wholesome, delicious and socially responsible blends. Tea garden sources include: Rukeri black tea from Cyohoha Estate in Rwanda, Assam black tea from Sewpur Estate in India and authentic green and white teas from Guzhang Gaofen Organic Tea Cooperative in Hunan Province, China. These tea leaves are blended to produce five thoughtfully balanced varieties: English Breakfast Black Tea, Earl Grey Black Tea, Pure Green Tea, Jasmine Green Tea and Perfect Trio, a unique blend of green, white and black teas.
Caring about Coconut Farmers
Naked Coconut Water from Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo was the first to use newly Fair Trade Certified coconuts to make coconut water. Fair Trade USA launched the coconut certification program after learning coconut farmers are among the poorest people in already impoverished countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines. In the U.S., the average serving of coconut water sells for $1.50. However, farmers receive about 12-25 cents per coconut. A farmer earns anywhere from $72 to $7,000 per year. In addition to typical Fair Trade Certified benefits, Fair Trade USA also provides farmers with an additional 10 percent premium for each coconut sold, which can be used for healthcare, education, agricultural training and business development.