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Mar 072011

From Green Right Now Reports

A growing number of consumers are putting their food dollars into Fair Trade products that support an equitable wage for global producers.

Honest Tea, Fair Trade and less sweet.

Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S., reports that sales increased 24 percent, rising to $170 million during 2010.

The increase was strong at the traditional natural grocers (a 16 percent year over year increase) and specialty stores (22 percent) where consumers have typically found Fair Trade products. But it was strongest at mainstream stores (26 percent),  according to a survey by the SPINS consulting service on behalf of Fair Trade USA.

Coffee and tea, particularly the “ready-to-drink” varieties, saw the strongest rise in consumer support, followed by sweeteners, dessert¬† and personal products.

  • Ready-to-Drink teas and coffees — bolstered by new commitments to Fair Trade sourcing from Honest Tea and and Adina Coffee, were up 39 percent.
  • Coffee, the largest Fair Trade product sold by volume, grew 33 percent; an increase Fair Trade USA attributes to more retail supermarkets offered an increased variety of Fair Trade coffees.
  • Fair Trade sweeteners grew by 17 percent.
  • Fair Trade chocolate sales were up 19 percent.
  • Fair Trade Body Care products increased because of more sales in the “Aromatherapy & Body Oils” category (up 19 percent) and the “Skin Care” category, which was up by 32 percent.

Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and international suppliers to assure that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to improve their communities.

(The data used by SPINS included all drug, mass merchandise and natural food stores, except Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Markets, Walmart, cafes and retaurants and private labels.)