Food and Drink
Fair Trade in your Diet
Fair trade has definitely become increasingly popular with coffee and other produce. You can now find fair trade chocolate, sugar, rice, tea, honey, bananas and olive oil, just to name a few. This is a huge step forward in the fight against poverty, because many food products cannot be grown in developed nations but are rather grown in developing countries. Many of the prime places to grow bananas, for example, are countries in Central America and Africa because of their tropical weather. Unfortunately, due to many political and socio-economic issues, numerous communities in these countries are exploited for their products. Fair trade companies and organizations aim to change this model and empower farming communities, so they get a fair share in the global trade of produce.
Many people think that fair trade is limited to coffee or chocolate. However, you can now find many processed foods that are made using fairly traded ingredients. TransFair USA can help you locate shops that sell these items. One of the stores that stood out the most out of their list is Sam’s Club. Next time you decide to buy in bulk, check out their fair trade alternatives. Target is also trying to become more conscious and offering a wider selection of fair trade foods and beverages.
It is easy to make a difference when so many delicious treats are made with fair trade certified ingredients! We would like to share with you a list of some companies that produce or carry fair trade foods.
The most popular “fairly traded” item is coffee: It is the second most traded commodity in the world after crude oil. Buying fair trade coffee supports small, rural, farming communities around the world, in places such as Central America and Africa. By supporting fair trade coffee producers, roasters, wholesalers or retailers, you are investing in their sustainable development and greatly supporting the fair trade movement. We love Starbucks’s Cafe Estima as well as Peace Coffee, because we know that every purchase makes a difference. Moreover, the social premium on fair trade coffee is on average only $0.20 more than regular coffee, so everyone can afford it.
If you want to lead a fair trade lifestyle and make an impact in your community, the first step you can take is to bring fair trade coffee to work, or convince your office to buy only fair trade coffee for the break room. If you don’t know which coffee is fairly traded, the easiest way to identify it is to look for the Fair Trade Certified label:
TransFairUSA: This certification label is the safest way to identify fairly traded coffee or other produce in the USA. Still, there are many organizations out there that are not yet certified, either because they cannot afford it at this time, or because they have issues with the certifying system. Either way, when you come across a product that claims that it is fair trade, the best thing is to go online and educate yourself on that company, and ask around to see if they are legitimately ethical.
If you need a little more motivation to go fair trade at work, see this advertisement from the UK:
There are many coffee shops that serve only fair trade certified coffee, but to help you out we have compiled a list of different coffee brands and/or places to find Fair Trade Certified coffee:
|FLO International Coffee Program
|At the end of 2006, FLO International worked with 241 coffee producer organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These numbers have grown since then. FLO certifies coffee around the world and ensures that fair trade practices are followed.|
|TransFair USA Coffee Program
|TransFair USA audits international coffee producers and roasters and domestic sellers to make sure that the fair trade principles are followed. Their Fair Trade Certified label is the consumer guarantee that farmers are getting a fair deal for their products. This helps companies build customer loyalty, tap into profitable and growing consumer segments, and distinguish their business from competitors.|
|Global Exchange Coffee Program
|Global Exchange believes in a total transformation of the coffee industry, and that all coffee sold in this country should be Fair Trade Certified. If produced on a plantation, workers’ rights should be guaranteed and independently monitored. Their view includes social justice and environmental sustainability: according to them, all coffee should be certified organic and shade grown where applicable.|
|Café Campesino envisions a world in which all trade is based on the tenets of the Golden Rule, and in which Fair Trade is the norm rather than a niche in the global economy. Café Campesino seeks to realize their vision by successfully importing, roasting and commercializing only Fair Trade, organic, specialty-grade coffee and offering related products that reinforce their ability to deliver the Fair Trade message.|
|All of their fine whole bean specialty coffees are certified organic, fair trade and kosher, and are roasted in small batches at their beanery in Orange, MA. They make sure that the planting, care, harvesting and processing of the beans is done in conformity with international standards for the health of the farmer and his environment, as well as the high quality of the bean.|
|Catholic Relief Services Coffee
|CRS provides direct assistance to coffee farmers overseas and supports them by promoting Fair Trade here in the United States. CRS works to help coffee cooperatives in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Uganda and Vietnam to transform their communities by growing great coffee, farming in ecologically responsible ways, and building relationships with Fair Trade coffee companies in the United States.|
|Green Mountain Coffee
|Green Mountain Coffee offers ethically grown and roasted coffee products in the US. They have a passion for making high quality products in a ethical way, taking into consideration the environment, the growers’ health, and the satisfaction of the coffee drinkers.|
|Pura Vida Coffee
|This ethical coffee company strives to help coffee grower communities around the world. They follow fair trade practices and are very environmentally conscious.|
|Starbucks Fair Trade
|Worldwide, Starbucks is the biggest single purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee. At 40 million pounds by 2009, it helps that every Starbucks in the UK uses 100% fair trade coffee for their espresso based products. In the US, you can find fair trade brews, but more than likely you will have to specifically ask them to make your coffee with fair trade beans.|
|Dunkin’ Donuts Fair Trade Coffee
|Dunkin’ Donuts offers 100% Fair Trade Certified™ espresso, cappuccino and lattes!|
|Seattle’s Best Coffee
|Seattle’s Best Coffee has been committed to helping coffee growers for quite some time now. They serve premium blends of fair trade certified and organic coffee. They are very proud of this, and make it a big part of their offering.|
|Community Agroecology Network (CAN) Coffee
|CAN is an international network connecting farmers, consumers, students, and educators to create an alternative globalization where people, healthy food systems, and environments come first. CAN works in collaboration with five farming communities in Latin America. This program allows farmers to participate in a large part of the supply chain and earn beyond the Fair Trade coffee trading price.|
Here’s a shocking fact known to few consumers: 70% of cocoa beans are grown in West Africa where children are often forced to work on farms with horrendous conditions. It’s even possible that buying non-Fair Trade chocolate could support child slavery and trafficking.
We have a sweet tooth for fair trade chocolate, and we’re always looking to try new and unique varieties. Whether you’re snacking on Jungle Chocolate, cooking with fair trade cocoa, drinking fair trade hot chocolate, or just eating square after square of Divine Chocolate on a lazy afternoon, fair trade chocolate is as good for the farmers and developing communities as it is to eat! And when you’re sure you’ve had too much chocolate, pass that sweet fairly-traded feeling onto a friend. Giving fair trade products as a gift is a great way to introduce people to fair trade and bring them into the movement.
If you would like to support this fair and responsible industry, check out these brands and companies that make or sell fair trade chocolate:
|In the fall of 1998, Divine launched the first ever Fair Trade chocolate bar aimed at the masses onto the UK confectionery market. With an exciting new business model, the co-operative of cocoa farmers in Ghana owns shares in the company making the chocolate bar. Now they sell their chocolate in the US as well, and it comes in many sizes and flavors!|
|Global Exchange’s Cocoa Campaign
|Global Exchange has very good educational resources in their website, specific to fair trade cocoa. They organize campaigns surrounding holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, where everyone can organize fair trade events in their communities. They have community organizing kits, teaching kits, and much more.|
|Equal Exchange Chocolate
|Their organic, fairly-traded gourmet chocolate bars are a rich and delicious treat that supports small-scale farmers and their families. The bars combine famous Swiss standards in chocolate making with cocoa from the farmer co-operatives CONACADO, in the Dominican Republic, COCABO, in Panama, and CACVRA, in Peru; fairly traded organic sugar from co-operatives in Paraguay and Costa Rica, and fairly traded vanilla from Madagascar. They also have other cocoa products.|
|Yachana Jungle Chocolate is unlike any other chocolate on the market; it is chocolate in its purest form – 100% roasted cacao beans, sweetened with just a touch of sugar cane juice. Unlike traditionally processed chocolate that contains sugars, milk, cocoa powder, butters, lecithin, and other artificial ingredients, Jungle Chocolate is truly natural and dairy free. Jungle Chocolate doesn’t melt and requires no refrigeration, making it the perfect choice at home or on the go. It’s a great high-energy snack and is a delicious ingredient in ice cream, desserts, cereal, and trail mix.|
|Trader Joe’s is an ethical grocery store carrying sustainable products, amongst them chocolate. Their hot chocolate costs $4.49 for 12 ounces and is delicious, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.|
|Sourced from Latin, Central, and South America, Dagoba chocolate was founded in 2001 by Frederick Schilling, who was then just 30 and on a mission. He was determined to create exceptional, innovative chocolate that would benefit people, planet, and industry. They have an award winning product line, definitely worth checking out.|
|Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates
|Offers a variety of chocolate products, all certified organic and Fair Trade. They believe that capitalism comes in different flavors—not just the survival-of-the-fittest sort, but a softer, kinder, and more sustainable way of doing business that considers the needs of our planet and its people.|
|Canada-based company offering certified Fair Trade chocolate from Central and South America. Their line of premium Fair Trade Certified and certified organic chocolate, cocoa and sugar products are produced by La Siembra Co-operative.|
Fair Trade Wine
Fair Trade wine is produced in places such as Chile, Argentina and South Africa. It creates an opportunity for people to work in a respectable business and participate in global trade. Fair Trade wine producers earn a living wage and have opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Here are some great resources on Fair Trade wine:
|TransFair USA Fair Trade Wine Program
|This is a great overall view of the Fair Trade wine industry and its players.|
|Etica Fair Trade Wine
|Etica works with producers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. The income generated by the producers is used to develop their communities, whether it be building new infrastructure or sending their children to school.|
|Stellar Organic Winery (privately owned), situated in Trawal, 275 km north of Cape Town on the road to Namibia, is the largest producer of fine organic wines in South Africa.|
The products listed here are certainly not the only fairly traded food and beverage items out there. For a more comprehensive list of Fair Trade food and beverage sellers, or to search for a particular item you can go to the Fair Trade Federation website.