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Dramatic growth in Fair Trade Certified Organic imports
27
Apr '11
Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, releases its 2010 Almanac. With more than 9,500 Fair Trade Certified consumer products offered by more than 700 industry partners at more than 60,000 retail locations, this yearly report serves as a barometer for the health and growth of Fair Trade in the United States.

The 2010 edition showcases record volumes of Fair Trade Certified imports, a dramatic increase in organic imports, expansion into popular new product categories, a surge in consumer demand and increased brand recognition for Fair Trade Certified goods. This continues to parallel overall growth in consumer awareness of Fair Trade, which has quadrupled in the past five years.

While the world economy saw continued instability in 2010, Fair Trade USA bucked the trend and certified nearly 109 million pounds of Fair Trade coffee, 62 percent of which was also certified organic. Not only did this growth result in over $44 million in premium funds paid to coffee farmers to date, it also reflects the ever growing desire for socially-conscious consumers to align their purchasing habits with their values. The money generated by this surge in consumer demand can be reinvested into farming businesses to build infrastructure and capacity, as well as into farming communities for schools, roads, health care and other development efforts.

“As consumer demand for ethically-produced goods increases, we're able to chip away at the cycle of poverty that grips farming communities around the world,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “Through their participation in Fair Trade, farming families have earned more than $220 million in additional income since 1998, $56 million of which will be invested specifically in community development programs that provide access to education and life-saving health care.”

One of the most exciting advances that occurred in 2010 was expansion within both new and existing product categories, revealing increased demand in the U.S. market for Fair Trade items across the board. Just a few of these new products include apparel, green peppers, vodka and a wide array of herbs, spices and extracts. In 2010, over eight million pounds of all-organic Fair Trade pineapples were also re-introduced to the market.

In response to the increased availability of Fair Trade goods, 2010 was witness to tremendous growth in several key product categories in addition to coffee. Cocoa experienced a 67 percent growth in imports since 2009, 88 percent (3,882,000 lbs) of which was also certified organic. Fair Trade citrus saw a 96 percent increase in growth in 2010, imports of sugar rose by 60 percent (89 percent also organic), and imported pounds of certified vanilla nearly quadrupled due to recent commitments from major U.S. buyers. We're also hopeful to see additional growth after two Fair Trade wines recently achieved 90+ scores from Wine Spectator, indicating significant increases in quality and recognition from industry insiders.

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