Link strengthens between organic and Fair Trade imports
Enter Email

 Watch the Video


Caroline Scott-Thomas/

April 27, 2011


Demand for organic Fair Trade certified food imports increased significantly in 2010, with especially strong growth for vanilla, coffee, citrus and cocoa, according to Fair Trade USA’s 2010 almanac.

Fair Trade USA issues an annual almanac detailing the state of the Fair Trade market in the United States. The latest edition revealed a huge boost in demand for imports that were both Fair Trade certified and organic in 2010, from 47 percent of all Fair Trade imports in 2009, to 62 percent that carried both certifications last year.

Director of marketing and public relations at Fair Trade USA Stacy Geagan Wagner told FoodNavigator-USA that food manufacturers have played a strong role in this growth. The organization has offered Fair Trade certification for whole products for the past 12 years, but for the past four has also offered certification for ingredients in formulated foods.

Wagner said: “Organics have actually been popular for a number of years so we think that Fair Trade is now becoming well known enough that people are looking to do more with their money – not just looking to do what’s right for their family and the environment, but for family, environment and the people who grow the products.”

She said that a major increase in demand for organic Fair Trade imported ingredients such as honey, vanilla, spices and cocoa is a good indication that food manufacturers are embracing the Fair Trade ingredient certification. Cocoa, for example, saw 67 percent growth in imports over 2009, 88 percent of which was also certified organic, and the volume of certified vanilla imports nearly quadrupled due to recent commitments from major US buyers, Fair Trade USA reported.

Sugar and citrus were other areas that experienced major growth last year compared to 2009, with imports of Fair Trade sugar increasing 60 percent, 89 percent of which was also organic, while citrus saw a 96 percent increase in growth in 2010.

“In terms of demand for Fair Trade products they [consumers] are looking for the dual combo to do ‘good for me’ and ‘good for the planet’,” she said.

However, the link between organic and Fair Trade is not just consumer driven. Wagner said that Fair Trade USA has environmental standards and incentivizes organic farming, so organic agricultural practices are often more attractive to farmers who are working as part of a Fair Trade program.

“The mission of Fair Trade USA is to promote sustainable development,” she said. “…If you are going to have a healthy community and a healthy environment you need to look at it as a comprehensive solution.”

Fair Trade USA’s full 2010 almanac is available online here .

Link strengthens between organic and Fair Trade imports


Fair Trade is the Pathway to Regenerative Agriculture

Coop Coffee

The movement for a food system that sustains people and planet is been growing. Fair trade offers a model to incorporate fair livelihoods and the true cost of production into regenerative agriculture models that are both new and very old, feeding the world and tending the planet. Written by Ryan Zinn The climate is changing, […]

A Soil-to-Soil Vision for the Fashion Revolution

Paige Green - Fibershed

From origins in Northern California, Fibershed is building a global network of regional regenerative fiber systems. Founder Rebecca Burgess describes her vision for vibrant local fibersheds that connect us to the landscapes that grow what we wear and sustains a new generation of farmers, ranchers, natural dyers and mills. From conventional cotton production, which uses […]

Fair Trade As We Do It: the Story of Jumbo Nuts

Annie Jose sewing rice seeds into her rice paddy

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, the small-farmer collective I work for, is recapturing the homestead farming traditions of Kerala. Our goal is to grow to about 10,000 farming families stewarding about 40,000 acres of farmland, creating conditions that are akin to a tropical rainforest in crop diversity and biodiversity. For us, biodiversity is a food security […]

Regenetarians Unite!

Regenetarians Unite

As eaters, we have a choice: will our diets restore and replenish the earth, or will they deplete it? An exploration of three key principles that look beyond simple distinctions between omnivore and vegan towards a new Regenetarian ethos. By David Bronner How the Regenerative Agriculture and Animal Welfare Movements Can End Factory Farming, Restore […]

What Does “Regenerative Agriculture” Mean to You?

Women Workin in Fields - Coop Coffees

We asked that question to a handful of leaders, growers and thinkers from around the world. Here are a few of their thoughts. “Regenerative agriculture, based on our Andean experience, is the direct relationship with life. It gives life back to Mother Earth, provides food that connects with every aspect of human beings and their […]

Product Picks

Peace Coffee

We asked our team for some of their current favorite products from companies committed to the principles of fair trade and regenerative organic farming. Find them online or at your favorite natural food store! Imagine an economy that rewarded small-scale producers for their hard work, fed us all healthy food, and clothed us sustainably. While […]

Fair Trade for Farmers and Soil

Plowing field with oxen

Small-scale organic farming and regenerative agricultural practices combat our climate crisis and help feed the world. Here are just a few of the ways that fair trade producers and their brand partners are collaborating to grow ethical supply chains through regenerative organic agricultural methods, and producing goods that we can all feel good about. This […]

The Hidden History Made at Sakuma Brothers Farms

Picking blueberries: Copyright David Bacon

History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias Unidas por la Justicia to be the union representing berry pickers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Washington state. Three perspectives on what that means for farmworkers, farmers, and our food system. History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias […]

Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Food Wastage Footprint and Climate Change, Rome FAQ

As a child, you likely heard some variation of the cliché, “Eat all your food; there are starving people in the world.” While hunger remains one of humanity’s greatest challenges, the underlying causes are not as clear as one might think. Written by Ryan Zinn As a child, you likely heard some variation of the […]

Fair Cannabis?


For decades, workers have flocked to Northern California and Southern Oregon to work the fall cannabis harvest. Some are migrants on their seasonal tour. Others are driven by an interest in cannabis culture, or by the promise of lucrative pay. While some “trimmers” have had pleasant, safe and profitable experiences, many have not. Written by […]