There are so many considerations to take into account when purchasing basic food items. Are the fruits and vegetables organic? Do the manufacturers use “green” practices? However, one other increasingly important consideration is whether the product is “fair trade.”
To define it simply, a fair trade product is one for which a fair price is paid to the initial producers. The Fair Trade Labeling Organization normally certifies these products. This certification ensures that the product has been sold for a fair price in order to provide a living wage for the farmer or other tradesman who produced it. This process can help reduce poverty throughout the world and can help farmers reinvest in their businesses.
In addition, these farmers are encouraged to use sustainable farming and production practices. Although there are several emerging fair trade products, such as clothing, spices, fruits and vegetables, those listed below are among the most common.
This was the first fair trade certified product and can be found in thousands of stores and cafes today. With over 500 varieties of certified fair trade coffee, gourmands can find almost any type, including newer single-use varieties.
Many teas, including bags and loose-leaf varieties, are also fair trade certified. Many restaurants offer fair trade teas as well.
Several brands of spices and herbs are fair trade certified with most familiar options — including cinnamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg, represented.
With so many varieties of chocolate on the market today, it is important to find fair trade options in order to support and reinvest in farmers. This product can be found in high-end baking bars to chocolate chips.
Certified cane sugar is most often found sold separately for baking and home sweetening purposes. However, some companies use this sugar in everything from ice cream to bottled and canned beverages.
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What Is Fair Trade?; Green America; accessed October 7, 2014
Shopping Guide; Fair Trade USA; accessed October 7, 2014
What Is Fairtrade?; Fairtrade International; accessed October 7, 2014