Fair Trade products boast more-than-fair 2010 sales increase

Sales of sustainably produced products and foods were up more than 25 percent in mainstream grocery stores, led by gains for coffee items.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Are your customers the type of people attuned to proof of sustainable business practices? If you're in the business of selling food-stuffs or body-care products, you might want to pay attention to new data just released by Fair Trade USA in conjunction with SPINS, which gathers sales data about Fair Trade-certified products found in specialty, grocery and natural foods stores.

Turns out that sales of Fair Trade items in grocery stores rose 24 percent in 2010, faster than for natural grocers (16 percent) or for specialty grocers (22 percent). As you might expect, the flagship Fair Trade product -- coffee -- percolated probably the largest category increase, with 33 percent growth in sales over the past 12 months. But other products boasted strong gains. For example, Fair Trade chocolate sales rose 19 percent while skin care/body care products were up 32 percent.

The Fair Trade designation certifies that suppliers of the commodities or raw goods for a particular product or food item produced them in ways that protected worker living conditions along with the environment.

Says Cate Baril, director of business development, grocery and ingredients, said in the Fair Trade press release:

"We are encouraged by the fact that in spite of the economic recession, consumers everywhere are embracing the idea that every purchase matters. We continue to see strong, double-digit growth in the natural and specialty channels. And we see even stronger growth in supermarkets where sales are up 26 percent, as more stores are adding a greater variety of Fair Trade Certified products and increasing selection for consumers.

There are now more than 700 companies offering Fair Trade certified products. Incidentally, the data DOES NOT include sales from Sam's Club, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Markets or Walmart.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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