US: Fair Trade produce imports jump 26%

Imports of Fair Trade Certified™ produce rose 26% in 2014, as reported by Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. This marks the biggest year yet for the organization’s Produce and Floral category, helping farm workers and small producers earn over $5.5 million in additional Community Development Premiums ($18 million since the program launched in 2004). This continued growth reflects a rising demand—from both shoppers and retailers—for products that support better livelihoods for the people who grow our food.

To enable this momentum, Fair Trade USA increased its Certified offerings to over 25 different fruits and vegetables, ten of which were added since 2012. These include: strawberries, asparagus, melons, eggplant, peaches, tomatoes, peas, green beans, squash and mini-carrots. Fourteen new producer organizations were also certified this year, bringing the total number to 64 growers from nine different countries.

Fair Trade Certified™ produce from Mexico – a region where issues such as forced labor, poor housing and pay withholding have been in the limelight – was a key driver of growth in 2014. Over 63 million pounds of produce from Mexico were imported into the U.S. in 2014, delivering $2.4 million in life-changing Premiums to producers, a 344% increase over 2012. These funds are used directly by workers and small producers to invest in areas like healthcare, education, housing and transportation.

Today, Whole Foods Market purchases 75% of all Fair Trade Certified™ produce imported into the United States. Shoppers can also find Fair Trade Certified products at retailers like Costco, Sam’s Club, Safeway, Earth Fare, Haggen and many natural foods stores. The many vendors of Fair Trade produce and flowers also play a vital role in getting Fair Trade produce on store shelves.

Visit www.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.

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