Fair Trade USA, a third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States previously known as TransFair USA, released a number of announcements to coincide with Natural Products Expo East in Boston last month. Many of the announcements reflected the strong emphasis the beverage industry has placed on Fair Trade certification.
This year, Fair Trade has generated significant momentum despite the struggling economy. SPINS, Schaumburg, Ill., reports that sales of Fair Trade certified products at grocery stores grew by 30 percent to $140 million for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 4, lead by growth in packaged coffee (up 44 percent) and ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and coffee (up 51 percent). Other contributors to growth include the refrigerated juices and functional beverages category swelling 98 percent, carbonated beverages growing 38 percent, shelf-stable functional beverages increasing 10 percent and teas gaining 4 percent in grocery stores during the time period, SPINS reports. Cocoa and hot chocolate was the only category to experience a decline, and the segment saw an 8 percent dip.