Private brands step up for Fair Trade coffee

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Sept. 29 is International Coffee Day, and Fair Trade USA is continuing its #JustOneCup campaign over social media. The tag is being spread to remind coffee drinkers to drink fair trade coffee and highlight producers who produce it — a bulk of which are private brands.

The association ran the campaign last year as well to raise awareness of suppliers of Fair Trade Certified coffee.

For example, last month, Albertsons announced that 100% of its O Organics coffee is Fair Trade Certified from the association. The retailer said part of the cost of each O Organics coffee product goes directly back to the farmers and their communities through the Community Development Funds program and that O Organics coffee has generated more than $2.5 million in Community Development Funds since its Fair Trade program began. 

The Community Development Funds were used to help build primary and secondary schools in Ethiopia, improve coffee processing facilities with dry mills and solar dryers in Peru, train farmers in agricultural and business practices in Honduras, and assist the replanting of trees in Colombia.

Coffee prices have fallen below $1 per pound, per Fair Trade USA, who aims to ensure producers of Fair Trade Certified coffees sell on fair trade terms receive, at minimum, $1.40 per pound for their coffee, according to last year’s campaign. Fair Trade USA also then goes further to ensure proceeds go toward Community Development Funds, which farmers decide together how to spend to serve community needs, like the Albertsons example above.

Other retailers certified by Fair Trade USA include Whole Foods and its 365 by Whole Foods Market store brand coffee, Kroger’s Simple Truth coffee, Walmart’s Sam’s Club and Member’s Mark coffees, and Target’s Good & Gather and Archer Farms before it have been certified and supporting farmers. All of the retailers have been using Community Development Funds to further countries throughout the world.

Over the past 21 years, Fair Trade USA has helped generate more than $740 million in financial benefits for coffee producers.