When I was a kid, my mom would say that all she wanted for Mother’s Day was a peaceful day without arguments between siblings. As a mom, I get that...but who am I kidding? I want gifts, too. When my kids ask what I want for Mother’s Day, I point to a few items I’ve been coveting and take the opportunity to talk to them about Fair Trade.
Fair Trade offers farmers and workers in developing countries better prices, improved terms of trade and the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their futures. Last year third-party certifying agency Fair Trade USA certified a record number of imported consumer goods, and sales of these products increased, according to New Hope 360. The number of Fair Trade-certified consumer goods available in the United States rose to 9,500 in 2010, according to Fair Trade USA’s annual report, released last week. The 2010 Almanac revealed that coffee, cocoa, citrus and sugar companies significantly expanded their Fair Trade offerings, while apparel, herbs, nuts, oils, extracts and spices, and specialty items such as vodka made from Bolivian quinoa and Mexican-grown green peppers expanded. Money generated from sales of these products helps improve farm infrastructure and build and recuperate roads, schools and other resources in developing countries.
Increased consumer awareness of Fair Trade issues helped Fair Trade-certified product sales rise 15.2 percent in natural products stores and 17 percent in conventional stores in 2010, according to market research firm SPINS. “Awareness of fair trade is only about 34 percent right now,” Fair Trade USA Spokeswoman Katie Barrow told Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine. “But once consumers know about it, eight in 10 say they’ll purchase [fair-trade goods]. That’s a huge conversion rate.”
Kelsi Cooke of Delicious Living predicts that the following categories will see rapid growth in Fair Trade product launches and sales (and all offer great opportunities for Mother’s Day shopping):
- Apparel: athletic clothing, T-shirts, aprons and tights
- Baking products: high-quality ingredients such as clove and cinnamon, along with products including gluten-free and organic cake and brownie mixes
- Alcoholic beverages: vodka made with Fair Trade quinoa and organic French wheat or goji-berry liquor made with Fair Trade-certified sugar
- Personal care: body butter, sugar scrubs and personal care ingredients such as vanilla, shea butter, olive oil and tea extracts
- Flowers: Ecuadorian Fair Trade flowers help support women's education and empowerment.