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Fair Trade USA certified a record number of imported consumer goods in 2010. Sales of these products also increased, reflecting growing consumer awareness of the fair trade mission.
The number of fair trade-certified consumer goods available in the U.S. skyrocketed to 9,500 in 2010, according to third-party certifying agency Fair Trade USA’s annual report, released last week. The 2010 Almanac revealed that perennial top categories like coffee, cocoa, citrus and sugar significantly expanded their offerings, while new categories and product types debuted, namely apparel, vodka made from Bolivian quinoa, Mexican-grown green peppers, and particular herbs, nuts, oils, extracts and spices.
“Fair Trade works to empower agricultural communities with international trade opportunities,” said Stacy Wagner, Fair Trade USA’s director of marketing and public relations. Money generated from purchased goes toward improving farm infrastructure and building and recuperating roads, schools, and other resources within farming communities.
According to the 2010 Almanac, Fair Trade USA certified over 100 million pounds of coffee—62 percent of which was also certified organic—that paid out $44 million in premium funds to farmers. Citrus imports swelled by 96 percent, cocoa (88 percent also certified organic) grew by 67 percent, and sugar rose by 60 percent (89 percent also certified organic).