Consumers worldwide spent a record $2.21 billion dollars (U.S.) on Fair Trade Certified(TM) products in 2006, according to Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). This is a 41 percent increase from 2005, and directly benefits more than 1.4 million producers and workers globally.
Impressive worldwide growth figures across product categories include cocoa by 93 percent, coffee by 53 percent, tea by 41 percent and bananas by 31 percent. The growth in product sales was matched by an increase in the number of licensees – companies that sell final packaged Fair Trade Certified products – in 2006 from 1514 to 1954.
TransFair USA is the largest member of FLO and the official licensing initiative in the U.S. for Fair Trade Certified standards. TransFair USA’s certification records show that Fair Trade Certified product imports into the U.S. have grown at an average annual rate of 76 percent over the last five years fuelled by growth in coffee, cocoa and tea, as well as newer categories such as rice, sugar and vanilla.
2006 was a year of tremendous growth and expansion for the fair trade movement in the U.S., with nearly 700 U.S. companies now selling Fair Trade Certified products in approximately 40,000 retail locations nationwide.
“We are gratified that consumers are supporting social and environmental advancement through Fair Trade Certified purchases,” said Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA, “but the fair trade market still has plenty of room for expansion. Only 20 percent of the total potential Fair Trade Certified Products available at origin are sold under fair trade terms, so we are committed to opening new markets for Fair Trade Certified products and identifying new business opportunities so fair trade terms for producers can be negotiated in the future.”