The Kroger Co. is expanding its Simple Truth brand in 2018 to offer more Fair Trade Certified products.
Kroger currently carries nearly 300 Fair Trade Certified products representing 60 brands spanning multiple commodities, including coffee, cocoa, coconut, tea, sugar and agave. The Cincinnati-based retailer said that it leads the private label grocery industry in Fair Trade offerings.
The announcement comes on the heels of Kroger’s plans to expand the natural and organic offerings available under its Simple Truth brand.
In 2018, Simple Truth will expand its Fair Trade collection by introducing 10 new products.
"Kroger's partnership with Fair Trade USA supports our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste vision and allows us to ‘Live Our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit,’" said Gil Phipps, Kroger’s VP of Our Brands. "The Fair Trade model supports income sustainability, environmental stewardship, empowerment and the well-being of every participating farming community. As customer interest in Fair Trade products grows, Kroger is proud to be leading the industry with our Simple Truth offerings and increasing our product selection every year."
To earn Fair Trade certification, farms must meet and adhere to a rigorous set of social, environmental and economic standards. Once certified, farmers and workers earn a premium on top of every sale, which goes into a community-managed bank account. These funds are then used on projects in areas such as health care, education, water and food security to foster advancement in the community.
Since the inception of the Simple Truth brand in 2012, Kroger has purchased Fair Trade Certified ingredients, and these global supply partnerships positively affect the lives of farmers in countries like the Philippines, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. In 2016, Kroger purchased 1.2 million pounds of certified ingredients.
Kroger's Fair Trade purchases have benefited many farmers and their families. At Peter Paul, a coconut producer in the Philippines, nearly 250 young people have received scholarships for continued education. At FIECH, a coffee cooperative in Mexico, farmers are using their community development funds to diversify their crops, improve farming practices and launch a micro-lending program to help local residents start new businesses to support their families.
"Kroger's commitment to Fair Trade is a powerful example of responsible sourcing in the retail industry," said Ken Redding, chief commercial officer at Oakland, Calif.-based Fair Trade USA. "The impact is felt across the many Fair Trade communities where they source and reflects Kroger customers' growing desire to shop their values."
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification.
Kroger operates nearly 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.