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Retailers Take Part in Fair Trade Coffee Campaign

Target, Aldi, Kroger and CVS among those to commit to sustainability challenge
Retailers Take Part in Fair Trade Coffee Campaign Just One Cup
According to Fair Trade USA, consumers’ demand for authenticity, combined with innovation in packaged coffee, has led to an increase in Fair Trade Certification.

On the occasion of International Coffee Day, a.k.a. Oct. 1, Fair Trade USA has revealed new and expanded commitments from partners, including grocers, participating in the organization’s annual Just One Cup campaign promoting fair trade coffee.

Building on its success with Fair Trade USA Certified Good & Gather coffee in bags and single-cup-pods, Target will launch Fair Trade Certified aluminum espresso capsules. The retailer also achieved its 2022 goal of certifying 100% of Good & Gather coffee in bags and pods as sustainable in accordance with the Fair Trade USA standard or an equivalent this year. 

German deep-discounter Aldi pledged to increase its line of certified coffee products to more than 50% by 2025 to support its growing communities and protect biodiversity. The company will also certify 100% of its private-brand Barissimo and Simply Nature coffees by the end of 2022. 

Kroger’s Simple Truth brand coffee has already achieved 100% Fair Trade Certified coffee in all available growing regions, and the grocer has now committed to sourcing 100% Fair Trade Certified coffee for its Private Selection brand from international growing regions by mid-2022.

The first-ever drug store operator to carry 100% Fair Trade Certified products, with the rollout of items under exclusive store brand, Gold Emblem, CVS currently offers nine Fair Trade Certified Gold Emblem coffee products in a variety of blends and roasts.

Among manufacturers, Burlington, Mass.-based Keurig Dr Pepper was the largest purchaser of fair trade coffee globally for the eleventh year in a row, an achievement coming in the wake of the company’s reaching its commitment of 100% responsibly sourced coffees by 2020. Little Rock, Ark.-based Westrock Coffee Co., one of the largest U.S. coffee, tea and extract providers, committed to converting a specialty line to Fair Trade Certified by 2020, which the company achieved through its private label lines; as part of the 2021 Sustainable Coffee Challenge, the company has pledged to source 100% of its coffee responsibly by 2025. Elmsford, N.Y.-based Barrie House, a longtime purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee, has pledged full commitment to the Sustainable Coffee Challenge regarding the development and implementation of environmental and social programs promoting sustainability and gender equity in the coffee industry, promising to provide Fair Trade Certified Organic products for the majority of its branded Barrie House products.

Fair Trade USA said that consumers’ demand for authenticity, combined with innovation in packaged coffee, has led to an increase in Fair Trade Certification, a third-party label that, according to the organization, more than 63% of U.S. consumers recognize and trust.

“Taken together, these new launches and pledges mean that businesses see fair trade as a way to source responsibly and validate that claim to their customers,” said Abby Ayers, senior director of retail partnerships at Oakland, Calif.-based Fair Trade USA. “And most importantly, they mean coffee farmers will be protected against volatile market prices and more resilient in the face of climate change and future crises.”

The Fair Trade Certified seal represents thousands of products from 63 countries and counting. Purchases have sent $830 million to farmers and workers since 1998.  

In related news, in honor of Fair Trade Month in October, Washington, D.C.-based Fairtrade America is launching its second annual national campaign to raise awareness of Fairtrade Certified products. The Choose Fairtrade. Choose the world you want. campaign features murals in Austin, Texas at the Guadalupe Wheatsville Co-op; Minneapolis at Twin Cities Co-op Partners' Wedge location; and the Central Co-op store in Tacoma, Wash., that link stories of the people who produce such popular foods as cocoa, bananas and coffee to the positive impacts of Fairtrade. Now in its second year, the campaign brought murals to Denver, Los Angeles and Nashville, Tenn., in 2020. 

Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7 and Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S. is No. 24 on PG’s list.

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