How To Identify Fair Trade Products

how to identify fair trade products

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Fair Trade has come into its own. It’s not just coffee and chocolates anymore! Yes, nowadays Fair Trade has gone mainstream, and you can find fair trade products of every kind in your local grocery stores, gift shops, markets, and clothing boutiques. But what exactly does fair trade mean, and how do you identify fair trade products?

Why Should You Choose Fair Trade Products?

Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first. The hallmark of any fair trade organization or company is accountability, empowerment, income equity, environmental stewardship, and individual and community well-being.

By purchasing fair trade products, you ensure that the farmer or artisan responsible for that product is paid a living wage, is free from child and slave labor, and is learning to rely on their own abilities to provide for their families.

How to identify fair trade products

Finding Fair Trade Products

It’s easier than ever to shop for fair trade products both locally and online. Many retailers highlight their fair trade inventories, making switching to fair trade products a snap! Rest assured, the quality will be equal to – or better than – the conventional products you’ll be leaving behind.

October has been designated World Fair Trade Month, and World Fair Trade Day falls on May 9th (don’t ask me why they fall at different times, I have no idea!) So particularly around those times, fair trade products can often be found front and center at any retailer that offers them.

Some retailers even focus exclusively on fair trade products – the largest of these being the nationally-known Ten Thousand Villages. Very often, though, small, independent fair trade shops can be found in many towns.

Fair Trade Month raises awareness about the importance of the fair trade movement to our global economy and promotes buying from businesses that are committed to fair trade in place of those which may harm the environment, the economy, communities, and disadvantaged individuals.

Fair trade federation

Fairtrade products can be groceries, furniture, clothing, and more! If you are interested in bringing more Fair Trade products into your home, I’ve compiled a list of some products you may want to consider.

How do you know if it’s fair trade?

The first step in identifying fair trade products is to become familiar with fair trade labels – there are several, as there are multiple certification agencies awarding the fair trade designation. 

This seems like it could be confusing, but once you are familiar with the labels, they are actually quite easy to spot. There’s a really good explanation of each label at

Made Trade ethical fashion and home goods

Identifying Fair Trade Foods

Coffee tends to be one of the first products people connect with fair trade practices. Does your favorite coffee shop serve fair-trade coffee?  Take a look at the menu or ask your barista when you stop in for your mid-morning pick-me-up. If you prefer to make your brew at home, the Kirklands brand from Costco, along with many others, is fair trade.

If you are more of a tea drinker, try tea from Celestial Seasonings, HonestTea, Stash, Traditional Medicinals, Republic of Tea…there are so many fair trade choices for tea!

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods store brands of sugar are fair trade.  Chocoholics will also find both store brands and Green & Black, Divine, Equal Exchange, and Wildly Organic all make delicious tasting fair-trade chocolate.

You can find Fair Trade America-certified produce such as Coliman bananas, Index Fresh avocados, or Nature Ripe blueberries.

It’s easy to get the kids off to school on time with breakfast items like cereal or waffles from Nature’s Path Organics

I scream, you scream, we all scream for fair trade when we choose Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!  Does your local ice cream shop offer fair trade ice cream? Many artisanal ice cream shops use fair trade ingredients in their products.

Wine down with fair trade wines from Six Hats, La Riojana, and others.  If you prefer a cocktail, FAIR.Spirits distills fair trade vodka from quinoa.

Identifying Fair Trade Products Around Town

Want to know a great place to find fair trade products?  Health, wellness, and vitamin stores – especially the independent (non-chain) stores.  Experiment with brands like Dr. Bronner’s, Sol Organics, and CocoKind for soaps, lotions, and other beauty and body products.

There are many fair trade clothing labels, such as glo-Green Living Organics, Conscious Step Socks, Pact Organics, and Skunk Funk

You will almost always find jewelry, soaps, fabrics, and gift products at your local farmer’s markets and craft fairs. Many towns also have stores that specialize in fair trade home decor and accessories. Ten Thousand Villages, as I mentioned earlier, is probably the best-known chain, but there are many independent retailers as well.

How about a fair trade fundraiser? Schools and organizations can work with on that!

Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.

Orsola de Castro

Learn More About Fair Trade From These Certifying Organizations:

Fair Trade Federation

Fair Trade America

World Fair Trade Organization

“I am only one but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

-Edward Everett Hale

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Final Thoughts on How to Identify Fair Trade Products

Ultimately, there are many opportunities to shop fair trade. Once you become familiar with the labels, you’ll spot them easily on different products.

Knowing the names of some of the major brands, such as those mentioned in this post, is also a helpful way to identify these products.

Become a conscious and conscientious shopper, and help make the world a better place by purchasing fair trade products whenever possible.

Do you use fair trade products now? Which do you think you might try? Let me know in the comments!

ow to identify fair trade products

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