Fair Trade Keeps Growing

Jan 21, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Wild Oats and Whole Foods are hoping that consumers react as positively to Fair Trade bananas as they have to coffee.

According to a USA Today report, Wild Oats Markets will begin selling bananas certified as Fair Trade by TransFair USA in 70 out of its 102 store locations.

Whole Foods is looking to have Fair Trade bananas in all its stores by the end of the quarter. Currently, 40 stores in the Northeast carry Fair Trade certified bananas.

While it is only beginning to catch on in the U.S., experts say many consumers in England and Switzerland actively shop for Fair Trade products. Approximately one in four bananas
sold in these countries is Fair Trade certified.

Large distributors, including Chiquita and Dole, have increasingly sourced Fair Trade bananas as the demand for these products has grown.

Nearly half of the bananas Chiquita distributes meet Fair Trade guidelines, according to Mike Mitchell, a company spokesperson.

Dole is already doing a substantial business in Fair Trade bananas in Europe and will continue to grow the business there and elsewhere, as consumer demand warrants.

Moderator’s Comment: Are companies that advocate paying farmers and artisans a living wage ethically bound to do the same for their own employees?

Perry Odak, chief executive of Wild Oats told USA Today, “We should not be profiting off someone else’s hard work. People who provide our food should
get a fair, living wage.”

Anderson – Moderator

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