What does Fair Trade Coffee mean?

by Ryan Schnetzler

What Is Fair Trade Coffee?


If you drink coffee regularly, chances are you’ve seen the phrase, “Fair Trade Coffee” on a bag in the store or on the menu board at your favorite café. Now, whether or not you understand what that fully encompasses is a different story. By definition, fair trade is trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers. What does that really mean for the producers of this beloved crop? Let's see. 

Fairtrade currently works with 795,000 coffee farmers across 30 countries. By choosing to drink a fair trade certified coffee, you are helping to ensure that the farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price. This acts as a safety net when prices drop, and gives the fair trade certified farmers the security that they will receive a price that covers the average cost of sustainable production. Furthermore, cooperatives are paid the Fairtrade premium, which they invest in projects that benefit their community, improve their businesses and protect their environment. In 2020, fair trade coffee producers received over $10.5 million in fair trade premiums. Perhaps the best part, the consumer is receiving a premium product due to the fair trade standards these certified cooperatives and farmers must adhere to. 

The Fairtrade mission is not limited to just coffee farms around the world. Farms producing everything from tomatoes to bananas can be a fair trade certified farm as long as the standards to do so are met. So, next time you’re shopping for coffee or produce, perhaps choose the “fair trade” option and help to ensure a better life for those communities working so hard to provide the world with such delicious coffee and produce. 

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