Organic global sales are currently $63 billion compared with $6 billion for fair trade, in a $14 trillion global food and beverage market.

The organic community includes over 25,000 organic businesses in more than 120 different countries around the world.

Organic products are available in more than 20,000 natural stores nationwide and in 73% of all conventional grocery stores.

Organic certified cocoa beans represent less than 1% of the worldwide cocoa crop of 3.8 million metric tons. About 75% are produced in Latin America, with the Dominican Republic topping the list.

Starbucks imports of coffee beans was only 8.4% certified fair trade and 1.1% organic in 2013, but 95.3% ethically sourced.

The demand for organic cocoa products is growing at a very strong pace, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety of their food supply along with other environmental issues.

Co-ops are guaranteed a minimum price $1.31/lb for non-organic and $1.51/lb for certified organic coffee.

Fair trade farmers earn a $0.20 social premium and an additional $0.30 per pound for certified organic coffee beans.

Co-ops are guaranteed a minimum price of $0.10 above ‘C’ market price for conventional coffees with an addition $0.20 certified organic premium.

Can the premiums justify the fair trade and organic certifications? Ask the farmers themselves, the “real experts”.

  • More than 72% of generation X and Y are likely to buy organic foods as well as 59% of baby boomers.
  • Organic food buyers tend to be better educated (61% have at least some college education, compared with 54% for non-organic shoppers).
  • Six in 10 U.S. foods shoppers (60%) believe that organic foods are better for their health.
  • Conventionally grown products generally cost less, but is organic food safer or more nutritious?
  • Fair trade certified products are not necessarily also certified organic.
  • Unlike fair trade certified cocoa, the premium for organic cocoa is not fixed.
  • Higher prices of organic food are due, in part, to more expensive farming practices.

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Minimum Price

Producers receive a minimum price for their product. The minimum price must never fall below the market price.

The minimum price is set to cover the cost of sustainable production. If the market price for that product is higher than the minimum price, then producers should receive the market price.


Producers also receive a premium on top of the minimum price to invest in business or community projects including schools, transport, health care, sanitation, better business equipment and practices.

Farmers are offered between $150 to $500 in premiums per metric ton on top of local or international market prices for fair trade cocoa and coffee.


Producers are required to pay an initial certification fee in addition to an annual fee. Most farmers cannot afford the costs associated with certification which is $5,000 on average.

It is common for buyers in developed nations to pay for the cost of the certification. However, companies paying for the certification “on behalf” of the farmers, “own” the certificate. Under such arrangements, farmers may not sell their products to other companies.

Producers must meet social, economic and environmental standards set by the certifying organization.

License Fees

Traders, brand-owners and retailers pay an annual fee and or license fee of 2% of the net wholesale prices in order to use the fair trade organization’s trademark on their products.

Alternative Trading Organizations (ATOs), are purely dedicated to trading fairly and have been doing so for many years before fair trade certification was established.


Arrange to have your labels reviewed or updated before your next shipment.

Canadian, Mexican, European, Asian food labels are not FDA compliant.