Fair Trade Foods

Fair trade foods come from all over world and the number of countries participating in fair trade grows every year. Normally fair trade foods do not come from North America but increasingly foods from marginalized people in the first world are gaining certification as the rules change

Coffee: Originated in Ethiopia. There are two types of commercially available coffee Arabica and Robusta, with Arabica considered the superior type. Available as fair trade both certified and increasingly as Direct Fair Trade.

Cocoa: Cocoa is native to the Americas. There are three types of cocoa plant; Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero. Criollo is considered the highest quality but it is also the most difficult to cultivate. Available as certified and direct fair trade.

Tea: Black, Green and Herbal. Available as certified and Direct Fair Trade. Herbal teas are made from culinary and medicinal herbs as well as herbs that are only used for tea such as Rooibos.

Fruit: Fair trade fruit is available fresh, dried, as fruit juice and as a componenet in compound products such as jams. It's not likely you'll find fresh fair trade fruit from Africa in the Bay Area, you might find it dried or as juice.

Grains: Currently the two main grains available as fair trade are Quinoa and Rice but there are increasing possibilities for other non-wheat grains to become available as there is greater interest in gluten-free products.

Oils & Nuts: Oils are derived from many sources and are used for food and cosmetics. Nuts, beans and seeds including sesame.

Sweeteners: Honey, sugar, molasses, Agave and Stevia. Fair trade honey often comes from hives kept by fair trade coffee growing cooperatives since the bees pollinate the coffee plants.

Seasonings: Many of the spices we use every day cannot be cultivated, they can only be harvested from wild sources. Some certication organization certify based on practices rather than location so fair trade salt is avaiable from Spain.

Spirits: Vodka, Wine, Beer, Liqueur and Rum. Vodka is a grain spririt, fair trade vodka is made from Quinoa. Rum is a cane sugar based spirit. Liquers are made from fair trade coffee and Gogi berry from Himalayas.

Fish: Only wild fish caught by Native people can be certified. Only wild caught fish can be certified because farmed fish is not sustainable.


By far the most common fair trade product, coffee is after all what started modern fair trade. Coffee is an inelastic commodity, that is to say that even if the price of coffee goes up significantly, people will still pay for it. That's because coffee is a drug.

If you want to learn about what coffee farmers who are being left out of fair trade have to go through, check out the Movie Black Gold