- Target’s Archer Farms coffee products, including bags and pods, will be fair trade certified by 2022, Reuters first reported.
- About 20% of Archer Farms coffee is already certified, and Target sells around 6 million pounds of the private label coffee annually.
- Target is teaming up with Fair Trade USA to complete the certification process. The Fair Trade Certified program works to ensure coffee producers are paid fairly for their products and have safe working conditions.
Target first announced that some of its Archer Farms coffee would be fair trade in 2016, citing the importance of farm-to-cup improvements for customers. The decision to certify its entire private label coffee line as fair trade is a natural next step in the process, and indicates that shoppers have responded well to the initial offering.
Fair trade certification continues to be important to shoppers. Part of consumers' demand for transparency in food production involves understanding more about the supply chain, from the number of food miles a product traveled to reach their plate to the how goods in foreign countries are produced and whether or not farmers are paid well.
Sales of coffee products rose nearly 10% when they featured the fair trade label, according to a study from Harvard Business School. Nearly half of all coffee meets some type of sustainability standard, reflecting sentiment among consumers to know where their coffee comes from and to support fair practices.
Fair trade coffee is a big business for grocery retailers, especially those with private label coffee lines. Kroger’s Simple Truth coffee products are fair trade certified, and Amazon's Happy Belly coffee products are made from fair trade certified, organic coffee beans.
In 2017, Walmart joined the Sustainable Coffee Challenge in an effort to sustainably source its private label coffee products by the end of 2020. It’s wholesale arm, Sam’s Club, also offers fair trade coffee through its Member's Mark brand, and has made $2 million in investments to help farmers and families in coffee cultivating regions.
Whole Foods Market created its in-house Whole Trade Guarantee program, which is designed to provide better wages and working conditions, environmental stewardship, community development, and donations. Brandless and Thrive Market also offer fair trade coffee under their own brands.
Despite U.S. consumer support for fair trade, Reuters reported that coffee producers worldwide have been suffering from low prices, forcing some growers out of business. The Fair Trade Certified program sets a minimum floor price of $1.40 per pound for coffee farmers while also providing an additional 20 cents per pound.
Correction: In a previous headline for the article, the year Archer Farms coffee would be fair trade certified was incorrect. It is 2022.