Fair trade flourishing
The word is getting out: Buy fair trade. Consumers around the world spent almost $3.6 billion on fair-trade-certified products in 2007—a 47 percent increase from 2006—according to Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. While fair-trade coffee sales grew steadily, sales of fair-trade juice quadrupled and sugar doubled. The growth came from expansion of existing markets and the opening of new ones, according to FLO; but despite 40 percent average yearly growth during the past six years, FLO sees plenty of room and clear need for further growth.
Cali grocers recycle
Grocers in the Golden State are pushing the recycling envelope. Many grocery retailers have diverted more than 50 percent of their waste streams from landfills, according to the California Grocers Association. CGA reported that grocers in the state recycled nearly 2.3 billion pounds of plastic, paper, cardboard, wood, green waste and animal products in 2006. Conventional retailers are jumping on the bandwagon too, with the number of stores participating in recycling programs continuing to grow.
Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organic dairy, is looking to cows as a new source of energy at its Big Sky Dairy near Gooding, Idaho. By developing an anaerobic digester, the Dallas-based company plans to divert cattle manure—and greenhouse gas methane—to energy. Anticipated to be operational by early 2009, the digester is expected to have the capacity of more than one megawatt per hour of renewable energy, which will be sold back into the local power grid.
Manufacturers and marketers are using the term sustainability left and right, but do shoppers actually know what it means? A new survey by New York-based market-research firm BuzzBack showed that only about a third of U.S. responders said they were “very familiar” or “extremely familiar” with the term. Only 3 percent reported buying more organic food as one of the changes they’re making to fight global warming. —H.O.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 7/p. 20