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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Retailer tips: How to support fair trade and educate customers

Retailer tips: How to support fair trade and educate customers
Retailers talk about how to support fair trade and educate customers through email, labels, customer interaction, and brochures. We talk with David Kraemer, Good Food Store Co-op and Back Room Deli in Minnesota, Libby Rawlinson, Organic Marketplace in North Carolina, Sheila McNulty, Good Earth Natural Foods in California, and Patricia Hull, Atkinsons' Marketplace in Idaho.

We asked four retailers: How do you educate consumers about fair trade and support it?

David Kraemer, marketing manager of Good Food Store Co-op and Back Room Deli in Rochester, Minn.David Kraemer

We promote fair trade via email marketing, our Good Food News newsletter, in-store signage and a sticker system that indicates fairly traded produce. We stock as much fair trade produce as we can—bananas and other fruits and vegetables we can’t buy locally—along with coffee, chocolate and tea.

Libby Rawlinson, manager of Organic Marketplace in Gastonia, N.C.Libby Rawlinson

We always call out fair trade items with signage. Staff education is also really important, so that every employee knows how to explain fair trade when a shopper asks. There’s a lot of customer interest in fair trade items, in particular the health and beauty aids such as shea butter. We’ve been happy to see support of these products increase.

Sheila McNulty, marketing director of Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax, Calif. Sheila McNulty

Currently, we’re launching a shelf-tag labeling program in which fair trade is one of eight identifiers on our price tags, which will make it easier for customers to make informed purchasing choices. We also carry many beautiful, handmade, fair trade items in the housewares department that we promote for gift giving.

Patricia Hull, manager of Atkinsons’ Market in Bellevue, Idaho Patricia Hull

We have a handful of fair trade items, including tea, coffee and chocolate. Our customer-education materials are mostly brochures and shelf talkers, and we educate our employees on a situational basis. We have a large natural and organic section, and so we’d like to stock more fair trade items.


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