Consumers in the US were given a larger variety of Fair Trade Certified products to choose from last year, as the market expanded its reach into green peppers, vodka, herbs, spices and extracts, says a new report released by Fair Trade USA.

The 2010 Almanac, released Tuesday, found record volumes of growth in Fair Trade Certified imports, a dramatic increase in organic imports and increased brand recognition, the report said.

Last year saw more than 9,500 consumer products qualify for the Fair Trade label, including new entries from the alcohol and spirits industry into the US.

FAIR, a quinoa-based vodka and fairtrade spirit headquartered in Paris, made its US debut last year, entering markets in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. The spirit is a joint collaboration between French distillers and Bolivian farmers and was the first to use quinoa as its base, in addition to being the first spirit in the world to be certified as Fair Trade.

The group also noted that interest in Fair Trade Certified herbs and spices is growing in the US, with mainstream brands seeking out socially responsible ingredients. Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's, for example, is converting the vanilla sourced for its ice creams to Fair Trade Certified.

Growth in the fairtrade market has generated $44 million in premium funds to coffee farmers since Fair Trade USA first established itself 12 years ago.

Cocoa experienced a 67 percent growth in imports over the previous year, 88 percent of which was also certified organic.

Fair Trade citrus saw explosive growth as well, increasing 96 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, while imports of sugar rose 60 percent.

The group also singled out the wine industry as another promising area of growth, after two Fair Trade wines were recognized by industry magazine Wine Spectator.

http://www.fairtradeusa.org/

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