14 November, 2017

Shopping Sustainable? Best make LOFT-y Choices

Sustainable Shopping
by Fairtrade America

Every day we’re confronted by a deluge of options in the super market aisle. Making the sustainable choice can be a chore. But if you think LOFTy – local, organic and Fairtrade – you’ll find items that are good for you and good for the planet.

The average supermarket carries more than 47,000 different products, according to a study from the Grocery & Retail News. For context, in 1975 the average supermarket stocked around 9,000 items.

As a shopper and parent looking for the best options for your family, it can be tough to sort through this sonic boom of choice.

On your next trip down those fluorescent-lit aisles, we suggest you make your goals LOFT-y.

For the maximum impact in your community, your country, and the world, look to see if something is produced nearby. You get extra points if it’s organic. And when you can’t support local farmers, think of Fairtrade as your global farmer’s market. (Remember that the majority of Fairtrade certified products – think coffee, tea and cocoa – are not produced in the US, so there are no local options.)

A few other facts to consider:

  • Local - In the past 10 years the number of farmer’s markets across the US have grown from 3,700 to more than 8,200. Many grocery stores now mark products that are sourced from nearby farms and companies.
  • Organic – According to the Organic Trade Association, demand has grown by double-digits nearly every year since the 1990s, reflecting consumers’ desire for quality products that are good for the land.
  • Fairtrade – With over 35,000 products sold in 140 countries, the Fairtrade label continues to be the most recognized and trusted ethical label. Any product carrying it meets rigorous social, economic and environmental criteria set by Fairtrade International and monitored by an independent certifier.    

Many of the values espoused by the “buy local” movement and organic farmers are in line with those that drive Fairtrade shoppers, such as:

  • the desire to support small-scale family farming;
  • the desire to support sustainable farming;
  • the desire to avoid large corporate intermediaries;
  • the desire to know who grew the food, a connectedness or transparency;
  • the desire to buy directly, or at least more directly;
  • and the wish that more of the purchase price would reach the farmer.

Ultimately, the local, organic and fair trade movements all share a similar vision – getting consumers and producers to think not just about what they produce/purchase, but how it comes to us.

Remember to make LOFT-y choices the next time you visit the grocery store to do better for people and planet. Find a full list of Fairtrade products here.

Sustainable Shopping infographic

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