Shop Your Values in the New Year: Sorting Through the Labels

21 December 2016   |   Kyle Freund, Digital Content Manager, Fairtrade America

So you’re making New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthy and shop your values this year. Great! But with so many labels to choose from, how do you figure out which products match what you believe?

Many of the companies we work with carry other logos alongside the FAIRTRADE Mark – things like Gluten-Free, Kosher, or Non-GMO Project Verified. So go grab your shopping list because we’ve put together a handy guide to other certifications and verifications used by some of our Fairtrade partners.


Finding this logo on your products (or on company websites) means that they meet rigorous standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. BCorps are about doing business differently and moving beyond profit as the sole motivator.  Certified companies must prove that they use the power of the market to solve social and environmental problems. There are now nearly 2,000 certified BCorps around the globe and growing (see Ben & Jerry’s)

Non-GMO Project Verified

This little blue box with a butterfly has been popping up more and more as the debate over genetically modified (GMO) products rages on. While one side believes they have a right to know what goes in their food, the other side claims there is no difference between GMO and non-GMO products and so consumers don’t need to know. The Non-GMO Project Verified logo gives you the ability to see which companies have taken steps to avoid GMO ingredients. (See Endangered Species Chocolate, Nature’s Path, and others)

Gluten Free

While many think that gluten is only found in wheat products, it’s more prevalent than most people expect, especially if a product comes from a factory that uses wheat as an ingredient in any of its recipes. For people living with Celiac’s disease or who have a gluten sensitivity, the Gluten Free mark helps them navigate grocery store aisles. (See Lily’s Sweets, Endangered Species Chocolate)


Kosher certification refers to the types of food Jewish people may eat or the ways they are prepared, including cleanliness, purity and quality. To carry the mark, all products and the processes for preparation must be certified Kosher by a rabbi. (See Kishé coffee)

USDA Organic

Products carrying the USDA Organic label are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, GMOs or a host of other substances common in conventional agriculture. Consumer interest in organic production has grown dramatically in recent years as consumers have become wary of large-scale industrial agriculture and seek out production methods that are healthier for the environment and soil. (See Organic India, Conscious Step Socks, Nature’s Path)

Vegan Certified

The Vegan certified logo means that products bearing it contain no animal ingredients or animal by-products used in the production. They are also not tested on animals. Vegan Action, the organization authorizing use of the mark, only certifies products and not whole companies. Last year, Ben & Jerry’s introduced a vegan-certified non-dairy line.

Shop Your Values This Year

Every choice you make is a vote for the world you want. There are many ways to shop your values and this list includes just a few of the major certifications and verifications out there. What do you look for when you’re shopping? What label is most important to you? Let us know in the comments below.

Find the full list of products that meet the rigorous Fairtrade International Standards here.

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Fairtrade America partners with brands on the journey to certification and beyond. We can help with everything from finding a certified supply chain to marketing your newly certified product.

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