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PITTSBURGH and BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Giant Eagle and Sam's Club are among the diverse group of retailers participating in the first-ever Fair Trade Display Challenge being coordinated by TransFair USA to recognize Fair Trade Month, which begins tomorrow.
"We wanted a way to mutually support Fair Trade suppliers and to elevate Fair Trade's presence in supermarkets," explained Chris White, national retail and hospitality account manager for TransFair USA, the sole certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States and initiator of Fair Trade Month. "Fair Trade Certified" guarantees that farmers in developing nations are being paid a fair price for their crops.
All food retailers, from one-store owners to large chains, are invited to participate in the display challenge, which will run between now and Nov. 15, White told Progressive Grocer. Three winners will receive a trip for two to Costa Rica, where they will visit Fair Trade cooperative farms first-hand, including a sugar co-op, banana co-op, and coffee co-op.
The contestants will be judged on their creativity, the diversity of the Fair Trade product mix they display, customer appeal, and consumer education.
For its part, Giant Eagle is featuring Fair Trade end cap displays in all its stores, which highlight 35 Fair Trade Certified products that include 10 brands and items such as chocolate, rice, and sugar, said White.
Sam's Club, meanwhile, is centering its displays on its recent launch of the Marques de Paiva Fair Trade Certified Gourmet French Roast coffee from Cafe Bom Dia. The whole bean coffee is being sold in 40-ounce bags at all 555 Sam's Club locations nationwide.
"Sam's Club is committed to providing our members with high-quality products that meet their needs and fit their lifestyles," said Matt Kistler, Sam's Club's v.p., private brands, in a statement. "The Marques de Paiva coffee is a high-quality gourmet product that helps us exceed our members' expectations."
Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats is also getting involved in Fair Trade Month through special promotions and educational efforts, as Progressive Grocer reported earlier this week.
Retailers that are looking for Fair Trade products might want to consult United Natural Foods, Inc., which is the largest distributor of Fair Trade Certified products, noted White. The company has a substantial line of products on promotion throughout October, he said.
For more information on the display challenge, visit http://www.FairTradeDisplayChallenge.org.