At Expo West 2012 this past weekend, I had the good fortune of attending a rooftop cocktail party hosted by Fair Trade USA. While the attendees at the event were served tasty cheeses, dried fruit, and cocktails made from Fair Trade Certified vodka (more on that later) the main squeeze at the party were the 20 brands that were launching products containing fair trade ingredients. To my delight, samples of these exceptional products were in abundance.
This party occurred in the wake of news that sales of Fair Trade Certified natural food products rose a whopping 75 percent in the fourth quarter of last year over the first quarter of 2011, as reported by retail research company SPINS. The leading contender? Ice cream. Sales of frozen desserts like ice cream rose 394 percent in 2011. Even brands like Ben & Jerry’s have joined the bandwagon, offering Fair Trade Certified cocoa, vanilla, and coffee.
Here are some of my favorite new products that debuted at the party.
Three Twins Organic Ice Cream
The new darling of the Delicious Living editors, I tried Three Twins Vanilla Bean Speck flavor at the party. Always certified organic, the founders of this company know how to do ice cream right—smooth, full-bodied, and just slightly sweet. Yes, I am something of an ice cream connoisseur.
Alter Eco Chocolate
In addition to chocolate, Alter Eco also sells organic quinoa. So why not combine the two? The company’s Midnight Crunch flavor contains Fair Trade cocoa and puffed quinoa à la Nestle Crunch style.
Choice Organic Teas
Delicious Living has covered Choice Organic Teas in the past due to their support of the Jane Goodall Institute. But now this conscious company has expanded their line with new fairly traded teas: Decaffeinated Green, Masala Chai, and Rooibos Chai.
The main ingredient in my delicious, orange-scented and angostura bitters cocktail, FAIR Vodka boasts to be the first Fair Trade Certified spirit in the world. How? The super-distilled product is made from a certified organic quinoa mash.
Zhena's Gypsy Teas
Zhena introduced her new line of chai teas at the cocktail party. Available as chai concentrates or in traditional sachets, I fell in love with Caramel Chai Black Tea: ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and Fair Trade Certified Assam Black Tea combine into a silky, warming cuppa when swirled with milk.