read more posts by

Bethany McGinnis

Scott Williams and his Extraordinary Team at Central Christian Church, Indiana

Scott Williams of the Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lebanon, Indiana, started learning about marginalized groups in Central America after 2001, when he visited Honduras with his son, Andy and friends on their first trip abroad. They were trying to determine possible mission plans for a large group church trip the next year. Supported by DOC Global Missions, they connected with a couple different development groups. During one of their visits Scott remembers this, “A community leader told us that the most important way that we could help them was to go back to the U.S. and tell people their story.” This idea stayed with Scott, who was an educator and elementary school principal; it has guided him through the journey of the last 15 years.

In 2006 Central Christian Church (DOC) decided to send a group of 23 high school students and adults to El Salvador through a project created by Global Missions and their lead missionary, Marco Gonzalez.  Hurricane Mitch had devastated the country, and the group helped to rebuild houses for the small community of “Puente Azul” (Blue Bridge in Spanish). The ten-day trip made such a major impression on the students that when they returned, they convinced their parents and other church members to raise funds for scholarships so that middle school and high school students in Puente Azul could remain in school. At that time, the community had no high school graduates in its history; these stipends allowed seven students to stay in school that first year. This is when the Central Christian Church (DOC) leaders made a decision to sell Equal Exchange fairly traded chocolate to raise the funds for the stipends. Since then the congregation has been selling EE products and they’ve managed to raise funds for students even though they’re only 150 members strong. To date,18 students have graduated from high school in Puente Azul. 

Scott (far left) with Pastor Dale Matherly and a student and his mother

When Scott and a delegation visited again in 2009, they asked Puente Azul members what else they could do next to help improve their quality of life. The answer was immediate and unanimous: “la luz”–electric lights. Puente Azul was located far enough away from the main city, Sonsonate, so that power lines had to yet come to them–even though they had been promised those lines for 20 years. The result was the Central Christian Church’s solar panel project.  With the support of Ricardo Barrera, an architect and activist in San Salvador, the group developed a plan to install residential solar panels–with storage batteries and light fixtures–in each of the homes of Puente Azul. This project kept a small army of Central Christian Church members and installation workers busy for the next eight years. By July 2019, there were 63 homes with solar panels, nearly serving the entire community of 82 homes. By December of 2019, the promise of the grid finally reached the community, which meant that all families finally had “la luz.” The solar panel installation cost averaged about $1,400 per home.

A typical solar installation

A typical result–each panel came with four lights wherever the family chose

Central Christian Church (DOC) has also funded these ongoing projects at Puente Azul by holding a golf tournament every fall. And there’s always a basket of Equal Exchange products raffled off at the event. Other churches who have heard the story of Central Christian’s projects have also contributed to the programs. By 2019, the church had raised over $85,000 for the solar panel project along with enough money to fund the scholarship program for nine more students each year. Last year during COVID-19, Scott and his team did what they could to adapt to the situation. They expanded an area in the church parlor where people could purchase a range of Equal Exchange products: coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts, etc., along with a price list, EE posters, and a basket. 

Scott Williams, with his team of congregants at the Central Christian Church (DOC) are truly extraordinary. They keep raising funds for Puente Azul and telling and retelling their story to others as often as they can. They are now helping the community to build composting latrines. Over the last decade and a half, they congregation has helped to transform Puente Azul into a more vibrant place, enriching and transforming the members of both communities. Equal Exchange is proud to have played a small part in these projects. We honor Scott and his congregation and pass their story along to you as an inspiration.

Get more inspiration to help you engage your own faith based group around fair trade and social justice here.

Sara Anderson: Coordinator Extraordinaire at UU Church of Arlington

Sara Anderson, a member of the UU Church of Arlington, VA shared the story of how her church community got involved with fair trade and how they use the profits from their Equal Exchange sales in a tremendously giving way. Sara is also an active member of Equal Exchange’s Citizen Consumer community.

The UUCAVA fair trade sale table

“In the early 1990’s two members of UUCAVA, Jane and Wayne McKeel began a group called “Globalization Watch” to inform congregants about the ways in which so-called ‘free trade’ was not good for anyone but the large corporations. One of our speakers was from a UU Church who sponsored an ‘accompanier’ for Mayans in Guatemala seeking redress for harm to tribal farmers by mining corporations. The UU Service Committee had a program which bought coffee, tea and chocolate from farmers’ cooperatives in Guatemala and elsewhere–the ‘coffee project.’ Our group decided to take action by supporting them, which meant buying from Equal Exchange, the partner of UUSC in this endeavor.

Since then, we’ve held monthly sales of EE products, at least until the covid-19 pandemic ended in-person church services. We’ve encouraged our customers to continue buying EE products individually through the coffee project so UUSC benefits.
We made a slight profit from these sales, which we directed the church to give to Alianzsas, a UUCAVA group that supports the accompanier program and also provides scholarships to Mayan students. Alianzsas members began to help out with our sales. We have encouraged donations to Alianzsas to make up for the loss of income during the pandemic.”

A huge thank you goes out to Sara and the longtime UUSC Fair Trade Project participants at UUCAVA who are living the UU values through their work promoting economic justice for small scale farmers and environmental sustainability through organic farming practices.

Scott G: Equal Exchange Advocate Extraordinaire

Sometimes there is a faith-based advocate for Equal Exchange who works outside of the direct church or synagogue environment. This is the case of Scott G. who sells products to assist small farmers out of his office. Scott is a scientist who has worked at a tech company for 35 years and offers Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate to other employees. We interviewed him about his special project. 

As a Mennonite, Scott got involved with offering Equal Exchange products because he saw that there were very few ways to get money to poor people in underdeveloped countries. He read about how Catholic Charities was doing good work with cooperatives in Guatemala and turned to Equal Exchange because it worked with small farmer cooperatives. “Most people know that I got into it because of my affiliation with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)” he said. Scott says that he’s in it “for the right reasons.” He’s into the mission of supporting small farmers.  

He doesn’t take a cut or make any money. In fact if anything he loses money because he gives away free samples. Colleagues have learned about his ministry through word of  mouth. “It’s special because it’s person to person; there’s a relational part to the coffee purchase.” People leave checks for Scott as they help themselves to coffee or chocolate that’s available in his office. He sometimes delivers products to other locations. 

One person Scott knows is receiving cancer treatments.  “I keep him in chocolate,” he said.  Over time, Scott has expanded sales of coffee and chocolate to his community. He sells to a friend who works at a nonprofit for low-income housing. And there’s a woman who supervises a crew which cuts trees and fix lines for Verizon, she brews coffee for the workers which is available in thermoses and bakes for her crew. She buys 30-40 lbs. of coffee at a time. During COVID Scott kept a stack of products at home. He delivers coffee and chocolate to people’s homes. During COVID it’s been important to give things to folks, he says. “People are stressed, ” he said. “I’m glad that it makes people happy.”  

He and his wife, Sharon, also bought a couple of cases of the EE organic Palestinian olive oil over the holidays to give as Christmas gifts. Sharon went over to the West Bank several years ago with Christian groups through the Mennonite Church USA. They both love the taste of the olive oil. Scott has really enjoyed sharing EE products with others and spreading the word about the mission. Eventually he will retire, but he’s hoping that someone at work will take it on. We appreciate Scott’s commitment to small farmers. He is truly an Equal Exchange Advocate Extraordinaire.

If you’d like to share your story with the Equal Exchange community please submit your details here.

Extraordinary Coordinators at UU Fellowship of Vero Beach

This is the story of the Fair Trade Corner at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach as related by Pam Pelliccia. It’s the history of the UUSC Fair Trade Project at the Fellowship and highlights Gale Parmentier, who is retiring, and played a key role in the growth and success of their program. 

“It all started with a cup of coffee. In 2002 Social Justice Committee members Irwin Sadetsky and Susan Winters started putting UU principles into action during the weekly coffee hour. If UU’s drank coffee, they thought let it be fairly traded coffee to support small farmers and the concept of decent wages. Susan and Irwin, as part of the Social Justice Committee began purchasing organic coffee from Equal Exchange fair trade cooperative to serve during coffee hour. The coffee was so enjoyed by our congregants that it was decided to offer it for sale to help cover the cost of serving not just a cup of coffee but a “just” coffee. A small card table was set up in the back corner of the 43rd Avenue multipurpose room and thus the Fair Trade Corner name evolved. Soon decaf, whole bean coffee, tea, hot chocolate and chocolate bars were added.  

When we moved in 2005 and our church expanded, it included the current Fair Trade Corner. Our inventory grew to include many additional items like olive oil, chocolate chips, and baking cocoa. 

Our sales increased to cover the cost of serving organic, fair trade coffee, tea & hot chocolate at coffee hour and at other UU social activities and to also provide funding for environmentally sustainable improvements to our UU building. Now you might be wondering how in the world did the Fair Trade Corner evolve from a small card table to the 330 sq ft space it currently occupies. Susan Winters was the founder, and many have helped, but another has been the heart, the soul, and the driving force. This other is Gale Parmentier.  Member Jennifer Hadel shared, ‘I have to say that I worked in Fair Trade with Gale for a good number of years and have the greatest respect for her.  She is amazing.  Her commitment to Fair Trade and her energy, dedication and enthusiasm can’t be equaled.’

And former member Cindi Jorgensen shared these thoughts about Gale: ‘Anyone who knows Gale knows her meticulous nature. Price tags are painstakingly placed straight! Items are arranged artistically! When I first came to UUFVB, she was the person who welcomed me and allowed me to become part of the FTC group. She gave me purpose and a way to become part of the cool kids. Our community owes her a mountain of thanks.’”

In nearly 20 years of support of the UUSC Fair Trade project at Equal Exchange, UUFVB has consistently been among our top faith-based customers in the US thanks to Susan, Irwin, Gale, Pam and others in the congregation. While many programs shut down during the pandemic last year UUFVB kept the flame burning and purchased over $3,000 worth of Equal Exchange products due to their energy in adapting their fair trade program. We are sincerely grateful for their commitment and enthusiasm for justice.

If you’d like to share your story with the Equal Exchange community please submit your details here.

Carol Bjelland: Coordinator Extraordinaire at Ascension Lutheran Church

Carol Bjelland, a member of the fair trade committee at Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, CA is a shining example of an organizer who has taken the church community’s commitment to choosing ethically sourced products to another level. We were so impressed by Carol’s description of the pandemic-adapted activities they did last year and we wanted to share them with the wider EE community.

Carol writes,

“We had great fun doing our virtual coffee & chocolate tasting on a Sunday afternoon.  We had Ascension members & friends of Ascension participate. The Congo Coffee Project coffee was a huge hit. One of our tasters said it was smooth like Morgan Freeman’s voice. Ethiopian and Bird of Paradise coffees were fan favorites too.  We’re adding to our list of fair traders on a regular basis – we’re now over 40 regular purchasers.

We’re doing our Adult Ed class using some of the presentation slides you shared with us. Ascension really loves Equal Exchange Coffee & Chocolate! During Covid, in-person sales events transitioned to preordering opportunities 4-5 times this year.

For the October 2020 preordering window, we played a little guessing game that we called, “Do You Know Beans? Coffee & Cacao Beans, That is!”  We asked people to guess how much coffee and chocolate (in all forms) Ascension’s fair traders ordered in October. We published the weights of all of the various coffee & chocolate products. We learned we have some very serious coffee & chocolate lovers….38 lbs of chocolate and 63 lbs of coffee were ordered in this window alone. The best guessers received prizes of Equal Exchange’s chocolate, tea or snacks. 

We’re so very thankful for the farmers who grow the great coffee & cacao beans that we get to enjoy!

Carol Bjelland of Ascension Lutheran church
Carol Bjelland

Way to go, Carol and team! What an inspirational bunch. It’s no surprise that Ascension Lutheran Church was in the top 5% of the thousands of Equal Exchange’s faith-based supporters around the country based on fair trade purchases in 2020.

If you’d like to share your story with the Equal Exchange community, please reach out to us at interfaithreps@equalexchange.coop or submit your details here

Have a Contact-Free Fair Trade Sale

Offering fairly traded and organic coffee, tea, chocolate and cocoa to your community provides an opportunity to buy meaningful, high quality gifts and can even add some additional income for your own group’s special projects and programs. 

Small-scale farmers around the world need your support.  During COVID-19, farmers have been having a harder time staying healthy, continuing to do the work of planting and harvesting their crops, and feeding their families. Now is the right time to remind your group why fair trade matters. You don’t need to wait, you can still plan a successful and contact-free sale now.  Follow these steps to make your fair trade sale a reality despite these socially-distanced times.

Equal Exchange's Solidarity Gift Box

Choose the selection of products you’ll offer 

Here are our most popular products that sell well because they make great gifts:

  • Chocolate Bar Collection Box: nine of our top chocolate bars for stocking stuffers or gifts
  • Solidarity Box: A variety of some of our best sellers in each category
  • Coffee: Sisters’ Blend, Breakfast Blend, Love Buzz, & French Roast 
  • Chocolate bars: Dark Chocolate with Mint, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Orange, Panama Extra Dark Chocolate 80% cacao
  • Tea: English Breakfast, Peppermint, Ginger
  • Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil: an excellent host or hostess gift as an alternative to wine 
  • Hot Cocoa Mix: just add water to this cold-weather favorite with milk already in the mix
  • Baking Cocoa: rich, unsweetened cocoa perfect for desserts or making your own hot chocolate

Because Equal Exchange products aren’t sold on consignment, starting small with your product offerings allows you to take pre-orders, fill a full case requirement, and get free shipping. It also reduces the chance that you’ll have any leftover products. When deciding what your product pricing will be, look at the unit cost per item in the case and just round up to the nearest dollar (for example, $7 for a 12oz bag of coffee or $3 for a chocolate bar). 

If you’d like this sale to be a fundraiser, marking up the products a bit more will help you reach your fundraising goals. In many retail stores, 12oz bags of Equal Exchange coffee are sold for around $9, tea for $5, olive oil for $15, cocoa for $8 and chocolate bars for $4. 

To view all of our product options, pricing and case sizes, check out our full wholesale case price list.

Promote your sale

Edit this template for holiday e-bulletins or newsletters to promote your sale at a virtual service, on social media, or in an email blast. Let people know which products you have for sale, the cost, how to order with you, and the deadline to order. For payment, a person to person payment app like Venmo or PayPal works well, or you can accept checks. Decide if you will offer delivery or if you will set a date for curbside pick-up in a central location. Your announcement flyer might look something like this:

Sample announcement flyer with sale dates and prices
If you have more space in a newsletter or announcement to explain the mission for people who aren’t familiar with fair trade, try this example wording: “Give quality gifts that give more! Equal Exchange products are sourced from small-scale coffee, tea, cocoa, and olive oil farmer cooperatives worldwide. Through fair trade, farmers are better able to support their families, protect the environment, and strengthen their communities. During the Pandemic, they need our support more than ever before.”  Or show this 2 minute Equal Exchange video.

Order from Equal Exchange

Stacked boxes of Equal Exchange coffee bags

Now that you have collected the congregation’s pre-orders, round up to the wholesale case pack quantity for all products.  Order online or call the order in to our Customer Service team at 774-776-7366. There is no minimum order, but you can earn free shipping on orders of $135 or more. Pay by credit card or, if you want to establish credit terms with Equal Exchange, we will invoice you after you sign the agreement form.  We will ship your entire order to one location, but it can be a home address.

How far ahead should you order? We recommend leaving 10 business days for your order to arrive, but check with our team at 774-776-7366 for a personalized shipping estimate depending on your location. 

Unpack and distribute Once the bulk order arrives, parcel out individual orders into their own bag. You can have a contact-free curbside pickup at a central location like the church or synagogue parking lot. Or, if you have the ability to deliver the orders locally, let people know when you will drop them off. If people have not paid yet, collect payment. 

Your community and small farmers around the world will appreciate the effort you’ve put in to make this fair sale happen during a very challenging time for many.

Have questions? Call 774-776-7366 or email us at interfaithreps@equalexchange.coop. We’re ready to help you plan.

Susan Domey-Allen: Coordinator Extraordinaire at UCC Norwell

For many of us, February is a month filled with love…and chocolate. This month, we highlight social justice activist and top Equal Exchange supporter Susan Domey-Allen of UCC Norwell in Massachusetts. Susan recently shared their fair trade story and a variety of ways to reach out to others to ensure sure that purchases of chocolate don’t contribute to slave labor, human trafficking and injustice for cacao producers.

Susan says, ” The United Church of Christ (UCC) Norwell has been active in supporting Equal Exchange since when I joined the church back in 2007.  We adopted a Fair Trade program within our Mission & Outreach ministry team and dove in feet first by attending advocacy trainings by Equal Exchange.  We then volunteered to staff booths at local UCC meetings and functions locally and within New England. 

A sale table full of Equal Exchange chocolates and a sign that says "Buy Fair Trade: Put your Beliefs into Action;Become a Conscious Consumer"

We have gone from having sales roughly twice a year to sales every month and bringing in an average of  $350.00 to $400.00/month.  We have named our program the “Fairly Traded Initiative” and are now also getting more involved in community outreach.  Volunteers have presented adult education forums within our own congregation, in other churches, and in forums while partnering with the UCC Norwell Human Trafficking Awareness Ministry Team.  Here we explain the role of Fair Trade in association with human trafficking victims and survivors (both labor and sexual trafficking). 

In the one-minute video, Susan explains how she educates her community about slave labor in the chocolate industry:

In 2016 the Fairly Traded Initiative started being a regular vendor at “Super Saturday’s” sponsored by the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.  In October of 2018 we presented a workshop entitled  Fair Trade: God’s call to Consciousness–Shopping is Mission where the emphasis was on chocolate and educating on what “fair trade” products are.


To expand our community outreach and collaborate with other local churches, the Fairly Traded Initiative organized a Fair Trade / Local Artisans’ Market in the fall of 2017.  That year we had 14 vendors representing a variety of global programs many of which represented some form of “fair trade.”  In 2018 our second market had 20 vendors and received a full page write up in the local newspaper giving each vendor recognition.  Well over 300 patrons attended.  In 2019 we partnered with the South Shore Interfaith Coalition Against Human Trafficking to organize our 3rd Market.  We had a variety of vendors, it was well attended, and our goal now is to have other churches or venues host the event.

A collection of fairly traded food and crafts for sale on a table display


2019  was a year of growth and expansion for the Fairly Traded Initiative. We had booming sales when we partnered with our Human Trafficking Coalition on the day of their forum in church.  In February we wrote heart felt cards of gratitude to small farmers as well as highlighting NO child slave labor chocolates.

In March I attended the Fair Trade Campaigns National Conference in Chicago where I represented my church and my passion and commitment to Equal Exchange and justice.  For July we partnered with New North Church in Hingham, MA to host a summer Fair Trade cheese & chocolate / organic wine & craft beer tasting.  In October we worked with the Quincy Fair Trade Task Force to put on a Fair Trade Market at the UCC Wollaston Church and in November we hosted our own.

The Fairly Traded Initiative is taking a leap in 2020 to expand our outreach to the social media market and involve the global network.  UCC Norwell has had a relationship with ASAPROSAR ( Salvadoran Association for Rural Health) a non-governmental health organization in western El Salvador for over 30 years.  Our August delegation (which I have been a part of since 2009) spends time in the rural communities with the poorest people.  Last year I spent time with many artisans who have utilized the Micro-credit program of ASAPROSAR to develop businesses.  Today it is difficult to find a market for their products and they have no means to export them on there own.  We are very excited to offer them this opportunity for global market partnership through an E-commerce website.  This project would never have been possible if not for my long term collaboration with Equal Exchange and all of the people that I have met on this journey of “fair trade” advocacy. 

UCC Norwell is proud to support Equal Exchange and be an active voice and advocate in the drive for justice along the food chain.”

Susan Domey-Allen next to a sign that says "Put your beliefs into action; become a conscious consumer".
Susan Domey-Allen of UCC Norwell

Susan and her team are true activists and superstars in our eyes and we at Equal Exchange are proud to keep cheering them on!

Avoid the Three Chocolate S’s: Slave labor. Soy. Sugar-overload.

Give chocolate that skips all the bad stuff! Here’s what to watch out for in your Valentine’s, Halloween, or Easter chocolate:

Slave Labor

There’s still slave labor in the chocolate industry today? 

It may surprise you to find out that slavery and child labor can still be found in the supply chains of major chocolate companies. Cacao (the agricultural product from which chocolate is made) is traded on the global commodity market. The price has dropped abruptly in recent years. But consumer demand for chocolate — especially inexpensive chocolate — has not. When companies are paying less for the same amount of product, that creates a real problem for farm workers. Journalists who cover the chocolate industry have documented labor abuses, including child labor and forced labor. It’s especially prevalent in West Africa, where much of the world’s cacao is grown.

According to a June 2019 article in the Washington Post Hershey, Nestle and Mars could not guarantee that any of their chocolate was produced without child labor. Demand transparency in your chocolate supply chain.

How do you know if your chocolate has been produced without slave labor? 

Most major corporations don’t advertise where their chocolate comes from and if the cacao farmers were paid fairly. In fact, we don’t hear them talking about it at all! So if you’re buying from one of the big guys, it’s not easy to answer that question.

We’re different. Equal Exchange works directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives in Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Togo as part of long-term, fair trading partnerships. Equal Exchange’s products meet the strict standards established by the Fair Trade Federation. This includes no child labor or slavery. We visit our farmer partners in person. We’ve met their families and know their names.  We’re proud to connect you with their stories and their high-quality, organic cacao.

ACOPAGRO cooperative member and cacao farmer Jorge Morales Luna harvests cacao in Peru with Annie Sholar of Equal Exchange

Soy lecithin

What is that again?

 Soy lecithin is an emulsifier made from phospholipids and oil derived from soybeans. Many chocolate bars contain soy lecithin because it lowers chocolate’s viscosity and extends the shelf life. Soy lecithin is inexpensive. It’s a byproduct that’s left over after soybean oil is manufactured. Using soy lecithin speeds up the chocolate-making process. That makes it cheaper to produce.

Which chocolate doesn’t have soy lecithin?

ALL of Equal Exchange’s chocolates are free from soy lecithin. Instead of using emulsifiers or fillers, we conch our chocolate the old-fashioned way. We don’t skimp on high quality, organic and fairly traded cocoa butter to make delicious, soy-free chocolate.

92% Total Eclipse Dark chocolate bar with some of the ingredients pictured next to it (sugar, vanilla, cocoa butter)
Equal Exchange’s chocolate has pure and simple organic ingredients you can pronounce

Sugar-overload

How much sugar is there in some chocolate bars?

We know that consuming a lot of sugar isn’t in our best interest, health-wise. Did you know that a 1.4oz size chocolate bar from a popular brand that rhymes with “Glove” has 22g of sugar per serving? You can choose a treat that isn’t a sugar-bomb but is still delicious.

What kind of chocolate is a good choice for someone who wants lower sugar but great flavor?

Equal Exchange’s best-selling Organic Panama 80% Dark Chocolate Bar has 8g of sugar per 12 piece serving (1.4oz, or half of an Equal Exchange chocolate bar). And sugar isn’t the first ingredient on the label. One reviewer describes it as “velvety smooth, not overly sweet but rich and satisfying.” Another says the bar has a “very creamy texture and full-body taste for a very dark chocolate bar.” Other Equal Exchange chocolate bar choices that are lower in sugar include our 71% Organic Very Dark Chocolate (11g of sugar per 12 piece serving), and our 92% Organic Total Eclipse Dark Chocolate bar (3g of sugar per 12 piece serving). You can find the ingredients and nutritional information on each of our chocolate bars online, Just click on the product and scroll down past the pricing information. 

Panama 80% Extra Dark Chocolate bars on a napkin with a bowl of unwrapped pieces of chocolate next to them
Decadent, fudge-like 80% extra dark chocolate makes a luxurious treat


Buy Equal Exchange Chocolate>>

Ready… set… chocolate sale! 5 steps to hosting a great one

Do you really need another reason to include more chocolate in your life? Hosting a chocolate sale can help you earn money for your group while offering decadent, organic chocolate bars. In addition to making people very happy, you’ll also be raising awareness about the importance of choosing ethical, slave-labor-free chocolate. You’re only 5 steps away from a successful chocolate sale!

1. Choose the best date for your chocolate sale and promote

Chocolate is certainly a welcome offering any time of year, although we find that it works well to time your sale around chocolate-centric holidays where people are looking yummy treats and gifts. We recommend planning a chocolate sale near Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter or Passover, Halloween, World Fair Trade Day (May 9th), or during Fair Trade Month (October). Pick a day you know a lot of people will be around. Once you have the date set, it’s time to let people know. To help you promote we’ve created posters, social media graphics and an e-newsletter template.

Editable pdf sign for your sale or event
Editable PDF Template

List what payment methods you’ll accept so people will come with cash if that’s what you’re accepting. Here are some additional graphics that you can use to create your own promotional materials. You can further educate potential buyers about how Equal Exchange’s fair trade chocolate supply chain is different than most by sharing this infographic on social media.

Chocolate Supply Chain Infographic
Chocolate Supply Chain Infographic

Setting your sale date will also let you know when you need to order from Equal Exchange to receive your chocolate in time. We recommend leaving at least 10 business days between the time you order and when you want your shipment to arrive.

2. Choose your chocolate selection

When is a Bar of Chocolate More Than Just a Piece of Candy?

Offer a variety that will cater to chocolate fans of different tastes.

For the dark chocolate lovers: Panama 80% Extra Dark Chocolate, Very Dark 71% Chocolate. Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

For those with a sweet-tooth: Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, Coconut Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate. Milk Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt, Hot Cocoa Mix

For those with adventurous tastes: Dark Chocolate Lemon, Ginger and Pepper, Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix, Extreme Dark 88% Chocolate, Total Eclipse 92% Dark Chocolate, Coconut Milk Chocolate

Classic chocolate choices: Dark Chocolate with Almond, Dark Chocolate with Mint Crunch, Dark Chocolate with Orange, Hot cocoa mix

If you want to sell bite-sized dark chocolate minis, buy them in bulk and sell them for $0.25-$0.50 each. We even sell a chocolate mini packaging kit to make 35 small bags of minis that you can sell as a bundle.

Here’s our full wholesale product list so you can see all of the options.

3. Order products by the case

Order online or call the order into our Customer Service Team at 774-776-7366 9-5 Eastern, Monday-Friday. The case unit of measure gets you 12 chocolate bars for $29.60 and cases of 6 cocoa canisters for $32. A vertical display rack is something to consider to neatly show your offering if you have a lot of chocolate to sell.

A woman selecting chocolate bars at a fair trade chocolate sale table

Because chocolate is a consumable product we’re unable to sell on consignment for safety and quality reasons. Purchase only what you are confident you can sell through before the best-by dates

Choose some add-ons to liven up your display like posters, chocolate pamphlets, a sale poster and Power to the Farmer stickers.

View additional downloadable educational resources here.

4. Set pricing for your chocolate

When you buy by the case, each individual chocolate bar costs you $2.47. But you can charge $3, $4 or even $5 a bar depending on your fundraising goals. If you’re not looking to raise any funds but just cover the cost of advertising materials and samples, charging $5 for two bars makes the bars affordable for many people. You can even pre-bundle a variety of five different bars and sell them for a reasonable $15.

If you’re hoping to fundraise and reach a specific goal, here are some guidelines:

By selling each bar for $3, you’ll profit $0.53 per bar ($6.36 per case of 12). If you charge $4 a bar, you’ll earn $1.53 for each bar sold ($18.36 per case of 12).

Cocoas are $5.33 each when purchased by the case, so charging $7 is a fair price that leaves you a modest profit of $10 per 6 canisters sold.

Calculate how many cases you’ll need to sell to reach your fundraising goal. 

Then use this handy product and price list template to input your specific sale items and the coordinating prices.

5. Display your chocolate and put out samples

Based on your mark-up, you can figure out how many bars you can spare for sampling and still make your profit goal. When people sample something, they’re more likely to want to buy it! Put out tongs and a plate of bite sized pieces for people to try. Place the bars for sale right by the sample so people can find everything easily. Consider posting allergen information near the sample (ie, contains nuts, dairy, etc) for safety. Many of our chocolate bars are vegan, and all are gluten-free and soy-free.

a child selects a piece of chocolate from a tray using tongs

Sampling will help you in another way — you’ll have conversations about what people like best and you’ll know what to order next time!

Bonus chocolate-themed activities

Set up a hot cocoa bar and sell customizable cups of cocoa

Host a chocolate and coffee pairing event

Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar with cup of coffee for a pairing

Give an educational presentation (<— under Video and PowerPoint) on how cacao is grown and why fair trade chocolate matters

Organize a chocolate tasting and end it with a chocolate sale

Three gnome dolls sit in front of three plates of chocolate piece samples on plates with tongs.
The Gnomes at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Oregon are offering delicious samples!

Plan a fair trade sale using these 5 tips

Selling fairly traded coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa and snacks to your community is a way to give them an opportunity to buy high-quality, fairly traded gifts for the holidays and add some additional income for your group. You don’t need to wait until next year, there’s still time to have one this season!  Here’s how to make a successful sale happen in 5 easy steps.

an array of fair trade and organic tea, cocoa, olive oil, almonds and coffee

  1. Choose the best products

    Here are our gifitiest and best-selling products

Because the products aren’t sold on consignment, you want to figure out how many cases of each product to order for your sale. If you’re wondering about kind of quantities to order for your crowd size, here are some recommendations>>

To see all of our product options, view our full wholesale case pricelist

  1. Order your way

    Shop online  or call your order in to our Customer Service team at 774-776-7366 M-F 9-5 EST. We recommend leaving 10 business days for your order to arrive, but check with our team for a personalized shipping estimate. We also offer expedited shipping if you’d like to have things arrive more quickly.

  2. Dress up your table to draw people in

    Use a festive tablecloth and a string of lights to make it eye-catching. A colorful sales table and a smiling person behind it say “come on over!”. Organize products neatly and re-purpose empty shipping boxes turned upside down under a tablecloth to create extra vertical space to showcase products. Order our table signs and posters to share information. You might even want to offer samples of Equal Exchange coffee, tea or bite-sized chocolate pieces to entice shoppers.

    a display of fair trade chocolate chips, cocoa and chocolate bars on a table

  3. Set prices that help you reach your goals

    You can raise funds for special  projects, trips or activities by marking up your products 25% to 40% of your wholesale unit cost. Round up to the nearest dollar to help cover your costs and make giving change easier.  Examples of reasonable prices are: $8 or $9 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa. Remember to tell folks what you’re raising money for — they’ll love being able to gift shop and help your cause!

    If fundraising isn’t your goal, charging your unit cost with just a small mark-up (round up to the next dollar to avoid handling change) is a great way to make fair trade products accessible to many people. You can sell multiple items at reduced prices to help encourage more sales, like 2 chocolate bars for $5 or 3 bags of coffee for $20. 

    After you decide what you want to charge, use our handy price list template to list items and prices to post at your sale table.

  1. Promote your sale and share the mission

    You know that fair trade is important for our global community, and now is a great time to tell shoppers why it matters. Edit these Customizable bulletin inserts and e-bulletins/newsletters to promote your sale at services or in an email blast. 

Try this example wording: “Give gifts that give more! Join us for our Fair Trade Sale [insert date, time and location]  Equal Exchange products are sourced from small-scale coffee, tea, cocoa and olive oil farmer co-operatives worldwide and profits from our sale go towards [insert your group, committee or reason for the sale here]. Through fair trade, farmers are better able to support their families, protect the environment and strengthen their communities.”  

poster on a door that says "we support small farmers" and "Sale today"

Create a poster announcing the sale and use these colorful mission posters by your sale table to drive the points home!

If you use social media to promote and are planning the sale to be a fundraiser, you might find these social media graphics helpful!

The meaning behind the products you sell will really set them apart from other options– so don’t be afraid to talk about it! Our talking points and brochures also help make it easy!

Personalized fair trade gifts for foodies

Wicker gift basket with green tea, coffee, chocolate bars and pecansConsumable gifts like coffee, tea and chocolate are wonderful because they won’t collect dust on a shelf and are perfect for that person who says they don’t need anything. What’s more, Equal Exchange products are organic and ethically sourced, so your gift says something meaningful about your values, too. 

Equal Exchange’s webstore offers wholesale case pricing that’s available to everyone A case means six packages of coffee, six boxes of tea, six canisters of cocoa or twelve bars of chocolate. Take advantage of amazing pricing on organic and fairly traded products by splitting cases up and making tasty, personalized gift collections for those you love!

Personalized gift ideas

Medjool Dates

Who are your favorite foodies? Gift them with some of our products from the Middle East. They extremely high-quality and support small-scale Palestinian farmers. Succulent Medjool dates, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil make memorable, delicious presents! 

a bowl of chocolate chip cookie mix in a bowl with Equal Exchange chocolate chips next to it

Know people who like to bake? Imagine giving them “Bakers’ Baskets” filled with organic pantry staples like Equal Exchange baking cocoa, or bittersweet chocolate chips.  Maybe they’ll bake something for you as a thank you!

 

congo coffee project coffee bagMothers, sisters and women who appreciate good coffee and social justice will delight in beautifully packaged bags of  Sisters’ Blend and Congo Coffee Project coffees. Both coffees tell a story and celebrate women. In addition to being fairly traded Congo Coffee has an extra bonus – a built-in donation for survivors of sexual violence at the Panzi Hospital in the DR Congo. 

a young girl holds a gift basket full of fair trade goodies like almonds, tea, and coffee with a sticker that says "power to the farmers".Our most popular products to mix and match

Another one of our favorite ideas for affordable gifts for your neighbors, kids’ teachers, or mail person is bite-sized chocolate minis in gift bags you can assemble yourself. 

How to Order:

Questions? 

Call us at 774-776-7366 or email communityorders@equalexchange.coop

Choose the Right Products for Your Equal Exchange Sale

Hosting a fair trade sale, holiday fair or gift market is a great way to introduce your community to ethically-sourced products or make a little money for your cause. Here are some guidelines to take the guesswork out of ordering.

Check out our wholesale case product guide to see case quantities and pricing. If you’re wondering how much your group could earn by marking up the products, we’ve given you some examples of how you might price the products.

Some groups want to keep prices as low as possible for their shoppers. They divide the cost of the wholesale case by the number of items in it, and then round up to the nearest dollar. Others mark the products up a little bit more, closer to what you might see in a retail store. Either way, small-scale farmers benefit!

We’ve listed our most popular and giftiest items below*. You can use this handy shopping guide to purchase these best-selling products in one collection.

Small sale suggestions
packages of fair trade, organic coffee for sale

  • 6 cases of coffee: Sisters’ Blend, Love Buzz, Congo (whole bean), Breakfast Blend, French Roast and a Decaf 
  • 6 cases of 12 chocolate bars: Dark Chocolate with Mint, Coconut Milk Chocolate or plain Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, 71% Very Dark, Dark chocolate with Orange, Panama Extra Dark Chocolate
  • 4 cases of 6 tea: English Breakfast, Peppermint, Green, Rooibos
  • 2 cases of 6 Palestinian Olive Oil
  • 3 cases of 6 Hot Cocoa Mix 

If you only marked the products up from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar (assuming you sell-through everything) you would still profit about $100 but you can choose to mark them up to whatever price point you think they’ll sell at.  If your goals are to raise money for your organization then examples of reasonable prices are: $9 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa. Using these prices you could even use the profits to pay for your group to serve organic, fair trade coffee, if you aren’t already serving Equal Exchange coffee regularly.

Want more variety? Consider ordering baking cocoa, nuts, and chocolate chips.

Medium Sale Suggestions
organic and fairly traded chocolate bars for sale

  • 8 cases of coffee: Sisters’ Blend, Love Buzz, 2c Congo (whole bean), 2c Breakfast Blend, French Roast and Decaf
  • 8 cases of 12 chocolate bars: Dark Chocolate with Mint, Coconut Milk Chocolate or plain Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, 71% Very Dark, Dark Chocolate with Orange, Panama 80% Extra Dark Chocolate
  • 5 cases of 6 tea: English Breakfast, Peppermint, Green, Rooibos, & Ginger
  • 3 cases of 6 Palestinian Olive Oil
  • 3 cases of 6 Hot Cocoa Mix 
  • 2 cases of 6 Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

You might only mark up the products from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar, but if you use a slightly larger mark up ($9 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa) your group would profit a few hundred dollars.

Possible add-ons include baking cocoa, nuts and chocolate chips. You might also offer empty baskets or bows for a small fee. People can make up their own gift baskets on the spot.

Large Sale Suggestions

gift basket including fair trade, organic goodies

  • 10 cases of coffee: 2c Sisters’ Blend, 2c Love Buzz, 2c Congo (whole bean), 2c Breakfast Blend, 1c French Roast & 1c Decaf
  • 12 cases of 12 chocolate bars: 2c Dark Chocolate with Mint, 2c Coconut Milk Chocolate or Milk Chocolate, 3c Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, 2c 71% Very Dark, Dark chocolate with Orange, 2c Panama Extra Dark 80% Chocolate
  • 8 cases of 6 tea: 2c English Breakfast, 2c Peppermint, 1c Green, 1c Rooibos, 1c Chai, & 1c Ginger
  • 4 cases of 6 Palestinian Olive Oil
  • 3 cases of 6 Hot Cocoa Mix 
  • 2 cases of 6 Dark Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 1 case of 6 Baking Cocoa

You can mark up the products from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar for a great deal. Or if you sold everything on that list at slightly larger mark up ($9 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa) your group would profit over $500!

For more variety and a larger impact on small-scale producers, consider adding nuts, chocolate chips or beautiful fair trade craft items from Ten Thousand Villages or SERRV.

Ready to order? Purchase on our webstore or call your order into our team at 774-776-7366 (9-5 eastern time Monday through Friday).  Remember, you pay the wholesale case price so you should mark up the products after they arrive. Here’s a handy price list template you might use. Find more display and promotional resources here.

We recommend leaving at least 10 business days between the time you order and when you can expect delivery of your Equal Exchange goodies!

*Please note: It’s impossible to know exactly how much people will buy from your sale, therefore these quantities are only suggestions to help you plan. Because they are consumable products, we can not offer them on consignment.

We strongly encourage you to to purchase only what you are confident you can sell through during your event.

Don’t forget these display and promotional tools for your sale:shoppers selecting fair trade items at a table sale

Assorted Brochures

Olive Oil Gift tags

Mission-focused posters

Talking points table sign

Customizable bulletin inserts and e-bulletins/newsletters to promote your sale

Editable Price List Template

Social Media Graphics

See our full list of educational and promotional items here >>

Looking for more tips and tricks for successful holiday sales?

Festively dress up your table and make gift baskets or ready-to-give gifts>>

Encourage a switch to Equal Exchange

You believe in paying fair prices to the farmers who produce your food. You support organic agriculture and sustainability. You want to contribute to an independent and transparent food system, but how do you get others to understand the issues and take action towards food justice?

Introduce the idea to your group

You can plan a short presentation using a combination of talking points and videos. If a presentation sounds too formal, just have a conversation with someone who is a decision-maker in your group or send them some of the info below in an email while explaining why fair trade is important to you. 

And having some Equal Exchange coffee or chocolate on hand for folks to taste might help them experience how delicious they are while they learn about the mission behind them.

Brush up on your fair trade knowledgeComic book with title "The History of Authentic Fair Trade"

Share the Equal Exchange basics

A smiling man poses with green cacao pods.Show the impact on farmers

Learn from other fair trade program organizers

A red bag of organic fair trade coffeeWhy switch your coffee?

Why does fair trade chocolate matter?

Chocolate Supply Chain Infographic

Big name chocolate companies like Nestle, Mars and Hershey’s were recently called out in a Washington Post story for unethical sourcing and child slave labor in the chocolate industry. Be sure you’re not supporting injustices you don’t believe in.

Two students are at a school computer that shows fair trade chocolate on the screen.

Want more?

Explore all of our educational materials>>

Browse educational materials tailored towards youth>>

How to order:

Shop online

Order by phone or call us with your questions at 774-776-7366

Extraordinary Coordinators at Monona UMC

By Susan Sklar: Interfaith Program Manager at Equal Exchange

This past year, during the pandemic, the Monona United Methodist Church in Wisconsin, had its best sales ever. The church sold $9,000 of Equal Exchange products, $2,000 above the previous year. This was in spite of no group gatherings and virtual church services. And it’s not even a large church–there are only about 300 members. Maybe sales were so strong because of the fact that the church has built up momentum over 15 years and were determined to get through the pandemic. And maybe it’s due to Kay Mackie‘s determined leadership and her congregation’s commitment to small farmers and alternative trade. This year Kay will be retiring from her role and passing the program baton to two new coordinators. We wanted to share some of Kay’s story with you.

Monona UMC fair traders (L to R): Sally Buffet, Kay Mackie, Jackie Hull

For a decade and a half, Kay always kept people in the congregation well informed about the mission of Equal Exchange. Each month, she produced an article in the church newsletter called the “Java Jive” that would highlight a new topic about an aspect of EE.  On the day that products were sold once a month, Kay would give a two minute talk at the beginning of services to spotlight new  products. And she put together a great team of 6-8 people who supported the project by helping to set up, sell products, and put things away. People really liked to participate together. Now that she is due to retire, folks from that committee will keep the mission going. 

 

 
The fair trade sale table at Monona United Methodist Church

In past years at Monona UMC there was a small table with Equal Exchange products in fellowship hall. When the pandemic started the team set up a table that was much more visible in the church narthex, or foyer with instructions for use. The church was open every day from 9am to 2pm so people could buy EE products when ever they needed them. Different groups used the building including mail and package delivery people who also bought products. Everyone left checks or cash in the box on the table. Each week the money was collected, there was never a problem with any missing money. 

We honor Kay Mackie, an Equal Exchange Coordinator Extraordinaire. When people ask Kay why she has been so committed to the EE ministry she will say that she is a social justice advocate an environmental advocate and a political advocate. She also describes herself as a person of faith. She saw her role of helping small farmers as a way to serve God and God’s people, and planet.

Coordinator Extraordinaire: Dorothy Killebrew and Grandview UMC

Dorothy Killebrew is a member of  Grandview United Methodist Church in Lancaster, PA, one of Equal Exchange’s top faith-based accounts. Here is Dorothy‘s description of how her congregation connects with fair trade and social justice:

“Ours is a growing church with an average attendance about 250 members, with new members joining all of the time. This is because we’re an open and affirming Reconciling Congregation which makes people feel comfortable and safe. And whenever a new member joins we give them a gift of an Equal Exchange product whether it’s a box of tea, a bag of coffee, or a can of cocoa.  

We make it easy for people to access and purchase the Equal Exchange products throughout the week; they‘re available in a heavily-trafficked room where neighbors come to drop their kids off for Scouts or to participate in exercise classes. We also don’t seek to make a profit; we don’t use the products as a fundraiser. And we occasionally do things like Sunday school lessons and announcements to educate people about fair trade and the people it affects.

We also sell Equal Exchange products through an honor system where people can take the products they need and leave a check. Finally, as a member of a clergy choir in Central PA, I bring products once a month to display at every choir concert. What this means is that by May this year I will have taken a display to 26 different churches. My clergy colleagues always buy; but those attending the concert often purchase as well!”

Keep up the amazing work, Dorothy and friends!

To be featured in the Congregation Spotlight, please send a few paragraphs about how your congregation uses Equal Exchange products to promote justice. Don’t forget to include some photos, the higher the resolution the better!

Learn more about how you can sell Equal Exchange products in your congregation or community here>>

Image shows samples of Equal Exchange coffee, chocolate and tea.