4 ways to take your holiday sale to the next level

Want to continue to make your holiday sale unforgettable by offering fair trade gifts that make a real difference in farming communities around the world? Here are some bonus ideas that will take your sale up a notch and keep people engaged year after year.

gift bags of dark chocolate minis1. Get creative. Decorations and personal touches like ribbon, stickers and fun gift tags make any gift so much more fun. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others – this is a great way to get more folks involved and let their creativity shine.  For your sale table, use a colorful tablecloth and a string of lights to make it festive and eye-catching. Use display racks to help create space and make it easier for customers to browse.

  • Display table signs and educational materials to draw people in and generate interest in what you’re offering.
  • Assemble bite-sized chocolate minis in gift bags using your favorite stickers, ribbons and bags or start with our Minis Packaging Kits.
  • Pre-assemble your own gift baskets with Equal Exchange goodies, topped with a bow with a set price. Perfect for a gift that’s good to go.

holiday scene of ribbon, coffee mug and marshmallows2. It’s all about the samples. Everybody loves the chance to try something delicious, and they’ll want to buy once they have a taste! Some of our favorite tried-and-true treats:

  • Break chocolate bars into bite-sized sample squares. (Don’t forget tongs!)
  • Brew batches of coffee and sample it out in small cups. The aroma alone will draw people to your table and they can “try before they buy”.
  • Offer olive oil in a dish with pieces of fresh bread for dipping.
  • Bake and serve cookies or brownies using Equal Exchange cocoa or chocolate chips as a “gift with purchase” .

3. Make the distinction. You know that fair trade is important for our global community, and now is a great time to tell your own community why it matters. The mission behind Equal Exchange’s ethically-sourced products will really set your holiday sale apart from gift options at corporate chain stores!

  • Check out our variety of educational resources and talking points to help you have inspiring conversations about fair trade.
  • Give out an Equal Exchange pamphlet with each item sold so the person can give the gift with info that explains why it’s special.

Person selecting products for a catalog fundraiser

4. Not sure what products people want to buy? Take orders from our Fundraising Catalog and order exactly what they want while helping your group raise funds for your own causes. Your group gets a 40% profit margin!

Enjoy the spirit of the season, and thank you for bringing the best of small farmers to your community.

Let’s Celebrate A Fair Trade Thanksgiving

At Equal Exchange, we’re celebrating a Fair Trade Thanksgiving by sharing the many things that make us feel grateful. From family and friends to the food on our tables and the farmers who grow it, there’s a lot to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate our passion for fairly traded food and the relationships that make our products possible. We couldn’t do it without our longstanding partnerships with farmer co-ops or the incredible support of people like you.

While sharing tables full of delicious things from near and far, we’re celebrating cooperation, collaboration and the hard work behind it all. We’re thankful for the company of friends and family, for our co-op, for our customers and for the farmers we work with year after year. Whether you’ve done the planting, the harvesting, the cooking or just the eating, you are a valuable part of our authentic Fair Trade community. You’ll always have a seat at our table!

Happy Fair Trade Thanksgiving from everyone at Equal Exchange. Watch our video to hear some of the things we’re thankful for.

What are you thankful for? Tell us in the comments!

Need some recipe ideas for your Fair Trade Thanksgiving? Try these seasonal classics with our fairly traded ingredients. Better yet, select ingredients are on sale for a limited time!

Celebrate Fair Trade Month With Equal Exchange

October is Fair Trade Month, and there’s a lot to celebrate!

You already know that Fair Trade is important to farmers, communities and the planet, and that Equal Exchange’s partnerships help improve lives and land around the world. How will you showcase your support of better trade this month?

We have a few ideas to get you inspired and spreading the word about why Fair Trade matters.

  1. Kick off your celebration with fun recipes featuring fairly traded ingredients! Transform fall classics like brownies and muffins into creative Fair Trade treats for your friends, coworkers or classmates. Try using our baking cocoa, chocolate chips and dried fruits for a unique, delicious twist. Take a look at some of our favorite recipes, including Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins, Spiced Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and Chocolate Covered Apples on a Stick!
  2. Brew an extra cup and share the Fair Trade experience. Try hosting a coffee hour or tea time featuring Equal Exchange. Brew up your favorite drink, whether it’s coffee from Ethiopia or tea from India, and share with friends at your home. You can talk about where it comes from, the importance of a healthy global community and how individuals can make it stronger. Bring your favorite blend of coffee to your office to share with coworkers, and let them know that supporting small farmers makes the world a better place.
  3. Hold a table sale for your congregation or community group, featuring all fairly traded foods and gifts. Fair Trade Month is a great opportunity to try a table sale for the first time, and even start generating interest for a Fair Trade holiday bazaar. Talk to your group about the positive impact their purchases make and start a conversation about living your values through everyday purchases. We can help you get started.
  4. Celebrate our producer partners by reading some of their inspirational stories. Many farmer co-ops have overcome serious obstacles, challenges and disadvantages. Every worker has strived to build successful businesses, stronger communities and better futures. Get to know their histories and day-to-day stories by checking out our blog.
    • Explore biodynamic and organic coffee farming innovations with Las Colinas and COMSA.
    • Meet two co-op managers from Peru.
    • Learn about the inspiring co-ops that grow our tea.
  5. Fair Trade Your Halloween! October also brings us this fun and spooky holiday, and with it comes lots and lots of chocolate. This year, make sure your treats are Fair Trade. Hand out fairly traded Chocolate Minis to your neighborhood ghosts and goblins, and talk about why supporting an ethical chocolate industry is important for kids around the world. Our Halloween Kits will help you get started with fun info cards and delicious bite-sized Minis. You can also spread the word with a digital Trick-or-Treat for a chance to win weekly prizes!

How will you celebrate Fair Trade month? Share your ideas in the comments!

Want more ideas and creative ways to bring Fair Trade to your community? Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear about new products, recipes, farmer stories and sales.

Trick or Treat? Why Fair Trade Halloween chocolate matters

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for candy, trick-or-treating, costumes and more candy. Every year, Americans spend over a billion dollars on millions of pounds of Halloween chocolate — enough for every sweet tooth in the country and then some!

Where does all that chocolate come from? West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cacao (the main ingredient in chocolate,) and 40% of that comes from the Ivory Coast. Big corporations purchase most of this cacao from intermediaries to make the chocolate bars and candy that you see in stores worldwide.

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The story behind that supply chain is a grim one: illegal child labor in West Africa is a problem that has plagued the chocolate industry for decades, with little improvement despite international pressure.

Without access to the market, many family-owned cacao farms rely on intermediaries to buy their crop, but these middlemen pay so little that many farmers struggle to get by. Out of desperation, some turn to illegal child labor and enlist kids from their extended families or communities to work excessively long, hazardous days in the field – to an abusive extreme far beyond normal chores or help.

Thousands of other children are trafficked from Mali and Burkina Faso and sold to cacao farmers in the Ivory Coast. These adolescents, desperate for work to help support their families, are deceived by traffickers who promise them good jobs. Once over the border, far from home and their own languages, these children are also forced to work long days of dangerous labor with no access to education, proper nutrition or health care. Most are unable to escape or seek help.

Despite this being a well-documented, ongoing crisis, we have seen little actual progress where it is needed most. And it is this cacao, harvested by exploited children, that often ends up in mainstream chocolate.

The Equal Exchange supply chain is different: we work with small farmer co-operatives in Peru, Panama, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. We have a close working relationship with our farmer partners and visit their co-ops often – we know them, and they know us. We’re invested in the well-being and success of the individuals, communities and small businesses behind our chocolate.

We’re working to promote a system that eliminates the desperation that causes some farmers to use unpaid laborers. In our system, there are no middlemen or brokers, and our producer partners receive above-market prices for their crops and other Fair Trade benefits. Additionally, nonprofit, independent certifying organizations monitor these cacao farms to verify that they follow fair labor standards. In every sweet square of our chocolate, there is integrity, honesty and pride.

You can help change the face of the chocolate industry and promote a system where all workers are paid a fair price. This year, give your neighbors a fairly traded treat: Halloween chocolate that supports fair wages, farmer-run businesses and sustainable agriculture. Celebrate the holiday by handing out chocolate that makes a statement in support of a healthy supply chain, and tell your neighbors why it matters to you.

It’s easy to add Fair Trade to any of your Halloween traditions. Our dark and milk Chocolate Minis are perfect for trick-or-treaters, and Halloween-themed baked goods taste even sweeter with fairly traded chocolate chips or baking cocoa. We’ve even collected some of our favorite recipes for you to try.

Take a break from scary stories and spread the word about fairly traded Halloween chocolate — better for farmers, communities and kids all over the world. This year, celebrate with us and Fair Trade your Halloween.

Drink A Better K-Cup With Equal Exchange Single Serve Coffee

The coffee world is always changing and evolving – that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about Keurig* coffee makers and K-cup* single serve coffee, and everyone at Equal Exchange has been in on the conversation. We’ve been listening, too, to the concerns and preferences of our customers and doing everything we can to learn about this new corner of the coffee market. After many months of discussion and development, we have an exciting announcement: Equal Exchange is now offering three of our most popular blends in single serve cups for your Keurig. We’re proud to be able to offer you a single serve cup that’s truly different: environmentally friendly, good for farmers and absolutely delicious.

We’re no stranger to environmental issues, and we’ve been paying attention to the conversation about waste that surrounds typical, disposable K-cups. Because sustainability is important to us, and we know it’s important to you, we researched many manufacturing options to find the best, most environmentally friendly cup and packaging available. What we found is really exciting: a cup that is #5 recyclable plastic with a recyclable aluminum lid and an 88% compostable filter. This is a big step forward from most cups on the market, and we intend to follow the latest developments in single serve packaging in order to bring you the best.

Better still, this new product line is exciting for our farmer partners, who will directly benefit from more of their organic, Fair Trade coffee reaching the market. We’re excited to bring 100% organic, small farmer coffee to the millions of people who already choose single serve coffee every day. Small-scale farmers need your support and the support of the marketplace, and it’s beneficial for our partners to be included in this new coffee territory. The more certified organic, Fair Trade coffee that we can buy from our partners, the more they can grow their communities, strengthen their farms and support their families – it’s a real difference!

And of course, our quality control team (and our body of coffee-loving worker-owners) is devoted to great-tasting, superior quality coffee. We all have our favorite brew method, and know that the excellence of a good pour-over or French press is, of course, incomparable! But for convenience and versatility cup-by-cup (which we know many of you want) the single serve cup is the frontrunner. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste for convenience; that’s why we’ve worked hard to merge these two worlds, using a proprietary grind ratio and selecting the most popular blends to give you the best tasting K-cup. The end result? A single serve cup that we have tested, tasted and loved. Finally, you can have the exceptional taste and quality you expect from Equal Exchange, in a way that works for you and your Keurig.

We know that many of you already brew K-cups or know someone who does, so why not enjoy a better cup? Bring Equal Exchange coffee to your office, congregation, school, home or anywhere Keurig-style machines are found. Drink up some organic, small farmer-grown coffee and savor the taste of your favorite blend. Toss the cup and lid in your recycling bin, add the grounds and filter to the compost for your garden, and then let us know what you think!

To learn more about this exciting new addition to our line of coffees, check out our single serve coffee main page.

If you have a Keurig-style brewer and would prefer a reusable brew cup, buy our favorite one here!

*Equal Exchange is not affiliated with KEURIG, Inc. “KEURIG®” and “K-CUP®” are registered trademarks of KEURIG, Inc. Not compatible with KEURIG® VUE® or 2.0 Brewing systems

Will’s Swirly Bars

Swirly Bars Close-up
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Will's Swirly Bars

Course Dessert
Keyword Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Chips Semisweet, Bittersweet or a mixture of both
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda dissolve with 1 tsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour 8×8 in pan.
  2. Cream the butter, white sugar, and dark brown sugar. Add the egg and mix again. Add baking soda (dissolve with 1 tsp hot water), pure vanilla extract, and kosher salt. Beat 1-2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until incorporated.
  3. Spread mixture in prepared 8×8 pan until even. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the spread mixture.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes to melt the chips. Remove from oven and using a butter knife "swirl" the chocolate throughout the batter (go up, down and then across). Return to oven and bake for an additional 16-17 minutes. Bars will still look a little soft when you remove them, don't overbake!
  5. This recipe may be easily doubled and put in a 9×13 pan, as well. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe submitted by Debra and Will Schreiber, Mill Valley, California

Chocolate Smoothie

Smoothie with chocolate chips and cashews
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Chocolate Smoothie

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Drinks
Keyword Cocoa, Nuts
Servings 4 1-cup servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the cashews and water in a blender and puree until the cashews dissolve and you have cashew milk. Add the yogurt, cocoa, honey, chia seeds and vanilla extract to the blender. Blend all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the sweetness, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Recipe developed for Equal Exchange by Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet

Cashew Coconut Fudgesicles

Plate of fudgesicles, with strawberries
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Cashew Coconut Fudgesicles

Course Dessert
Keyword Cocoa, Nuts
Servings 8 fudgesicles

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the cashews and water in a blender and blend until creamy and the cashews dissolve. Add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract. Blend all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the sweetness, if desired. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Recipe Notes

Recipe developed for Equal Exchange by Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet

Chocolate Almond Nutty Bars

 

Chocolate almond bars
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Chocolate Almond Nutty Bars

Course Snack
Keyword Almonds, Chocolate
Servings 4 bars

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Coarsely chop almonds in a food processor. Add and blend in raisins, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt. Shape the almond raisin mixture into bars (about five inches long, ½ inch high and two inches wide). Melt the chocolate and pour over the tops of the whole bars. Refrigerate to harden the chocolate. Serve or store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Makes four large bars

Recipe developed for Equal Exchange by Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet

Chocolate-Covered Apples On A Stick

Ingredients

Directions

Wash and dry apple. Stick a candy-apple type stick (or something similar) into the stem. Make sure it is stable.

Melt chocolate and oil in a bowl for 60 seconds, stirring every twenty seconds, until fully melted. The chocolate and oil should be evenly combined and the texture should be smooth. If the chocolate seems dry or clumpy, add a bit more oil- though there will be tiny caramel and sea salt crystals in the chocolate.

Place the apple in the bowl with melted chocolate. Using a spoon, cover the apple in chocolate and smooth out as best you can. Take apple out of bowl and make sure it is evenly coated.

Set apple down on wax paper or a plate, with the stick pointing up. Refrigerate for at least half of an hour.

Eat soon after refrigeration.

Multiply the ingredients for desired quantity.