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One group, Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) has been active in monitoring and certifying, auditing and verifying standards for sustainable coffees. Another, named Transfair USA, carries on similar activities in American coffee market. Consumers are justifiably confused when many terms are applied to sustainable coffees and fail to differentiate between organic, eco-friendly, fair trade and sustainable terms.
Premium prices are sometimes supported by certification, labeling and monitoring by third-party organizations and sometimes by local governments such as "Jamaica Coffee Industry Board." But some labeling is simply slick sales and PR by greedy corporations seeking premium prices for average coffee beans, so support for labeling initiatives and independent certification is growing.
Fair Trade and sustainable coffees are seeing increasing production in Central and South American growing regions, most notably in Mexico and Peru. Columbia has seen some pressure and attempts to divert production of cocaine with coffee crops for fair trade market with little major success to report so far. Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia are big participants in sustainable coffees in Africa while East Timor, India and Indonesia are major supporters of sustainable coffee in Asia.
With North American coffee market dominated by multinational giants Sara Lee, Kraft and Procter & Gamble, little interest has been shown in adopting sustainable coffee by major corporate coffee producers. Meanwhile, Brazil and Vietnam, world's No. 1 and No. 2 coffee producers, respectively are flooding market with poor quality beans and driving down coffee prices.
But major grocery chains are seeing demand for sustainable coffee and may adopt fair trade and organic coffees to sell nationwide at Safeway, Kroger and Albertson's stores. Increases in availability, demand and awareness of sustainable coffee are leading to more of same in a spiraling increase for fair trade organic and shade coffees in premium markets. Some sustainable coffees are even finding their way into instant coffees, but vast majority of sustainable market is in premium and specialty markets.
Tastes of The World coffee company http://www.tastesoftheworld.net Rare Gourmet Coffee from Jamaica Blue Mountain to Kopi Luwak exotic and fine Italian Espressos from Illy and Marcafe as well as a selection of premium Puerto Rican coffees including Cafe Tres Picachos. Come discuss your favorites in the coffee talk forums at http://www.tastesoftheworld.net/talk/