Green Mountain brews Fair Trade promotion

WATERBURY, VT: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is re-introducing, via PR, its signature blend and Vermont Country Blend with new Fair Trade beans and certification.

WATERBURY, VT: In an effort to increase its Fair Trade Certified offerings, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is re-introducing, via PR, its signature blend and Vermont Country Blend with new Fair Trade beans and certification.

Fair Trade indicates a price premium over “conventional” coffee, so with the “trade-out” of these additional blends, the team must first create consumer demand by communicating its benefits, explained Sandy Yusen, director of PR for Green Mountain's Specialty Coffee Business Unit.

“We'd like to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of Fair Trade, and in turn we hope that people increasingly choose Fair Trade coffee,” she said. “We obviously need to be competitive as a company, but we're hoping that with more consumer demand we can make that shift.”

Currently, about 30% of the company's blends bear the certificate which ensures that the coffee farmers keep fair prices and wages and conduct business with the skills to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. 

Working with Cercone Brown & Company, the team is offering 2,500 free samples per week via its Facebook page and is releasing street teams with samples in four key markets: Boston (Oct 13-15), Philadelphia (Oct 19-20), Baltimore (Oct 22), and Washington DC (Oct 25-26). The team will encourage consumers to invoke street teams in those regions by tweeting with the hashtag #TradeMeOut.

On October 26 at 4pm, the team will host an e-tasting of the blends on Ustream, featuring Fair Trade US president and CEO Paul Rice; Lindsey Bolger, director of coffee sourcing and relationships at Green Mountain; and Costa Rican coffee farmers from Coopelibertad, a Fair Trade cooperative. 

Though the company will typically promote the benefits in October, which is also Fair Trade Month, she explained that it's never highlighted a “trade-out” as part of the campaign. She added that this year's effort also represents an increase in spending over last year's effort.

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