alter_ecoI believe in Fair Trade and hope that in my lifetime it becomes the norm instead of the exception. What is Fair Trade?  It’s a social movement aimed at helping small farmers and producers in developing countries earn a fair wage for their efforts.  It’s also a way to work with these producers to to move towards self-sufficiency and economic stability.  In many instances, it also involves teaching sustainable farming and environmentally sound practices.  Helping developing countries work efficiently, but more importantly in a way that does not change the ecological nature of their area, benefits us all as the world requires a delicate balance to work well.

Photo Credit: Alter Eco

Alter Eco is a certified Fair Trade retailer. They received their certification by TransFair USA. The Fair Trade Certified™ label ensures that the company has met strict economic, social and environmental criteria in the production and trade of an agricultural product.  Currently, this Fair Trade Certification is only available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. Only companies that meet strict international Fair Trade standards may display the Fair Trade Certified label on their products and Alter Eco is one of those companies.

In addition to the Fair Trade certification, Alter Eco is also Carbon Zero Certified through a Reforestation project in Amazonia, in Peru as well as reforestation of native trees within cocoa farms. Alter Eco is also reducing carbon emissions through its Green Business Certification, a program of San Francisco Department of Public Health, and San Francisco Department of the Environment.

As if Alter Eco isn’t already doing more than most companies to protect the environment and improve the living conditions of their producers, they also provide certified organic products. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been replaced with organic fertilizers and natural plant extracts to produce premium quality and environmentally friendly products that taste fabulous.

Alter Eco offers a compete rang of products including tea, rice, quinoa, coffee, and sugar – all which are cultivated using farming methods that preserve the environment. Available at Whole Foods, PCC, Cost Plus Markets, other responsible retailers, as well as their online shop at

Chicken Colombo with Alter Eco Purple Jasmine Rice - Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

I received several samples to try. The first was Alter Eco’s Purple Rice (Khao Gram variety). What’s obviously different about it is the color – it truly is purple and naturally so.  It’s a very delicate and sweet sticky rice.  No need for a fancy rice cooker, this Jasmine rice is cooked on the stovetop and ready in about 20 minutes.  Priced at approximately $4.99 for a 1pd box, it’s an economically way to save the planet while feeding your family.  Martha Stewart featured Alter Eco’s Purple Jasmine Rice on her show.  Watch this video to see Martha cook a simple to make organic Purple Jasmine Rice and Chicken Colombo.  Martha starts the video out with a tribute to her dog, Paw Paw; the cooking segment starts at minute 3:23.

I also tried out their Dark Twist Chocolate -an organic bar with crystallized orange peel.  Larger than a single-serving bar, weighing 3.5 oz, it’s priced at approximately $5.99.  It can’t be compared to a Hershey bar or other grocery-store variety bar, but is more on par with a Godiva chocolate.  Deep, rich, and bitter, the sweetness is brought out by the orange peel.  A full bar is 2-1/2 servings and 575 calories. It’s vegan, gluten and soy free and contains no emulsifiers and is GMO free (meaning they’re not Genetically Modified in any way).  The ingredients are simple, just five in all, and all recognizable. Pure, simple and delicious.

The last item I sampled was a Dark Chocolate bar with Crunchy Roasted Nibs of Organic cacao beans with 73% cocoa. The nibs come off as nutty and add a wonderful crunch to the bar.  Dark chocolate has been found to have lots of health benefits – this is the kind of dark chocolate they’re talking about, not Hershey semi-sweet chocolate chips.  This is a rich, bittersweet dark chocolate.

Fair Trade empowers us to make a difference with our choices in the grocery store. Perhaps it’s time for us to stop worrying about having the newest car in the driveway and be happy with knowing that we’re helping families across the globe from us feed and educate their children.


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Special thanks to Alter Eco for allowing me to enjoy their great products, however, this did not affect my review.

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