On March 19th, Equal Exchange will be changing back to a wholesale only program. Why? We're building a system that's more effective for our mission of strengthening alternative trade for small-scale farmers.
Starting next month, we'll be selling most products by the case only--you'll still be able to purchase individual 5 lb bags of bulk coffee, but you'll no longer be able to buy individual bags of 12 oz packaged coffee, chocolate bars, or other single items. It's much more efficient and ecological to sell farmers' products by the case. Alternative trade is weakened by selling individual items despite of what we're seeing around us in retail. Shipping one product or a small amount of products means:
- Inefficiency for our warehouse team, since they pick products by hand. (We're not big enough to have a complex conveyor belt operation with a dedicated workforce.)
- Increased packing materials; only one or two items in a carton
- More complex combinations of transportation to deliver your single item or small order, involving UPS and FedEx vans and other trucks. This means more pollution.
When you order wholesale by the case, you have the opportunity to share products with family, friends, fellow congregants, and neighbors. By so doing you are:
- Becoming part of the distribution process and increasing the volume of coffee, chocolate, tea, olive oil, etc. that you're purchasing and increasing the demand for these products
- Supporting an independent and direct supply chain from small-scale farmer co-ops to Equal Exchange to you
- Taking part in a movement that is keeping our cooperative and alternative trade mission thriving in an increasingly inhospitable food landscape where power, control, and brands are being consolidated by corporations
- Bringing your community together around food while enjoying a better value per item through ordering by the case
How does this change your ordering process? Most likely it doesn't. You can still order the way you do now, online or over the phone, with the same pricing and same case sizes and shipping minimum you're used to. Our cases are very manageable--five or six bags of packaged coffee (depending on the variety), six boxes of tea, and 12 chocolate bars.
Attention bulk coffee lovers! We'll still be selling 5 lb. bags of bulk coffee beans individually, so you can choose to mix and match or save by buying a case of two of the same variety.
We appreciate your understanding and support as we offer a true alternative to the corporate model. It seems like the food co-ops of the '70s had the right idea after all.
Equal Exchange Community Team
*Please note: Because of this change in operations, the 2020 Equal Exchange Fundraising Catalog Program will be expiring early and we're unable to process any catalog fundraising order submitted after April 30, 2020. Please plan accordingly and recycle any remaining catalogs you may have.