Fairtrade sales up 40% to top £1bn
Sales of Fairtrade products in the UK soared by 40% last year to more than £1 billion despite the tough economic climate.
The Fairtrade Foundation said the huge rise in sales showed that shoppers in this country are continuing to embrace ethical values.
Launching Fairtrade Fortnight, the foundation said that every day in the UK people consume 9.3 million cups of Fairtrade tea, 6.4 million cups of Fairtrade coffee, 2.3 million Fairtrade chocolate bars, 530,000 cups of Fairtrade drinking chocolate and 3.1 million Fairtrade bananas.
New categories are also growing, with more than one million cosmetic products using Fairtrade ingredients being sold in 2010.
Sales of Fairtrade products in the UK were worth £1.1 billion last year, compared with £836 million in 2009, said the foundation.
Chief executive Harriet Lamb said: "It is fantastic to break the first billion. Fairtrade is going from strength to strength because the public want it, it makes business sense and, most importantly, because it's working for the millions of farmers, workers and their families who see Fairtrade as their lifeline in these tough times. They will be cheering to know that UK shoppers and businesses still care."
Major companies have introduced Fairtrade products which helped the increased sales, including Cadbury's Dairy Milk, all Starbucks espresso-based coffee, Nestle's four-finger KitKat, Sainsbury's tea, coffee and sugar, Morrison's roast and ground coffee, Tesco Finest Tea and Tate & Lyle retail sugar.
The growth is set to continue, with the Co-op's announcement of increased Fairtrade goods, Waitrose converting its own label tea and several products in the Duchy Originals range, Topshop launching a new range of Fairtrade cotton denim and Marks & Spencer introducing a new Fairtrade cotton range.
The spice and herb company Schwartz will announce the launch later this year of four new Fairtrade herbs, Aldi launches its first Fairtrade product range, including bananas, coffee, tea and chocolate, and Sainsbury's is launching a new coffee for Comic Relief from the Democratic Republic of Congo, aimed at helping farmers in a conflict-ridden land.
The theme of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight is Show Off Your Label, with around 12,000 events expected to be held over the next few weeks.