Sales of Fairtrade products in the UK have risen by 14% to £1.78bn.
As Fairtrade Fortnight (24 February – 9 March) launches, the Fairtrade Foundation unveiled the statistics, which show estimated sales in 2013 reached £1.78 billion, a 14% increase on sales of £1.53 billion in 2012.
Fairtrade sugar continued to rise with a 25% growth in volume, led partly by sales of the Tate & Lyle Fairtrade sugar brand and retailers’ own label Fairtrade sugar. But the rise in Fairtrade sugar sales was fuelled further still by the inclusion of Fairtrade sugar in products such as chocolate bars, ice cream and other products.
Other notable growth areas are fresh vegetables at 316% up over 2013. This is due to increased conversions of product ranges such as Kenyan green beans to Fairtrade, providing greater in-store visibility and purchase. Wine has also grown by 15% for the second consecutive year thanks to the introduction of superior quality ranges.
Chocolate, cocoa and bananas grew by 52%, 5% and 4% in sales value respectively whereas coffee and tea sales have continued to hold steady. The purchases are the equivalent of 2.29 billion cups of Fairtrade coffee; 3.27 billion cups of Fairtrade tea and 1.42 billion bananas.
As part of the Fortnight, the Foundation also started its Make Bananas Fair campaign – that shows the price of Fairtrade bananas has not risen with inflation.
Albeiro Alfonso Cantillo Ruiz, known as Foncho, is a 44 year old Colombian banana grower from the Coobafrío cooperative in Colombia, who is touring the UK during the Fortnight and leading the banana campaign.
He said: “We experienced very difficult times when we weren’t in Fairtrade. We didn’t have the resources to provide an education for children and the banana business barely provided enough for basic meals. It was very worrying to have children and know you couldn’t provide the opportunity for the life they deserve.
“We almost thought of leaving the business, but thank God, there came a big help. Being in Fairtrade makes me very happy, knowing that there are opportunities to achieve some of the goals I had planned.”
Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Foundation added: “It’s 20 years since the very first Fairtrade products Green & Black’s Maya Gold, Cafedirect Coffee and Clipper Tea, appeared in the UK, and the appetite for Fairtrade is still growing, despite challenging economic conditions. The UK is truly a world leader for Fairtrade and we’re proud of that.
“But there is still a very long way to go in securing the levels of market access that would drive the breadth and depth of impact for farmers and workers we all want to see, so work in 2014 will continue to focus on innovating the way we work and campaigning to make even more trade fair.”