UK estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products reach half a billion pounds

Sales of Fairtrade products in 2007, announced to coincide with the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February – 9 March 2008) set a new pace for international trade.

As events to kickstart the two-week annual campaign entitled Change Today. Choose Fairtrade take place across the UK today, the Fairtrade Foundation reveals an increase of estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products to £493m, a staggering 81% increase on 2006 sales of £273m. Sales have been increasing by over 40 percent year-on-year since 2002.

Fairtrade bananas are the best selling Fairtrade product with sales topping £150m, an increase of 130%. 1 in 4 bananas sold are now Fairtrade and we eat 3m Fairtrade bananas a day.

Fairtrade coffee sales rose 24% to over £117m

Items made with Fairtrade certified cotton increased from over half a million to just under 9.5m whilst Fairtrade tea rose 24% to just over £30m. And recent commercial developments mean Fairtrade tea should account for a tenth of tea sold in the UK by the end of 2008.

The Fairtrade Foundation’s message for Fairtrade Fortnight 2008 is that, whilst sales of Fairtrade products continue to soar, change is still not happening quickly enough for the millions of the world’s poorest farmers who remain trapped in ‘trade poverty’. With 2 billion working people earning less than US$2 a day and many of these producing the products we put in our shopping baskets, the Fairtrade Foundation believes that it is critical to increase the momentum for change through Fairtrade in 2008.

“The fantastic increase in sales of Fairtrade goods in 2007 shows the UK’s public’s huge and growing appetite for Fairtrade,” says Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation. “After years of chipping away, Fairtrade supporters are finally beginning to make some significant impression on the way companies trade. Increasing numbers of people in the UK are buying Fairtrade goods as a practical action everyone can take to help tackle poverty in the developing world. And that’s good news for the seven million people, growers and their families, around the world who benefit from the Fairtrade system, as well as the thousands of people in this country who have been campaigning since the early 1990s to make trade fairer”.

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