Annual sales are expected to jump from £5m to £10m as The Co-operative’s Fairtrade chocolate range is given a major makeover to coincide with the rollout this month to 3,000 stores across the UK, including the introduction of two new premium Truly Irresistible products.
The relaunched range will feature a wider choice of pack sizes, new recipes and new packaging designs.
The Co-operative says its the only retailer to have converted all its own-brand block chocolate to Fairtrade, having become the first retailer to introduce own-brand chocolate with the Fairtrade Mark back in 2000.
In order to meet the enlarged volume of Fairtrade chocolate, the Co-operative will be sourcing cocoa from the Dominican Republic for the first time.
Sean Toal, commercial director at The Co-operative Food says: “We have championed the Fairtrade Mark since its inception, helping the UK become the largest Fairtrade market in the world and, by extending our Fairtrade chocolate range to Somerfield, along with our wide range of other Fairtrade food and drink products, we are introducing Fairtrade to a completely new set of customers.”
The Co-operative was the first retailer to convert its own-label chocolate to 100%. This year has already seen Nestlé adopt the Fairtrade mark for KitKat, which followed Cadbury’s decision a few months earlier to do the same with its Dairy Milk brand.
Starbucks is another big brand to put its ethical stance in the hands of Fairtrade – last autumn it began serving 100% Fairtrade Certified and Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ verified coffee in all of its espresso-based beverages. The move is expected to increase the amount of Fairtrade Certified coffee sold in the UK and Ireland by 18%.
The UK public has remained loyal to Faitrade in spite of the economic conditions. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, sales last year were up on 2008 by 12% to an estimated retail value of over £799m.