Cafédirect, the fair trade hot drinks company, has increased its social return payments to its grower partners to £2.4m this year up from £1.7m last year. It comes as the company announced its highest sales to date at £21.6m for the year ended 30 September 2006.
The 9% increase in sales was driven by a 41% increase in out-of-home sales as more offices, restaurants and cafés use its tea, coffee and cocoa products. It also saw a 2% increase in retail sales.
The company has also announced that it invested £700,000 in its Producer Partnership Programme, which aims to strengthen producer groups, widen their influence and make them more sustainable over the long-term. Cafédirect now works with over 1 million farmers from 37 organisations across 12 countries.
Last year its programme included helping farmers to find new markets, reduce their reliance on a single crops and increasing food safety standards.
The company carried out a revamp of its branding and started an international expansion programme.
Cafédirect chief executive Penny Newman says: “We are dedicated to remaining at the forefront of balancing a social and financial return.”