The Co-op, one of the strongest supporters of Fairtrade in the UK, has announced that it will only use Fairtrade cocoa in private label products. The UK based supermarket sources its products from over 20 countries worldwide and supports around 250,000 farmers. The new decision will affect more than 200 products ranging from doughnuts to chocolate tortes. Co-op said that the Fairtrade switch will be completed by the end of May 2017.

Co-op believes that this Fairtrade move has a value over £7 million to the total industry and urged other supermarkets to follow the pattern. Brad Hill, Co-op’s Fairtrade strategy manager, said: “The UK is the world’s biggest Fairtrade market and the world’s fourth biggest consumer of chocolate, but our manufacturers and retailers still only source a tiny amount on Fairtrade terms.

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Chocolate is often seen as an indulgence in the West, but for the millions of small-scale farmers who grow cocoa it can mean the difference between poverty and prosperity.”

According to industry figures, the demand for cocoa is expected to increase by around thirty percent in the next three years. The food retailer said that it wanted to move forward with sustainability initiatives in order to shape this industry.  The announcement was made ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight, which starts on Monday 27 February.

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