The Fairtrade market in the UK is set to more than double over the next four years, analysts have predicted.
Britons already spend far more per person on Fairtrade goods than their counterparts in the rest of Europe and the US.
Currently the market in the UK is worth almost £400 million a year, according to market analyst Datamonitor.
The UK has the largest market for Fairtrade products in Europe and is now predicted to exceed £800 million by 2012.
Research from Datamonitor found that UK consumers spent £6.50 per person on Fairtrade goods in 2007. This was way ahead of the French – £2.50 per person – in second place.
Fairtrade farmers are promised a minimum price for their produce, usually above the market price, and they also receive a premium which they can invest in social and economic development.
Recently Which? asked experts to taste some Fairtrade foods alongside their non-Fairtrade rivals, and found that quality can vary.
For example, our coffee taster rated Cafédirect filter coffee ahead of its medium roast equivalent Douwe Egberts.
But Tetley tea bags came out ahead of Clipper Originals as did Cadbury Dairy Milk compared with Divine milk chocolate.
Which? spokesman Bob Tolliday said: ‘’Fairtrade products are competing more and more with the well-known rival brands of goods such as coffee and tea.
‘There’s still a question mark over the quality compared with the price of some products, but the public is clearly keen to support the principles of the Fairtrade movement despite this.’