Ben & Jerry's has developed what it claims is the first Fairtrade ice cream to hit the UK and has pledged a long-term commitment to introduce more ethically-sourced ingredients across its entire range.

In a move that reinforces the company's long-established eco-friendly and ethical stance, Ben & Jerry's is sourcing Fairtrade vanilla bean from India and sugar cane from Paraguay for its classic vanilla variant.

The ice cream will be available from next month at the same price as regular Ben & Jerry's products (£3.79 for 500ml and £1.49 for 150ml) in Sainsbury's and The Co-operative Group.

Ben & Jerry's has long been associated with sustainable sourcing since it was founded by schoolboy friends Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen in Vermont in 1978. It is also famed for its sponsorship of offbeat competitions such as the World Bog Snorkelling Championship.

Last year the company, which is now a subsidiary of Unilever, launched three ice creams made from fairly traded coffee in the US. However, this is the first time it has worked with the UK's Fairtrade Foundation. Greenfield said: "Fair trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of fair trade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made at the expense of exploiting somebody else."

According to the Fairtrade Foundation, the UK market for Fairtrade products is worth in excess of £200m and includes more than 1,500 retail and catering products. While there are some ice creams on the market that contain certain Fairtrade ingredients, it said that this was the first to use Fairtrade sugar and vanilla.

Fairtrade Foundation director Harriet Lamb said: "We are delighted that shoppers can now get their first taste of an ice cream made with Fairtrade sugar and vanilla.

"While we enjoy the delicious vanilla flavour, the growers can enjoy using the Fairtrade premium to improve their communities. The sugar farmers feel valued and useful again and are able to look after their families and co-operative, as well as develop a better standard of living for their communities."