Liberation, which claims to be the UK's first major Fairtrade snacking brand, is set to hit the shelves in time for Christmas.

The branded nut range is being launched by the Liberation Foods Community Interest Company, which was set up by Twin Trading and Equal Exchange, the Fairtrade distributors of Cafédirect and the Divine chocolate range.

The 150g packs of mixed nuts come in Natural, Salted, Hint of Smoke and Lemon & Chilli flavours, with an rsp of £1.89.

They will initially be available in Oxfam, health food shops and online, but will also go into Sainsbury's and Waitrose in January.

"Some supermarkets do own label Fairtrade snacks and there have been own-label Fairtrade nuts supplied to the wholefood market," said Ceri Willmott, MD of the new supplier. "But establishing a branded bagged snack is a new area for Fairtrade.

"It will join a busy nuts aisle up against big names such as Nobby's Nuts, so Liberation has a huge task ahead of it. But the supermarkets are already buying into the brand."

Liberation Foods CIC was originally launched a year ago as the Ethical Nut Company, but it only supplied own label nuts to the supermarkets.

Its new name reflected the company's shift to branded manufacturing, said Willmott.

If the branded nut launch proved successful it would look at other nut products, he added, but its initial focus would be getting Liberation "on the shelves of every major supermarket".

Twin Trading and Equal Exchange were set up in the 1980s and were behind the launch of Cafédirect in 1991, with sub brands including Teadirect and Cocodirect.

The creation of Liberation has also been backed by Comic Relief and the Hunter Foundation, which supports children in poverty.

Smallholder nut farmers from Africa, Asia and Latin America own 42% of the business.