So rapidly has Fairtrade moved into the mainstream that an ethical certification is practically a must-have.

"Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certifications are becoming the norm," says David Brooks, director of sales at Food Brands Group, owner of Fairtrade coffee brand Percol. PG Tips has set the standard for tea, having achieved full Rainforest Alliance certification, according to Adrian Adams, senior category manager for tea at Unilever.

"Since we launched PG Rainforest Alliance-certified tea, we've seen Tetley, Yorkshire and Twinings all go down that route," he says.

Kenco has blazed a trail in instant coffee, using Rainforest Alliance-certified beans for all of its freeze-dried range.

Conscious, perhaps, of being left behind, last month Nestlé launched a plan to double the amount of coffee bought directly from farmers and their associations over the next five years, so that it is eventually purchasing 180,000 tonnes of coffee from 170,000 farmers every year. In addition, 90,000 tonnes of coffee will be sourced according to Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) principles by 2020.

The development of the Rainforest Alliance certification is good for the environment, says Paul Rodin, head of supply chain and procurement at Cafédirect, although he points out Fairtrade has the added benefit of paying a minimum price to producers. Rodin is confident that supply will keep pace with demand as the economics of sustainable production stack up for growers.

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