Fairtrade sales soared 19% to £1.57bn last year, according to new data from the Fairtrade Foundation to mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight.

Sales of Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and bananas grew 21%, 35% and 15% respectively last year, while wine, gold and herbs & spices also increased.

“Fairtrade sales continue to confound expectation in the midst of the current tough economic climate,” said Fairtrade Foundation CEO Michael Gidney.

“The UK public have developed a lasting appetite for food and goods traded on fairer terms with producers, and forward thinking businesses are responding energetically to this by providing a wider range of products.”

The Foundation added that people in the UK drank two billion cups of Fairtrade coffee, ate 1.3 billion bananas and drank 3.2 billion cups of tea in 2012.

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 25 February to 10 March with the theme this year being ‘Go Further for Fairtrade’.