Somerfield stores will carry Fairtrade products for the first time for the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight, following the chain’s takeover by The Co-operative Group.

The Co-op is introducing its range of Fairtrade hot drinks to all Somerfield stores not yet converted to its own fascia, as well as a number of other Fairtrade products.

The two-week period to raise awareness for the Fairtrade cause begins on 22 February.

“The Co-operative has led the way on Fairtrade and our pioneering development work has helped the UK become one of the largest Fairtrade markets in the world,” said chief executive Peter Marks.

“We are continuing this commitment by extending our extensive Fairtrade range to the Somerfield estate and we will continue to add more Fairtrade lines to our entire 3,000-store network, as well as helping to develop more Fairtrade products and market opportunities for growers in developing countries.”

The foundation’s Harriet Lamb called the move “great news for growers, workers and their communities around the world”.

Earlier this week Sainsbury’s claimed it had raised more cash for the foundation that any other retailer in the past year. The supermarket contributed more than £10m to the cause, as sales of Fairtrade products reached £218m in 2009.

Meanwhile, Unilever-owned ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has committed to making all its European products Fairtrade-compliant by the end of next year – and to make its global range compliant by 2013.

“The whole concept goes to the heart of our values and sense of right and wrong,” said co-founder Jerry Greenfield.

Read more
Sainsbury’s stakes claim as top Fairtrade retailer (15 February 2010)
Green & Black’s goes totally Fairtrade (28 January 2010)
All’s Fair for top tea and coffee brands (16 January 2010)