Recent research commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation suggests that the UK public is increasingly aware of Fairtrade chocolate.
According to the survey, awareness of Fairtrade chocolate rose from 24 per cent of respondents in 2007 to 32 per cent in 2008.
Awareness of Fairtrade sugar doubled from 6 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent in 2008.
More people in the UK now recognise the Fairtrade mark, more understand the Fairtrade concept and more are buying Fairtrade products regularly, according to the survey.
One in four of the UK's shoppers now regularly buy several Fairtrade products: "The trend is for more people to be buying more products more regularly," said the Foundation.
The research mirrors findings published by analysts Datamonitor earlier this year, which suggested that ethical consumerism will become increasingly important as people shop for products they feel akin to politically, ethically and aesthetically.
Fairtrade also puts the increased sales down to greater awareness of Fairtrade delivered through a "grassroots social movement", with communities, religious groups, universities and schools campaigning for Fairtrade in their area.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, called on UK business to make more Fairtrade products available "as producers in the developing world line up to be able to supply the UK Fairtrade market and UK consumers show their willingness to buy Fairtrade goods."
The research suggests that 70 per cent of UK consumers now recognise the Fairtrade mark, compared to 57 per cent last year.
Recognition is higher with women (74 per cent) than men (66 per cent), and highest with 35-44 year olds (76 per cent), although recognition is fastest growing with 25-34 year olds.
Some 64 per cent of UK consumers now link the mark to a better deal for producers in the developing world, said the organisation.
Demand for Fairtrade products has increased, particularly in educational establishments. The research suggests that people are also asking for more Fairtrade products in hotels, the workplace, restaurants, and other locations and sales outlets.
Fairtrade said that the research was undertaken by TNS via their CAPI omnibus. A nationally representative sample of 2085 British adults was interviewed face-to-face in their homes.
A spokesperson at the Fairtrade Foundation confirmed to ConfectioneryNews.com that the Fairtrade take up for candy was slow to start but an increasing number of products are beginning to carry the mark.
For example, Buchanans of Scotland is advertising ten Fairtrade products on its website including toffees, buttermints, butterscotch, fudge and humbugs. According to the company, the sugar used is produced by the Kasinthula Cane Growers Association, Malawi. Buchanans helps promote the products by describing the ethos behind Fairtrade and the company's support of the concept.
In a statement issued last year, Morrisons said it was the first major retailer to launch own-brand sweets made from Fairtrade sugar, which is also sourced at Kasinthula.
Biscuits and Bakery
The spokesperson said that there had been good growth in the number of Fairtrade biscuit and bakery products.
Devine Chocolate is co-owned by Kuapa Kokoo, a Ghanaian cocoa farmers cooperative that supplies all Devine's cocoa. It has an extensive range of chocolate products and are now also producing cookies and baked goods.
In a statement issued yesterday, the company described the launch of mini chocolate chip cookies, brownies and muffins.
The products are made from Divine 70 per cent dark chocolate. The company says that it partnered with bakery firm Innov8ive Foods to create the biscuit and bakery range.