Bakery is expected to be at the cutting edge of the Fairtrade movement this year, as products made with multiple Fairtrade ingredients take centre stage.

So-called ’composite’ products, such as baked goods and confectionery, which use more than one Fairtrade ingredient, represent the next stage in the evolution of the brand in the UK. That’s according to Richard Anstead, head of product management (grocery) at the Fairtrade Foundation, speaking ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight from 22 February to 7 March.

"Bakery is a key focus for us going forward. We are reaching a tipping point where Fairtrade bakery products are poised to take off in 2010," he said. "Pioneers such as Kate’s Cakes and The Handmade Bakery Group have led the way, as have KitKat and Dairy Milk in confectionery. They have proved that it is possible to switch to Fairtrade on a large scale. Consumers buying Fairtrade tea and coffee in coffee shops are the same as those who want to buy Fairtrade bakery goods."

Although Fairtrade bakery products have been launched in recent years, they have yet to cross over to the mainstream due to ingredient supply challenges, he said.

"The bakery sector has not grown faster because the supply capacity of Fairtrade ingredients was not adequate, but availability of Fairtrade cocoa and sugar is now at an all-time high at an industrial level, and dried fruit and nuts are developing rapidly," said Anstead. "Development has also been restrained by limits to our resources, but we have recently expanded the team dealing with composite products. There’s a fantastic opportunity there for bakery companies."