Retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2007 were worth £493m, up a staggering 81% on 2006 sales of £273m, according to the Fairtrade Foundation.

Sales have been increasing by over 40% year-on-year since 2002. Tea and coffee sales, in particular, have shown dramatic rises. Fairtrade coffee sales rose 24% to over £117m last year, while Fairtrade tea rose 24% to just over £30m. Fairtrade tea should account for one-tenth of all tea sold in the UK by the end of 2008.

The figures were released by the Fairtrade Foundation, to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight, which lasts until 9 March. Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: "After years of chipping away, Fairtrade supporters are finally beginning to make a significant impression on the way companies trade. Increasing numbers of people in the UK are buying Fairtrade goods as a practical action to tackle poverty in the developing world. But the scale and level of poverty worldwide demands that we all play our part to scale up Fairtrade. That means more companies offering more Fairtrade products and the public putting those Fairtrade goods in their shopping baskets."

Over 10,000 events across the UK have taken place during Fairtrade Fortnight, aimed at building awareness of how small changes in shopping habits can make big differences to producers around the world.