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Ethical food and drink products surge

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK consumer spending on ethical food and drink products has increased significantly.

The Co-operative Bank Ethical Consumerism Report shows that last year, on average, every household in the UK spent 664 in line with their ethical values compared with just 366 in 2002, an increase of 81%.

But while the overall ethical market in the UK is now worth 32.3bn a year, up 9% from 29.7bn in the previous 12 months, it is still a small proportion of the total annual consumer spend of more than 600bn, the bank says.

The annual household expenditure includes 190 on ethical food and drink, such as fair trade and organic.

Fairtrade sales grew by 46%, driven in part by increased consumer awareness of the Fairtrade Mark, which is now recognised by almost three in five, and greater availability of Fairtrade products.

Overall, ethical food and drink registered the biggest sector increase of 17%, up from 4.1bn to 4.8bn.