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Co-op claims 66% market share of Fairtrade wine sales

Published:  08 December, 2015

The Co-op dominates Fairtrade wine sales in the UK, with a 66% market share, a new report on the mark reveals.

The UK multiple sold over 8 million bottles of Fairtrade wines in the year to end October - or some 16,500 a day, according to the Fairtrade Wine Report 2015: The Story Behind The Label.

The Co-op listed the very first Fairtrade wine, a Chilean Carménère, in 2004, the year the mark was launched in the wine trade.

Prior to that, the retailer had partnered with Traidcraft, another fair trade-focused organization, on its wine list.

It has a 32% share of the FairTrade wine market globally, reflecting the importance of UK sales to the charity.

The Co-op currently lists 25 products from all three Fairtrade wine-producing countries.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-operative Food, said: "Our Fairtrade journey has seen a return to producers of more than £30 million in the last 20 years in Fairtrade premiums and a comprehensive support programme to help develop communities more than Fairtrade can do alone.

No other product category demonstrates our Fairtrade credentials quite like wine - and this is our story. From the launch of the UK's first fairly traded wine - even before Fairtrade certification - through to our more recent collaboration with major brands, it's the story of the hard-working people who produce the wines and how Fairtrade continues to change lives."

Edward Robinson, Fairtrade wine buyer for Co-operative Food, said: "To date we have been heavily involved in building a secondary school, a water treatment facility for a village and social projects such as crèches, pre-schools and a community centre, all of which benefit thousands of people across the three countries from where we source our Fairtrade wine.

"A huge amount of work goes into ensuring that the wines are the best possible quality. We are hugely proud of the fact that they win so many awards, which is reflective of the skills of our producers on the ground.

"The future of Fairtrade wine looks bright; the overall market is in growth and we are working with suppliers of branded wines to convert their products to Fairtrade standards."

South Africa's Fish Hoek winery won Fairtrade certification for its range earlier in 2015.

Wine writer and broadcaster, Oz Clarke, said: "I've visited the Fairtrade projects in South Africa and South America. I've talked to the farmers and their families.

"I've seen the vast improvements in their living conditions, heard heart-warming stories of better health, better education, better chances to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

"Every bottle of Fairtrade wine you buy improves the lot of some of the poorest people on the planet."