Waitrose has launched dark, milk and milk with hazelnuts Fairtrade chocolate bars to add to its existing range of Fairtrade products which include coffee, tea and wines.
The dark chocolate version - with a cacao content of 70 per cent - may benefit from recent publicity highlighting the high antioxidant content of dark chocolate but, by combining both Fairtrade and organic certification in one range, Waitrose is placing the emphasis firmly on grabbing a piece of the growing ethical market.
Market analyst Mintel forecasts that UK shoppers spent over £2bn (€2.9bn) on ethical foods this year alone, up by a massive 62 per cent since 2002.
And within the ethical foods market, Fairtrade is set to be worth £230m (€342.7m) by the end of this year, experiencing some 265 per cent growth between 2002 and 2006 alone.
In addition, Mintel predicts that Fairtrade will see a further 138 per cent growth over the next five years, with sales reaching £547m (€815m) by 2011.
Waitrose said: "Made with the highest quality cocoa beans, carefully sourced from South and Central America, our Fairtrade organic chocolate bars are produced in Switzerland with organically grown ingredients."
The company continued: "A higher income through Fairtrade combined with the positive health benefits derived from farming without the use of harmful herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers allows these co-operatives a means of protecting both their future and that of their environment, whilst at the same time producing a world class product."
The 100g bars are due to retail at £1.39 (€2.07) from this month and will feature, along with other promotions of existing ranges, in the retailer's 'Fairtrade fortnight' event scheduled for the end of February 2007.