UK retailer The Co-operative Group has said that its recently acquired Somerfield stores will begin to carry its Fairtrade products.

In an announcement ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK, the Co-operative said that the move could potentially boost Fairtrade sales by GBP40m (US$62.4m) per year.

“This figure is based on the fact that Somerfield really has not had any Fairtrade products. The Co-op has led the way in Fairtrade and now Somerfield customers will benefit,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food today (18 February).

The first Fairtrade products to be launched in Somerfield will be the the Co-operative's own label range of hot beverages, with other Fairtrade products to follow, the spokesperson added.

In 2008, the Co-operative became the first UK retailer to convert its entire own label range of hot beverages to Fairtrade.

While Somerfield stores are in the process of being rebranded as Co-Operative outlets, the spokesperson said that the move to introduce Fairtrade items to Somerfield would move ahead of the store conversion and integration programme.