Sales of Fairtrade goods rose 12% in 2009, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation.

The report estimated that Brits spent around £799m on Fairtrade products last year.

Despite the economic downturn, 71% of people said they are willing to swap one or more products to Fairtrade in the next two weeks of Fairtrade fortnight, according to the poll.

International development secretary Douglas Alexander, who will be on a panel at the launch of Fairtrade fortnight, said: “Fairtrade success on the high street is testament to UK shoppers’ desire to make a difference through their everyday purchases.” He added that the Government’s recent promise of £12m for Fairtrade will help increase the amount of products on our supermarket shelves.

Retailers’ own actions on promoting Fairtrade last year helped fuel sales growth. Morrisons changed all its roast and ground coffee and Tesco converted its Finest Tea. Sainsbury’s remains on track to convert all of its own-brand tea to Fairtrade for Fairtrade Fortnight.

With the new Fairtrade standards for cosmetics, companies like Boots, Lush, Bubble & Balm, and Neal’s Yard all introduced Fairtrade lines.

Fairtrade Foundation chief executive Harriet Lamb said: “These challenging times have been a wake-up call and forward-thinking companies have also been re-evaluating their priorities, seeing sustainability as the way forward for business, building relations with producers and introducing many Fairtrade products in the past year.”

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 has the theme of ‘The Big Swap’ to rally people across the UK and Ireland to swap everyday shopping basket items for Fairtrade ones during the fortnight. This is to show shoppers how easy it can be to break out of old shopping habits and start new ones.