Latest News
News Feature image

As reported in Convenience Store magazine, The Co-operative Group has linked with the ethical living app CoGo to feature 286 of its London stores on the platform, to help drive shopper engagement with the Co-op's ethical agenda around key themes such as fairtrade sourcing.

More News

With this year's official Fairtrade Fortnight running from 25th February-10th March, we take a look at how retailers are supporting the event, and driving an ethical agenda in the face of a highly value orientated market.

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on campaigning for a living income to become a reality for cocoa farmers in West Africa, with a particular focus on women. The foundation is running a “She Deserves a Living Income campaign”, to encourage shoppers to buy Fairtrade products.

Co-op: ethical commitment

The Co-op has a strong focus on ethical trading and is the UK’s largest convenience retailer of Fairtrade products, so it is no surprise that it is running a number of initiatives and leading on support for Fairtrade Fortnight this year. The retailer has been committed to supporting Fairtrade since its launch in the UK in 1994 and today, all of its own brand chocolate is sourced from Fairtrade cocoa.

This year, Co-op has launched a Fairtrade Pledge, in which it is encouraging customers to swap one product in their basket for a Fairtrade alternative. Co-op is also urging customers to celebrate the impact Fairtrade has made around the world and has launched a celebration pack. With this, customers can access stories, recipes using Fairtrade products, and hints and tips on how to promote Fairtrade within communities. The retailer has also been promoting the campaign on its social media platforms, particularly using videos to show the impact of buying Fairtrade.

M&S: traceability tool

Following the launch of its traceability map in 2016, M&S has extended the coverage of the map to its tea and coffee supply chains in support of Fairtrade Fortnight this year. Part of M&S’s long-term goal to be a leader for sustainable production, all coffee and tea sold at M&S is Fairtrade. Last year, the retailer contributed over £1.3m in Fairtrade Premiums for the tea and coffee producers to invest in their communities.

The interactive traceability tool shows where the retailer’s tea and coffee producers are located, as well as key details on these producers. The map also shows the number of workers or cooperative members and, where possible, the percentage of females who are cooperative members. This reflects M&S’s plan to champion female workers and growers in its supply chain.

Hidden hot chocolate salon pop-up

To mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation opened a secret hot chocolate salon in London. The innovative pop-up was hidden at the back of a newsagents in Dalston, and customers were transported into a West African themed café at the push of a button. The café, named Rosine’s Hot Chocolate Salon after a cocoa farmer from Co^te d’Ivoire, offered a choice of three hot chocolates. The hot chocolates were priced at £1.86, representing a day’s living income for a cocoa farmer.

Waitrose and Co-op were among the commercial partners that donated products for the hot chocolate salon, along with a number of suppliers including Divine Fairtrade chocolate and Freedom Mallows.

Appeal of Fairtrade products

IGD’s ShopperVista research shows that 15% of shoppers said that whether a product supports workers in developing nations was very important and 42% said this was fairly important. This indicates shoppers are willing to pay to support values such as Fairtrade. Our Shoppers of the Future research also indicates that shoppers will be finding more ways to express their social consciousness through their shopping in the future. With ethical considerations expected to become more relevant to shoppers in the future, retailers’ support of such events and visibility of relevant ranges seems set to be an increasingly important driver of store choice in the future.


IGD Co-op Trade Briefing 2019

19 September, Manchester

Succeeding together. The supplier engagement day will help delegates learn practical ways to action Co-op’s strategy and will also give you the chance to help strengthen relationships and businesses together.

Find out more »

The Co-op has opened its first franchise store on a university campus at Leeds University.

Serving the campus community

The new store opening follows Co-op’s announcement that it plans to develop a network of franchise stores. The franchise store is managed and run by Leeds University Union (LUU) with the aim of better serving the campus community.

Co-op’s full range is available at the new store including fresh, healthy foods and an extended vegan and free-from range. The store also offers Fairtrade products, food-to-go, in-store bakery and essentials.

According to LUU, Co-op’s ethical values helped in their choice of store. Chris Morris, union affairs officer, said: "In Co-op, we believe we’ve found the right people to work with. Not only are they working with us to open the first student-run university campus Co-op in the country, they share our view on “doing the right thing”. LUU and Co-op both share the same membership, democratic principles, making sure members are at the heart of decision making in what they should do. By working together, students will now be able to have a positive impact on Co-op and make a difference across all their stores, as well as working together to make a difference in the community”.

Raising Co-op’s profile with younger shoppers

Engaging with younger age groups is a key focus for Co-op. This university campus store fits well with this focus and is a perfect opportunity to improve engagement with young shoppers. Co-op’s festival stores last summer are another example of how it is putting this strategy into practice. By appearing at major festivals, Co-op was able to build awareness and gain valuable credibility amongst this important shopper segment.

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at Co-op, commented:

“This is an important development for the Co-op, franchises provide an exciting opportunity to grow our brand and generate mutual value with selected partners. At the heart of the Co-op it is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference. We have a long-standing partnership with NUS and so this relationship with LUU is a natural progression.”


See inside Co-op’s Reading Festival store - Retail Analysis subscribers only

The Co-op has announced plans to develop franchise stores, the first time the convenience retailer has licensed its brand to independent retailers.

Franchise model

Following successful trials that started last spring, Co-op is set to develop a network of franchise stores. The independent retailers will have access to Co-op’s own brand range, which is currently available in around 4,000 stores following the acquisition of Nisa.

Co-op will offer full training and a support package to its new franchisees with a full service model. This will include Co-op EPOS and back-office services, automated replenishment, store-specific planograms, deliveries through Co-op’s network, tailored account management, and Co-op membership and community support.

The first Co-op franchise store on a university campus will open on 20 February in Leeds.  

Franchisee requirements

Interested independent retailers can register their interest at a new website. In order to qualify, franchisees must generate weekly sales of £20,000, have a sales area over 2,000 sq ft and a back of house over 800 sq ft. The franchisees will also need to show that they share Co-ops values and principles.

Martin Rogers, Co-op’s head of new channels, commented:

“This is a significant milestone in our franchise ambition and we’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and help widen the reach of Co-op products. We have been trialling our franchise model since last spring, with our fourth store opening this month, and we have seen a minimum 50 per cent uplift on sales in these stores. We now have the capability to deliver franchising at scale, offering our award-winning food, in new places to attract new customers and members. We’ve got a strong track-record in delivering quality products for our customers and we know that when we work together to achieve a common purpose, great things can happen. We’re a business that’s growing and innovating to give our customers more of what they need”.


For more information on Co-op, Retail Analysis subscribers can visit the retailer’s hub page here.


Kantar market shares are generated using Kantar Worldpanel’s till-roll scanning methodology and extrapolated using a sample of 30,000 households. Figures are calculated over a rolling 12 week period and include VAT.
An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Co-op.
In our latest London city guide we share inspirational formats from three of the UK capital's food-to-go hot spots.
View all presentations

Key presentation

This in-depth guide to the United Kingdom explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Co-op.

19 September, Manchester
Succeeding together. The supplier engagement day will help delegates learn practical ways to action Co-op’s strategy and will also give you the chance to help strengthen relationships and businesses together.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

We've grouped all the latest European retail news, store visits, retailer profiles and downloadable presentations together in one place.