The Co-operative Food

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The Co-operative Food
Business of a consumer co-operative
Industry Retail
Founded 23 July, 1850
Headquarters One Angel Square,
Manchester, United Kingdom
Products Grocer
Parent The Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Food, commonly referred to as the Co-op, is a brand devised for the grocery business of the consumer co-operative movement in the United Kingdom. Successor to Co-op Welcome and a range of regional formats, it is the largest division of The Co-operative Group and is also used by a number of regional societies. Customers can earn a share of the profits in proportion to purchases through The Co-operative Membership scheme.


A Co-operative Food store in Lawnswood, Leeds.
A co-branded Esso/Co-operative Food petrol station and convenience store in Northallerton.

Whilst the UK co-operative sector's market share of food retail has diminished from a peak of 30% in the 1950s to just 6.4% today, The Co-operative Group remains the fifth largest food retailer in the United Kingdom. It operates over 2,800 stores of various sizes with the biggest geographical spread of any retailer, with a store in every postal region of the UK. The Group took the decision not to compete head-on with the Big Four supermarket multiples on range and price in a market that was becoming ever more competitive. It decided to concentrate instead on smaller stores which were in local communities. It also began to market the "co-operative difference" and the ethical stance it took on sourcing, having long been a supporter of Fairtrade.

An example is the iconic Co-op 99 brand tea that has now joined all other own-brand beverages in becoming Fairtrade. In addition all Co-operative own-brand health, beauty and household products are marked with an "approved by BUAV" rabbit symbol to show that neither the product nor its ingredients have been tested on animals.

The Co-operative Food brand appears on own label goods stocked by all of the UK's retail co-operative societies, while many of the regional societies also use the brand on their stores.

According to Catherine Charnock of Co-operative Brands Ltd., The Co-operative Food was given a green identifying colour distinguishing it from other co-operative business sectors (such as pharmacy, banking, travel and funerals) and from the previous blue livery.[1]

Retailer Somerfield Stores Ltd. was acquired by The Co-operative Group on 2 March 2009 in a £1.57 billion deal; the brand was replaced by The Co-operative Food fascia within two years of this acquisition.[2]

The company's in-store "Co-operative Radio" is produced and broadcast by Mood Media[3]


Co-operative Food Supply Chain Logistics is the distribution business of the Co-operative Group. There are 8 regional distribution centres and 3 smaller satellite depots supporting the larger RDC's . Coventry NDC supplys all depots direct with slow moving lines.

Depot Name Location Products
Birtley (Head Office) Birtley, County Durham Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Andover Andover, Hampshire Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Avonmouth Bristol Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Castlewood Mansfield Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Lea Green St Helens, Merseyside Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Newhouse near Glasgow, Scotland Ambient, Frozen, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Thurrock West Turrock, Essex Ambient, Chilled, Meat and Produce
Cardinal Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire Chilled, Meat and Produce
Coventry (NDC) Coventry West Midlands Slow Moving Lines
Inverness Satellite Depot for Northern Scotland
Carrickfergus Satellite Depot for Northern Ireland
Plymouth Satellite Depot for Andover


Members of The Co-operative Group and participating regional societies earn one membership point for every £1.00 spent at The Co-operative Food. Points are converted into dividend at a rate agreed annually by the Board.[4]

Product ranges[edit]

Ranges include:

  • Truly Irresistible - premium food and drink, analogous to Tesco Finest
  • Loved By Us - core own-brand range, analogous to Asda Chosen By You
  • Free From - suitable for customers with food allergies
  • Simply Value - budget food and household products, analogous to Tesco Value. This brand was used by Somerfield and continues to be used by the Co-operative following the takeover. Most products now have been converted to Loved by us.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charnock, Catherine, Marketing The Co-operative Advantage (PDF), retrieved 14 June 2010 
  2. ^ Co-op completes Somerfield move BBC News, 2 March 2009 13:59 GMT
  3. ^ Co-operative Radio shows sales increase up to 40% at
  4. ^ The Co-operative Membership The Co-operative Group (retrieved 20 August 2009)

External links[edit]