September 27, 2018

Our Future of Food 2030 ambition

500 words approx. 3 minutes to read

Last week we announced that we’re removing single-use plastic carrier bags from 1,000 Co-ops and replacing them with the UK’s first compostable carrier bag with a defined second use; for use in kitchen food caddies.

Today, we publish our Future of Food ambition.


How we’ll source and create food with care

We will source and create Co-op branded food with quality, sustainability and health front of mind. Some of the ways we’re doing this now, and plan to do this in the near future are by:

How we’ll treat people fairly

In the developing world, farmers, growers and producers face an uncertain future. By doing business fairly and treating these people fairly, we hope to make a difference.

As a co-operative, people are naturally at the heart of everything we do. Our leadership in Fairtrade, robust Ethical Trade programme, campaign against modern slavery and fight for clean water are just a few proof points of how committed we are.

Co-op water is still the only grocery brand charity water in the UK.

For every litre of Co-op branded water* we sell, we donate 3p to The One Foundation to tackle water poverty in sub-saharan Africa. So far, together we’ve raised £9.5 million, changing nearly 2 million lives.

What’s more, if you choose another brand of water from a Co-op store, we’ll still help tackle water poverty around the world. For every litre of branded water we well, we donate 1p to Water Unite, a global fund aiming to eradicate water poverty by 2030.

As well as tackling water poverty around the world and continuing to champion Fairtrade we will continue to treat people fairly in our supply chain by:

  • continuing and strengthening our commitments on Fairtrade
  • working closely with our suppliers to protect the people that make Co-op food
  • publishing independent human rights impact assessments on some of the high risk areas of our supply chain

How we’ll learn and celebrate together

Co-op is co-owned by millions of members. Everyone with a blue Co-op Membership card makes our Co-op. It’s what makes us different. So, providing opportunities for our members to join in and shape the business we co-own together can be powerful as we can’t drive sustainable change on our own. What our members and customers do at home and on the go has just as much impact on the future of food as our supply chain. That’s why we’re prioritising learning about and celebrating the true value of food.

We will work with our members and customers to do this by:

  • prioritising learning about and celebrating the true value of food and the stories of the people that make it
  • inspiring the next generation through our Co-op Academies and beyond
  • inspiring communities to live sustainably through our Member Pioneers network

If you’re a Co-op Member, head over to your online Membership account to see how you can Join In today. If you’re not yet a Co-op Member, become a member today.

Cathryn Higgs
Head of Food Policy

*Applies to still and sparkling water. Co-op branded flavoured water and small bottles of Co-op branded soda water. Varieties as ​stocked, subject to availability.

Read more on sustainability at our Co-op;

Join the conversation! 25 Comments

  1. Please inform us why the amount of Plastic that can be recycled has been reduced considerably but replace by Plastic Packaging that cannot be Recycled?

  2. This page was posted in 2018, can you share statistics of the improvements that have been made to reassure your customers? I am still so disappointed to see that fruit plastic bags have not been swiftly swapped out for paper bags. What is the hold up to these simple improvements please?

  3. I’d like to see soft fruit packaged in cardboard punnets like it used to be, instead of the clear plastic boxes which my local authority will not recycle. Thanks

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  5. I am trying hard to reduce plastics, but I am so frustrated about my shopping choices in my local co-op. Obviously I want to buy lots of fruit and veg and I have my own reusable bags to put loose items in, but there are not many choices of fruit and veg which are sold without a plastic wrapper in the co-op. Do aubergines, cucumbers, potatoes, mushrooms etc need plastic packaging? The co-op sells lots of really nice british apples, different varieties, but they are usually in plastic. Also the loose fruit tends to be more expensive than the packaged fruit and veg. I have always shopped in the co-op, but I will move elsewhere because I am fed up with filling my bin with (often un recyclable) plastic.

    • Little point in keeping this Q&A-going unless the Q are answered and in a professional fashion. More customers would use it!

    • This is almost identical to the letter I wrote to the coop earlier this week. I did get a reply, but not altogether satisfactory. They are making an effort but I don’t think they appreciate the complexities the plastics issues nor the urgency.

  6. Fantastic article and great commitments! It’s just a shame about the typo errors in this article! Who does the proof reading before publishing?

  7. Hello

    How about offering more vegan food options? This would help animals, and our planet (as less CO2 emissions would be produced). There is a growing number of people switching to eating less meat or adopting a wholly vegan diet. This has health benefits to people as well.

  8. I know that the co-op is an ethical organisation and so wondered what your policies on palm oil were …?

  9. Please inform me if The COOP will remove Palm Oil and associate products from it’s Own Brand Products ?

  10. Hi Will the profits from the sale of these new carrier bags still go to the local causes

  11. No reply to my question on Organic foodstuffs. Is this site still functioning?

    • Michael, thanks for you feedback regarding organic food products, I’ve recorded it for our product developers and buyers. We’re happy to hear that the demand is there for more of this and we’ll invesgitate further opportunities. ^Ian

  12. Question raised on the 7/10 on Organic Foodstuffs. No reply!

  13. I use Organic Foodstuffs where possible to offset the contamination of Pesticides, Weedkiller. Could you please tell me how the CooP is preparing for a larger Product range than you currently have?

  14. I would like to buy the water – but it’s in a plastic bottle. I usually buy bananas because they are fair trade but our three co-op’s in Brixham sell bananas in plastic bags too. When I asked why, the answer was “We sell what we get delivered”. Can’t blame them. Why do you deliver? Sometimes there are only the ones in plastic left – good sign – but I have to go to another shop. Why are cucumbers in plastic?
    You banned plastic bags from over 1000 shops, why not from all?

    • Hi Evelyn, We will roll the new compostable bags out to 1,400 Co-ops, which are in communities where the local council collects food scraps from kitchen food waste caddies. ^Siobhan

    • Cucumbers wrapped in plastic have a much longer shelf life so in this instance it serves a greater purpose. I don’t believe the same can be said for bananas in plastic.

  15. I would like to buy the water – but it’s in a plastic bottle.

  16. Hi Philomena, all Co-op branded fresh pork (including bacon) is outdoor-bred, you can find out more here: ^Jordan

  17. Why can I not find outdoor reared bacon and small containers of organic milk at Cranleigh Co-op?
    Philomena Leech


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