Co-op Members are dreaming of a green Christmas, so we’ve made it happen

Approx 700 words.

It might surprise you to know that we work more than a year in advance when it comes to making plans for an amazing Christmas. 

So, last year, we asked Co-op Members to join in and tell us what products were at the top of their festive wish lists to help us develop our Christmas range for 2020. And unsurprisingly, our environmentally conscious members said they were dreaming of a green and more sustainable Christmas this year. 

Members told us they were looking for recyclable cards and gift wrap, less plastic and smaller portion sizes to help manage food waste. 

Here are just some of the comments we received from Co-op Members: 

“Environmentally friendly wrapping and ribbons have been surprisingly hard to find.” 

“I would love Christmas crackers that don’t have things that no one really wants or are plastic tat.” 

“I just want to see less plastic and wasteful packaging and more environmentally conscious products.” 

“I would be keen for Co-op to advertise local recycling for Christmas wrapping paper.” 

“Could you promise to stop wrapping in plastic…it’s my Christmas wish.” 

“I support ethical shopping and would like to have the opportunity of recycling my plastic vegetables bags at my local Co-op.” 

“More zero waste products, loose vegetables, less plastic wrapped courgettes.” 

“Different foods in smaller portions so you can try new things and share them.” 

Members have given us some fantastic feedback on the products they’d like to see in our seasonal aisles.  

We now know that sustainability and recycling is an important issue for our members. So, to reflect this, we’ve made some positive changes to our Christmas range this year. 

All of our Co-op Christmas cards and wrapping paper are now recyclable and we’ve also removed plastic and glitter from all of our cards, gift wrap, gift bags and crackers too. In fact, our plastic-free Christmas crackers are fully recyclable and include plastic-free reusable games, colouring activities, recipes and a metal cookie cutter inside. 

In response to how our members’ shopping behaviours have changed during the pandemic, we launched wrapping paper and Christmas cards into our stores much earlier this year to help beat the postal rush. We will be doing the same with some fresh produce lines too.  

We’re continuing our commitment to make every single Co-op product easy to recycle by the end of 2021, which is why we’re launching the largest in-store plastic film collection scheme of its kind in the UK next year. 

While plastic film features in our packaging to help protect and seal products, we know many ‘scrunchy’ films – including yoghurt lids, crisp packets, ready meal lids, multi-buy wrappers and chocolate bar wrappers – can be recycled into new material. The film waste collected in our stores will be processed into waste disposal bin liners for use in Co-op stores. 

We’ve been looking at our food waste and portion sizes too. Most of our food products are developed to serve 2-4 people rather than the 6-8 servings we see in some of our competitor stores. Our promotions are generally either two products for a fixed price or price reductions in a bid to reduce waste too. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas is likely to look very different for many of us this year. With this in mind, we checked in with members to find out what their plans were for Christmas 2020 and learned that one in 10 are likely to spend it alone. 

So, as well as creating some seasonally inspired puzzles to keep you entertained, we’re also giving Co-op Members the chance to connect and chat with other members online over the festive period. You can find out more about our festive get-togethers and sign up here.

We are also working with our store colleagues and their local communities to ensure that those most in need have the best Christmas they can by giving them £100 to support members and groups in every Co-op store area. 

There are always ways for Co-op Members to get involved in their Co-op. Head to your online membership account to find out what opportunities are available now. 

Vicky Wood 
Seasonal planning