The Co-op was originally founded in 1844 by 28 people known as the Rochdale Pioneers. Their vision was to create a fair trading service for its members to purchase food and other goods at affordable prices. Today the retailer has grown to over 70,000 employees and more than 2,500 Co-op stores across the UK.
Community still remains at the heart of the Co-op’s ethos as they work to provide local shoppers with a vast range of food, drink and household items on a convenience store basis.
Sourcing British food to sell in Co-op stores is essential to this ethos as it supports local UK farmers and contributes to the country’s economy and employment. To achieve this, Co-op pledged to source Red Tractor produce for their own label meats in 2016 and today they work directly with 400 Red Tractor farmers to supply their stores with meat, dairy and fresh produce.
By being Red Tractor certified, Co-op can deliver British produce that is also traceable, safe and farmed with care. Having the Red Tractor logo on pack helps to boost consumer confidence in what they are buying, which Senior Agri-Manager Mark Birchall says is important to their shoppers:
“Shoppers are becoming more and more conscious about what they’re eating and where their food comes from. The Red Tractor logo visually indicates to our customers that the product is safe and traceable which helps to reassure our shoppers.”
“Animal welfare and environmental impact is also a key concern for our shoppers. By working with Red Tractor farmers, we know that they take pride in producing meat that has been produced in accordance with high animal welfare regulations whilst safeguarding against environmental impact.”
Within Co-op’s Farming and Food strategy, there is a specific pillar dedicated to minimising the environmental impact of food production and the Agricultural team work closely with producers and suppliers including Red Tractor in this area.