The Co-operative Group has announced a £75m price investment that will save customers money while showing support for British farming.
The current round of price cuts could save customers over £125, according to the Group, which is reducing the cost of over 200 of its own-brand British-sourced meat and poultry products, while ensuring farmers and producers won’t shoulder these costs.
The prices of some products will drop by as much as 50%, but will average at around 10% across meat and poultry. Six large free range eggs will now cost £1.29 (down from £1.75), for example, while 220g salmon fillets will be £2.99 (down from £4). There will also be a new multi-buy offer of two for £6 on chicken fillets and mince.
The pricing investment is part of the Group’s commitment to source British products and follows its Backing British report announcing support for UK farming. There will be an extended British lamb season in store, a wider British fruit and veg offer and increased collaboration with producers.
“This is a major investment in British meat and poultry,” said Steve Murrells, retail chief executive at the Group. “We are building momentum and attracting more shoppers into our stores, and our price investment programme is ensuring our convenience offering remains highly competitive while restating our commitment to sourcing British products.”
The convenience retailer has reduced prices across more than 1,000 products over the past two years. Fresh fruit and vegetable prices were dropped last summer, and prices were also lowered on everyday staples, such as bread.
In the first year of a £1.5bn three-year commitment to British farming, the Group confirmed it had invested £781m to source ‘own brand’ British meat, produce and dairy products from the UK, rather than alternatives from abroad. All of the organisation’s own-brand meat sold in its stores is 100% British, with the exception of New Zealand lamb and Danish bacon, which are offered alongside British varieties.
The Backing British report highlights how the Group now aims to sell more locally produced goods. “Selling prized local brands will celebrate and reflect local differences and seek to encourage economic sustainability,” said Mr Murrells in the report.
“In 2016 we will roll out a new UK-wide local sourcing initiative to support hundreds of small or start-up food producers, initially in the North of England and then further afield […] We’re also looking to trial packs of so-called wonky veg to help reduce waste in our supply chain while still offering consumers great tasting products at a fair price.”
This year the Group is also launching a new Young Farmers programme to support the next generation of farmers, and is the official sponsor of Love British Food (LBF) British Food Fortnight 2016 (17 September – 2 October).
LBF is the national campaign dedicated to promoting British food and educating consumers about the benefits of buying British. “With The Co-op as our official sponsor this year, we will be bringing British food into the heart of our towns and villages, through promotions, community activities and patriotic celebrations,” said Alexia Robinson, LBF founder.
“For both our organisations, celebrating British food is about much more than hanging out the bunting,” she said.
Mr Murrells added: “We are on the cusp of something exciting and industry data shows that we are winning and that our strategy is taking us in the right direction.
“Further price reductions will serve to grow our convenience appeal to shoppers as the combination of changing shopping habits and the rise of the discounters takes a bite out of other retailers’ market share.”
In February, Kantar Worldpanel figures showed that Co-operative Food was the most frequently visited major supermarket over the 12 weeks to 31 January, and it was listed as the fastest growing non-discounter in the UK grocery market for the first time since 2011.