2017 Co-operative of the Year award winners announced

Three worker-owned organisations - Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative and The New Leaf Co-operative - receive awards at Congress 2017

Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative and The New Leaf Co-operative have been announced as the winners of the 2017 Co-operative of the Year awards.

Organised by Co-operatives UK and sponsored by the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network, the awards saw people running and supporting co-operatives nominate their favourites for three categories and, after shortlisting, they voted for their favourite co-op in each one. 

Suma Wholefoods was named Leading Co-operative of the Year 2017, Daily Bread Co-operative received the Growing Co-operative of the Year award and The New Leaf Co-op was named Inspiring Co-operative of the Year.

A wholesaler owned and run by its 160 employee members, Halifax-based Suma Wholefoods is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017 and this year was also awarded the Queen’s Enterprise award for exports.

Suma was named Leading Co-operative of the Year

“We are all really thrilled to get this recognition on our landmark birthday!” said Emma Robinson, Suma member.

“We believe that being a worker co-operative has given us the flexibility and resilience to grow and succeed as a business, and we’ve always kept the co-operative principles at the heart of what we do. The fact that so many people have voted for us to win this award is a real honour and a great morale boost for everyone at Suma.”   

Daily Bread received the Growing Co-operative of the Year award

Values are also at the heart of Daily Bread, in Northampton, said manager John Clarke.

“As a worker co-op, Daily Bread is owned and controlled by its employees so it’s not accountable to outside shareholders and instead is able to concentrate on its core values – providing good quality wholefoods for its customers,” he added. 

Daily bread was established nearly 40 years ago and prides itself on inspiring and supporting several worker-owned wholefood retailers.

New Leaf Co-op was named Inspiring Co-operative of the Year

Worker-owned New Leaf co-op is the youngest of the three winners, having been set up five years ago to offer high quality food in Edinburgh as part of a network of young people starting co-ops. 

“It means the world to us to be voted Inspiring Co-op of the Year, and for that to be the result of a public vote means even more – we are over the moon!” said New Leaf’s Neus Giner Garcia.

“In the five years we have been open, we have always tried to push the boundaries: with our co-operative structure, our packaging-free shopping approach, and a hands-on sense of fun that helps people reconnect with their food.”

The awards were announced at the UK co-operative sector’s annual conference, Co-operative Congress, in Wakefield on 30 June.

“The Co-operative of the Year awards are a great way to celebrate the innovation and impact of co-ops large and small,” said Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK.

The shortlist saw co-ops in digital and retail, farming and housing represented, reminding us just how diverse our 7,000 strong co-op sector is. Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative and The New Leaf Co-op are fantastic co-ops and demonstrate how co-ops are a practical way for businesses to be run in a fair and sustainable way.”

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