The Co-op Group is planning a major in same-day delivery services across the UK, alongside a big rollout of vegan products.
The retailer says it will offer same-day online city-centre deliveries from 650 stores and take a bite out of the growing meat-free food market with an exclusive new brand, called GRO. This will be launched next Wednesday (8 January) and will be available at up to 6,000 Co-op and independent stores.
The vegan range meets the growing demand for vegetarian and plant-based alternatives, as research from the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism report reveals that the market has topped £1bn for the first time ever and has more than doubled in the last 20 years, up from £452m in 1999.
In just 12 months, vegetarian product sales have risen by over 12% and non-dairy milk alternatives have seen a 14% growth.
Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food, said: “At Co-op, we make it easier to get products when you need them and we stay close to our customers’ changing requirements.
“We have to provide fantastic products and services with strong ethics and a purposeful focus on convenience. Our new vegan range taps into the latest consumer trends and our online services meet the growing appetite for fast home deliveries.”
Over the next 12 months, the Group’s online same-day delivery services will be available across almost 100 towns and cities. The rollout includes services from the retailer’s online shop, known as shop.coop.co.uk, which uses low emissions transport including eco-friendly bikes.
The service is currently available in London and Manchester and this month, it will expand to cities including Brighton, Bournemouth, Southampton will be among the first new cities to get the service, which is currently only available in London and Manchester. The online shop will available from around 250 stores.
The Group will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in under 30 minutes. Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities.
The GRO vegan range will be included in the online offer. It features over 35 meat-free products and will be stocked in 2,000 stores and up to 4,000 independent retailers through the Group’s wholesale operation, Nisa. It is believed to be the largest ever product rollout of own-brand vegan products by a supermarket and takes the Group’s total food and wine vegan range to over 1,000 products. In addition, all Group’s beer and cider range will become vegan in 2020; it already offers almost 120 vegan wines.
GRO dishes include plant-based versions of chilli con carne, sticky toffee pudding, steak bake, a Kashmiri pizza featuring cauliflower and vegan cheese.