Fairtrade coffee trader Revolver Co-operative has branched out into the vending machine business, with its first bean to cup machine installed at Midcounties Co-operative‘s new Southmoor store.
It says it hopes to expand this offer “across the cooperative economy and further”, offering retailers in the movement a co-operative alternative to corporate vendors – in line with Principle 6, co-operation amongst co-operatives.
“Offering Fairtrade and co-operative coffee and retail solutions to organisations is an important part of our philosophy and mission,” Revolver added as it announced the venture.
“We see many co-operatives being left without an alternative but to work with big industry leaders who don’t share co-operative values, so it is about time we provided a solution which aligns with the principles of the movement.”
The bean-to-cup machine provides Fairtrade Revolver Copacabana coffee, and Fairtrade drinking chocolate and tea. This is free to all Midcounties members; non-members can buy it at £1.50 for tea, and £2 for everything else.
“We hope that this not only showcases a co-operative business-to-business model, but also promotes the benefits of membership in societies such as Midcounties,” said Revolver.
The co-op says the use of freshly ground Fairtrade coffee and fresh milk is an innovative response to alternative coffee vending machines, which often only provide powdered milk and instant coffee.
Managing director Paul Birch said: “It’s great to be able to offer a co-operative coffee solution at last. At Revolver, we are passionate about promoting co-operative values, and our team has been working hard alongside our friends at Midcounties to offer the best possible result – the machine looks fantastic and compliments a very successful new store.”
He added: “Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we are hoping to work with more co-operative societies to help them provide co-operative solutions, rather than feeling like their only alternative is to work alongside other non-co-op organisations.”
Meanwhile, team members Hannah Birch, George Smith, Helen Lloyd and Miya Jhamot will visit the Amsterdam Coffee Festival (13-15 March), to find out more about cooperation on the continent and how Revolver can continue to work alongside its European neighbours in a post-Brexit Britain.
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