Co-operative finalists in grocery awards

Retailers have been recognised for their sustainability, safety and supply chain initiatives

Co-operative retailers are finalists in awards that recognise the UK grocery industry.

East of England Co-operative and the Co-op Group are among the finalists of The Grocer Gold Awards 2020. The awards recognise businesses, brands and initiatives in the grocery industry across 20 categories, and are now in their 16th year. 

The Co-op Group is a finalist in six categories: Business Initiative of the Year (for its Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities scheme); Consumer Initiative of the Year (Co-op at Glastonbury); E-Commerce Initiative of the Year (Clicks & Bricks with Ethics); Sustainability Initiative of the Year; Grocer of the Year (which it won in 2019); and the Waste Not Want Not Award. 

Meanwhile, East of England has been named as a finalist in the Supply Chain Initiative of the Year category, following developments to its Sourced Locally initiative. Sourced Locally was introduced in 2007 to bring local produce to the East of England Co-op’s shelves. It has since generated millions of pounds for the region and helped to create and protect hundreds of local jobs. 

The society now works with over 110 local suppliers across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, between them supplying 2,000 product lines; as well as a significant increase in sales for local produce, local suppliers’ food miles have been lowered, with suppliers recording an up to 90% reduction in distribution-related travel.

“We had a simple aim; to bring the fantastic local produce of our region to our members and customers,” said Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op. “We have never been more committed to our Sourced Locally family and wanted to take a fresh look at how we could work together more efficiently for the benefit of everyone.

“In collaboration with Thomas Ridley Foodservice and our local suppliers, we’ve worked hard to simplify our operations, to allow us to minimise deliveries, administration, distribution mileage and costs. The end result is a much more efficient way of working for everyone. We can offer a better range of products and improved availability to our customers, helping to ensure essential items and seasonal treats are on our shelves when customers need them. There are environmental benefits too. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Roger Grosvenor (r), joint chief executive at East of England Co-op and Justin Godfrey (l), managing director at Thomas Ridley Foodservice, celebrate the success of Sourced Locally

The awards ceremony which was due to be held at The Guildhall London on Tuesday 9th June 2020, has been postponed due to the coronavirus, and will now take place on Monday 2nd November 2020 at The Guildhall, London.

The Grocer is also involved in The Convenience Awards, co-hosted by Convenience Store and Him, which recognise and reward the best people, retailers, companies and initiatives from across the convenience retail industry.

Three co-operatives are finalists: Heart of England Co-operative, Southam store (Best Multiple Managed Convenience Store); Scotmid Co-operative (Best Training Initiative and Excellence in Sustainability); and Southern Co-op (Sales Assistant of the Year for Jo Bates at Southern’s Lenham store).

The ceremony will be hosted at the  Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, on 1 October 2020, having been postponed from May.

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