The Plunkett Foundation and Suma Wholefoods have launched a new partnership to enable community co-operatives to stock and sell more wholefood products within their everyday grocery ranges.
With this collaboration, participating community co-operatives will be able to gain access to Suma’s vast range of products and also Divine Chocolate, with whom Suma have an exclusive deal. The UK’s largest worker co-operative, Suma is also the country’s leading supplier of natural and organic food and drink.
The initiative is part of the Plunkett Community Enterprise Membership scheme, which allows community co-operatives to work together in the market place to reduce costs. Plunkett helps communities set up, own and lead enterprises, including co-ops, in rural areas. The foundation has 156 community enterprise members, 139 of them community shops.
The scheme offers benefits packages giving enterprises exclusive access to a wide range of goods and services at preferential terms and rates. According to the foundation, members have generated an average saving of £550 in the first year of membership alone.
Harriet English, membership officer at Plunkett, said: “We are very excited to be launching this new partnership with Suma Wholefoods in line with the needs of our community co-operative members. Suma understands the community co-operative model and the positive impact these enterprises have on their local communities.”
Paul Collins, from the Suma Brand Team, added: ”As a workers’ co-operative, the community co-operative angle is an integral part of Suma’s everyday activities and subsequently our success. We hope this will be the first of many close ties with the Plunkett Foundation, whose beliefs and philosophies mirrors those of Suma.”
Plunkett hopes the exclusive supply deal will help community co-operatives continue to grow. They have already experienced a 6% growth and 1.9% like-for-like sales growth in 2013. There are currently 317 community-owned shops and 29 co-operative pubs in the UK.
Join the Conversation