Co-op Group chooses new wave of suppliers for its business accelerator

The Apiary scheme will give eight suppliers the chance to work with the Group after pitching their products to its buying team

The Co-op Group has chosen the new suppliers for the second wave of its accelerated support scheme for small, values-led and innovative food and drink businesses.

The Apiary scheme will give eight suppliers the chance to work with the Group; it is hoped their goods will be stocked in selected stores before the end of the year, with the suppliers showing “a real point of difference and alignment to Co-op’s vision of co-operating for a fairer world, while promoting further diversity and inclusion within its range”. 

Tailored support, mentoring and advice will be offered on all aspects of the product journey, including industry and consumer insight, technical hints and access to the Group’s dedicated buying teams.

Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, the Group’s head of commercial for drinks, frozen, community buying and the Apiary, said: The search for new suppliers is an exciting time for our Apiary programme, and we are delighted to announce the new group of suppliers who we will work closely with during 2023 – we believe they all offer a real point of difference to interest, enthuse and excite Co-op members and customers in our communities.”

Lauren O’Donnell of Oatsu

Taking part in the Apiary programme during 2023 are:

  • Blue Turaco – whose speciality Ugandan Robusta coffee is fairly sourced to support and empower farming communities, with each purchase also providing two vital lunches to fight hunger in Ugandan village schools.
  • Local cloudy vegan beer which is brewed lower in calories, carbs and sugars
  • Oatsu – whose overnight oats are a no-cook, chilled version of porridge. The oats soak in plant milk, and soften to a thick, creamy consistency, making a perfect slow-release breakfast or snack
  • Humanitea – a social enterprise creating chilledready-to-drink tea lattes, brewed using oat milk it is 100% vegan with a percentage of the company’s profits supports wellbeing and sustainability initiatives
  • House of Cinn – whose handmade cinnamon buns also help to tackle homelessness and loneliness with 65% of the community interest company’s profits reinvested in community projects.
  • Revibed Drinks – superfood infused water which is 100% vegan, with zero sugar and less than 10 Kcal per can it provides a refreshing alternative on-the-go
  • Black Milk Desserts – with a bakery and café in Manchester’s popular Northern Quarter offering fresh bakes, brownies, pancakes and creams, its founders also support projects that tackle homelessness in the city.
  • Wilderbee Hot Honey – inspired by a sweet and spicy condiment in a New York Pizza restaurant, a version of the condiment was created upon returning to the UK using organic wildflower honey infused with fresh chillies.

The inaugural group of businesses to join the Apiary scheme in 2022 were Dapur MariaeScrapplesSuperfoodioThe Woolf’s Kitchen; the Wonky Food CoNemi Teas ; Mon Dessert and, Urban Rajah, whose products hit Group shelves last autumn and winter.