Co-op Group scraps 2p member rewards in favour of member pricing

The move only affects Co-op Group members, NOT members of other independent retail societies

Members of the Co-op Group will soon no longer earn rewards, according to communications from the organisation.

From 24 January 2024, instead of earning rewards for purchasing Co-op products and services (currently 2p for every £1 spent), members will have “exclusive prices across food, insurance, funeralcare and legal services”. The move only applies to Co-op Group membership and DOES NOT affect other independent co-operative businesses such as Midcounties, Central, Scotmid or East of England societies.

The communication, being sent to members on behalf of chief membership & customer officer Kenyatte Nelson, says the Co-op Group’s members “have overwhelmingly told us that managing household costs is a top priority” and that the upcoming changes will give “immediate value back” to its members.

“And within our food business, there’s even more to come throughout 2024,” it reads, “including savings on your Co-op food everyday essentials, as well as the brands you love, week in, week out.” There will also be member-exclusive promotions, personalised offers, games in the Co-op App and pre-sale tickets for Co-op Live, it adds. Colleagues will continue to receive 30% off Co-op own-brand products.

In 2023, the Co-op Group invested £90m in prices for its members and customers in Co-op Food, which the retailer claims is “the biggest investment in price of any convenience retailer”. 

The communication highlights that member pricing has been a key part of the success of its member growth strategy. “Last year we announced our ambition to grow Co-op membership by another 1 million members over the next 4 years,” it reads. “Thanks to all our efforts, we’ve smashed our targets so far, starting the year at over 5 million members.”

Members can spend or donate any rewards they currently have until 31 December 2024.

Alongside the 2p for members, the current scheme also donates 2p to community groups for each £1 spent on Co-op products. The Co-op Group says it will continue to support local groups through its Community Partnership Fund “and a dedicated £4m in funding to support existing Local Community Fund causes”.

The current system (2p each for members and community groups) was introduced in 2020, replacing the ‘5 and 1’ scheme brought in in 2015, in which members received a 5% reward for any purchases they made of Co-op own-brand products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local causes.

The move has been met with scepticism from some members, who have taken to social media to express their frustration at the fact members were not directly consulted about the move, that they can no longer save rewards for when they need them (such as Christmas) and the fact that from 24 January, rewards can no longer be redeemed online.

“Were these changes voted for and agreed by members at all? At an AGM perhaps or in another way?” asked one member on X (formerly Twitter)

“You’ve lost my custom,” wrote another. “Changing your members’ dividend is a pathetically disguised way for you to save money. I’ve been loyal to you for years. Sadly, you have joined all the other corporate food chains and are shafting your customers. Goodbye.”

However, others have praised the move. “I love my Co-op [and] have saved more money since the offers started than I ever have made on the points system,” wrote another member on X.

The Co-op Group and the Co-op Group National Members’ Council have been approached for comment.

More to follow

Will you be affected by the proposed changes? Let us know your thoughts below or email [email protected].