Co-op Group seeks values-led suppliers for third round of business accelerator

Six suppliers hit the retailer’s shelves last year through its Apiary development support scheme

The Co-op Group has opened applications for the third round of its Apiary programme, a business accelerator support scheme for smaller-scale food and drink businesses.

Six new businesses hit the retailer’s shelves at the end of last year, and the Group plans to work with another set of suppliers throughout 2024, “to take their high quality and innovative products on a journey towards being stocked in store.”

Applications can be submitted up until 5 February, with the Group again partnering with leading product discovery platform RangeMe, which will work closely with the retailer to manage the application process.

The Group says it is looking for suppliers with a real point of difference and shared values, which would promote further diversity and inclusion in its range.

Successful applicants will receive tailored support, mentoring and advice on all aspects of the product journey, says the Group, including industry and consumer insight; technical support; master-classes with industry experts; and work with the suppliers to support the development of the product towards a listing in store.

Post-launch support will continue with access to sales trends and data, plus training and mentoring with industry leaders and sector specialists, the Group adds.

Related: Co-op Group adds six small suppliers to shelves after accelerated support scheme

Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, head of commercial for drinks, frozen, community buying and the Apiary, said: “Co-op launched its Apiary programme two years ago to discover, mentor and support innovative new suppliers who share Co-op’s values and further promote diversity and inclusion within our range. Now moving into our third year, it is exciting to embark on the journey to find and, work closely, with a new wave of producers.  We look forward to hearing from smaller businesses with a real point of difference, those who are values-driven, and who offer something unique to interest, excite and inspire Co-op’s member-owners and customers.”

Since launching through the Apiary programme, Urban Rajah’s Indian Buroti has been added to Co-op’s Premium Meal Deal and, Mon Dessert has been included in the retailer’s home baking category. In addition, Black Milk has seen the number of Co-op stores stocking its sweet spreads increase to 270, and Lo-cal (pale ale) is now available in almost 300 stores.

Suppliers interested in applying should go to