Last month we held the IGD Trade Briefing, meeting with over 1,000 of our suppliers to share our Food strategy and plans, followed by the Pioneer Awards, where we celebrated our suppliers’ pioneering spirit across a number of categories.

It’s been an incredible year for Co-op Food as we’ve enjoyed the enviable status of becoming the UK’s fastest growing convenience retailer. However, it’s also been a year when the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) launched an investigation into our treatment of suppliers in the areas of delisting and introducing charges.

We’ve done a lot of work to fix this and there’s plenty more to do but it’s still right to reflect on the past 12 months and the positive role our suppliers have played in creating a stronger Co-op, helping us to support communities and giving millions of pounds back through our community fund.

Many of you will remember 2018 for the success of the £5 Pizza and Beer deal which we sold over 500,000 times during the Russia World Cup, generating almost £2.5m in sales. Customers flocked to our stores attracted by a brilliant TV advert and great value for money.

It was a big and bold deal that generated real excitement in stores, in the Co-op support centre and on social media. But its real brilliance came from AB InBev, our drinks supplier, and Stateside Foods, makers of Co-op own brand pizzas, who worked closely with our buying team to pull something special out of the bag to capture the imagination of Co-op customers, football fans or not.

What this deal shows is that when we work collaboratively with our supply partners we can make the most of market opportunities. Good work needs to be celebrated and that’s why AB InBev and Stateside Foods picked up the prestigious Supplier of the Year award at our recent Pioneer Awards.

We operate in a tough retail market and to win in this market and to win with customers, we’ll need to work more closely with suppliers than ever before. It means taking advantage of opportunities but also combining our retail experience to find solutions to challenges and to minimise business risks.

One such example is the 51% reduction in PET plastics in Co-op branded water which we’ve achieved in partnership with Princess in response to growing public concerns over plastic pollution, earning the supplier the accolade of the 2018 Pioneer in Co-op Own Brand Product.

We’re privileged to have some of the best minds in retail among our supply partners and we’ve recognised just some of them at the recent Pioneer Awards:

Co-op Supplier of the Year

AB-InBev & Stateside Foods

Pioneer in Co-op Own Brand Product


Pioneers in Branded Product


Pioneers in Best Brand Launch


Pioneers in Agriculture


Pioneering the Co-op Difference

Brewgooder & Greencore

Co-op Local Supplier of the Year

Enterprise Foods

Pioneers in Succeeding Together


Please join me in thanking our supply partners for their huge contribution to creating a stronger Co-op and stronger communities this year.

I hope you’ll also enjoy watching a short film which shows some of the thriving partnerships we have with our suppliers.

Andy Phelps
Director of Supplier Engagement and Change Integration

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Great to hear we are growing such good relationships with our suppliers and that they can work together to give us good deals with quality products, as with the beer and pizza deal. I am a lamb producer as well as being on the members council so I know how important it is to farmers to have a long term, trusting relationship with their buyers, especially with the future looking uncertain.

  2. Amazing – that whole article didn’t mention “Brexit” once!

  3. Good to hear we have such a good relationship with our suppliers and they responded so well to the challenges of 2018.

    With a chaotic exit from the European Union looming in 2019 those relationships will be vital.

Comments are closed.


Awards, Being Co-op, Co-op leaders, Colleague support, Food, Great place to work, People stories, Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities, Succeed together, Uncategorized