By Kim Brown, Nisa’s Head of Fresh, Frozen and DTS, and Kelly Moore, Co-op buyer – Chilled Pizza, Breads and Ready Meals.

Kelly:
In just one year Co-op and Nisa have become one business, one team, and one direction (no – not the boyband). What started with questions and uncertainty, has developed into a fantastic opportunity to learn, share ideas and grow our business. We’ve had to reset the way we think and work to adapt to an unfamiliar area, but with everyone’s hard work, it feels like it’s paying off.

Kim:
Being involved in the acquisition has been really interesting, particularly the creation of new processes, roles and ways of working – everything has changed! From my perspective, getting access to nearly 2,000 Co-op own brand products has been fantastic. In a year, some of our partners have gone from being nervous of changes, to not only stocking Co-op products, but wanting more information and Co-op expertise, particularly on Fresh.

Kelly:
We’re still adapting as we go, but I’m so proud of how we’ve pulled two different businesses together to work as one. After we combined our Co-op and Nisa buyer teams into One Buyer, the Wholesaler Category Controllers (WCC) have been particularly great at providing knowledge and advice on all things Nisa. What works for Co-op doesn’t necessarily work for our partners at Nisa and our WCC have been vital in spotting these areas.

Kim:
The transfer of all of Nisa’s buying to Co-op and the introduction of One Buyer has been an enormous change from our perspective. There’s been a huge amount of planning behind the scenes, involving everything from cost price changes, range reviews and buyer negotiations. For our own teams, this has meant a significant change in job roles and responsibilities, and I’m really proud of how they’ve adapted.

Kelly:
After such hard work, I feel incredibly proud when I walk into a Nisa store and see our amazing Co-op own brand products on the shelves. The new quality proposition and the range that’s now available will continue to set us apart from the rest of the convenience market. I think the future holds great opportunity for getting Co-op own brand products into the cupboards, fridges and freezers of British shoppers, and for the total Nisa proposition to entice more people back into stores. I’m very excited to be part of the journey.

Kim:
This year has been about merging together and getting to grips with the basics. Transferring all of Nisa’s buying to Co-op has involved a huge job change for the buying team, and its success is due to their openness, resilience and energy. The coming year will be about growing – from a Fresh perspective I’m really excited about where this could take us with partners. No wholesaler has really cracked how to get Fresh right yet and I think there’s enormous potential.

Kelly:
A very happy birthday to us!