By Tristan Comley, Client Experience Manager, Funeralcare

I’m not embarrassed to say how proud I felt when I turned on the TV last night to our new summer food ad for strawberries. Yet another shining example of Co-op’s quality own-brand products, and the good that comes from buying them!

This follows on from our first summer food ad, linking the sale of our 100% British pork sausages to a community skate park in Hereford. And now, with some of the funds from our strawberry sales going to Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation, I’m sure they’ll prove as popular.

You’ll have seen in our recent One Co-op digi-mag that I’m passionate about how we source our food and the impact it’s having on the community. Even though I’m part of Funeralcare, it means a lot that Co-op cares about this – it’s one of the reasons I love working here. In the mag I talk about having come from a farming family, and how I’ve experienced both sides, as a consumer and producer. This is why I know how important it is to buy from local farmers and producers.

My uncle has a farm in Wiltshire and although the majority of their milk is sold to businesses like Co-op, they have a small farm shop (Dora’s Dairy) selling their own natural raw milk. This small farm shop is also stocked with local producers selling cheese, cakes and biscuits to the village community.

One of the great things about Co-op is our local range. I love it when I pop into a Co-op store in Manchester and see Eccles Cakes from a local supplier, or when I visit my parents in Northumberland and I can choose from a range of tasty local beers. I know these products will have started in a local farm shop like my uncle’s and it makes me proud to see Co-op identifying great produce and making it more accessible to the local community.

By sourcing food locally, we can guarantee great quality produce from our British farmers. And when we buy from them, we’re making a positive difference by keeping our farming communities alive. Let’s continue with the great work we are doing to teach people about the true value of food, and celebrate the stories behind it.

We need to come together as One Co-op and keep on working closely with our suppliers and key partners, to ensure our food industry is both ethical and sustainable. This way, we can live up to our Co-op principle – it’s what we do.