By Jo Whitfield, Food CEO and Ken Towle, Nisa CEO

It’s an honour for us to talk about all the amazing awards Co-op and Nisa have been winning this year, considering the challenges we have faced over the last 18 months.

We started with several wins at the Retail Industry Awards ceremony, on 21 September. I’m delighted to announce that Co-op won Convenience Retailer of the Year, and Nisa picked up the award for Symbol/ Franchise Group of the Year for the second year running. We fought off some stiff competition, and we’re so proud to have received this award on behalf of all our partners and colleagues.

Some of our other successes for Co-op include:

  • Most Sustainable Retailer Initiative of the Year
  • Best Use of Technology – Multiple 
  • Multiple Community Retailer of the Year
  • Food-to-go Retailer of the Year – Multiple Convenience
  • Fresh Flower Supermarket of the Year

For Co-op and Nisa to win so many awards in one night is an awe-inspiring achievement, especially in categories such as sustainability, community retailing and technology. 

But the successes keep on coming. There are too many for us to talk about here, but we’ll do our best to cover a few. 

On Wednesday, 6 October, we were at the Retail Week Awards ceremony. We’re so proud that our difference is being recognised and rewarded and this year the awards were slightly different. They were dedicated to recognising the phenomenal effort of this fantastic industry but also the individual frontline heroes who went above and beyond to help keep the nation going during the pandemic.

There was no shortage of worthy award winners. During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, retailers became the unofficial fourth emergency service to people across the UK – our shop workers coped with panic buying and social distancing but never forgot to look out for our vulnerable customers; the depot and delivery drivers who met the challenge of unprecedented online demand; and the support centre teams who had to adapt our ways of working quickly. 

And we can be very proud of sharing the award for Outstanding Contribution to Retail – Feed the Nation Campaign with other UK grocers. 

We’re also incredibly proud to congratulate some of our colleagues who won silver awards:

  • Hannah Tuck, a Depot colleague, and a Member Pioneer for Frontline Hero
  • George Hayworth, a Digital Operations Manager, Head Office Colleague Hero
  • Waterfoot store in Rossendale got a silver for Frontline Store Team of the Year

Finally, to top it off, we won two accolades at the prestigious Grocer Gold Awards. The first for our plant-based range, GRO, which was named as the Best Own Label Range of the Year and second for our campaigning efforts to fight food poverty during the pandemic were recognised in the ‘Best Business Initiative of the Year’ category. 

This included our Access to Food Campaigns with Marcus Rashford, What’s for Tea and Food Share. These campaigns highlighted the plight of the three million children in poverty and reported eight million adults experiencing food insecurity since coronavirus lockdown. They included TV, print adverts, digital content and in-store point of sale and told the story of the growing number of UK families where having a meal in the evening is not a given, and kids and adults alike go hungry. 

We want to say a massive thank you to all our colleagues. You continue to be outstanding every day. Congratulations to all the winners and everyone involved. To those, we’ve mentioned and the ones we’ve not. You should be very proud of yourselves. We know we are!