A new small business charter launched by the Co-op vows to double its number of local suppliers. Backing British is a cornerstone of the Co-op’s food strategy and the community retailer has pledged to increase the number of small suppliers it works with to 1,200 by the end of 2017.
The five-point charter sets out clear principles to foster closer relationships and support for Co-op’s local suppliers. It will:
- Double the amount of local suppliers
- Break down barriers to trading by sharing technical expertise and practical support, understanding the challenges faced by small suppliers it will create the best route to market
- Avoid any expensive and duplicate audits with a universal standard (SALSA accreditation) for food production, legislation and labelling
- Not seek exclusivity to help small businesses to grow
- Build long-term relationships with suppliers and grower, offering greater certainty and stability while championing local suppliers
Food Minister, George Eustice said: “From family-owned microbreweries to local vegetable suppliers, small businesses are the heart of our food and drink industry. They are also at the heart of the UK economy, with small and medium food and drink manufacturers generating more than £22 billion a year and employing over 127,000 people.
“It is great to see a major retailer like the Co-op supporting local suppliers and producers, bringing a real boost to communities around the country.”
Steve Murrells, Retail Chief Executive, Co-op, said: “These are prized local products. We know our customers care about the provenance of their food and are keen to champion British products wherever they can. As a community retailer we want to make a difference in the communities we serve, working with more small suppliers who produce locally loved products to give great British food pride of place on our shelves.”