Friday, 8 June 2018

Why is the Co-op So Expensive?

After my walk out to sea on Wednesday I popped into the one of our town's two Co-ops, the smaller one down at the harbour end of Fore Street.  I'd done my weekly shop earlier in the day and forgotten to buy anchovies for a caesar salad. 

I'd love to do more of my shopping in the Co-op because the retailer often takes the lead in ethical issues that apply to the grocery trade.  But I have to watch the pennies and  it seems consistently more expensive than other supermarkets even though it doesn't have that Waitrose air of poshness.   Surely with the scale of their operations the Co-op should be able to negotiate prices from suppliers than are just as keen as those agreed by their competitors.  So why are they so dear? I'm curious to know.

If it's because they treat their suppliers more fairly than other supermarkets, pay smaller suppliers fairer rate or give their staff better terms and conditions then maybe higher prices are justified.  But on the other hand it seems that people who rely on the Co-op for the bulk of their shopping may be those who don't have transport to get to the bigger out of town supermarkets.  Aren't they likely to be people who are less well off who are the most at need of  access to well priced food?


  1. I don’t think they have the economy of scale for buying at The Co op, because they are not all the one group. We have Scotmid and The Co op which are two different groups. I always equate them with holidays, as we tend to shop locally when away and often that means a Co op store. All my clothes and food came from the local Co op when I was a child and of course the divi ( rewards in cash) were much awaited by my mother and all her peers. Somewhere along the line, the Co op lost out to the supermarkets-in fact the sites of many of them are now replacd with the large German retailers. Happy weekend.

    1. Yes that might be it. I remember vast Co-op department stores in my childhood. The Plymouth one has only just shut. xx