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Sustain - Food Co-ops and Buying Groups

The main principle behind all community food co-ops is that by pooling their buying power and ordering food in bulk direct from suppliers, a group of people can buy good food at a more affordable price.

Small food co-ops or buying groups work by collecting together everyone’s orders in advance, whereas other models operate more like food businesses and order the produce from suppliers and then sell it to their customers via stalls, bag or box schemes, mobile stores, shops or other types of outlet.

The main things community food co-ops have is common are that they:

  • Are run by the community for the community
  • Aim to supply produce at more affordable prices than other outlets
  • Are run on a not for profit basis
  • Generally rely on the support of volunteers, either in the day-to day running or  on the committee

Sustain is working in partnership with the Soil Association to support food co-ops and organic buying groups across England.

As part of the Making Local Food Work programme sustain has produce a food co-ops toolkit which is available free to groups setting up food co-ops or on-line at: www.sustainweb.org/foodcoopstoolkit

For more information on food co-ops and buying groups, and advice on how to set up your own, please contact us.

To search for food co-ops near you or to add one you know, why not try our Food Co-ops Finder?


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