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Co-op cuts costs to support British farming

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The Co-operative Group has announced a £75m investment that will see prices slashed in order to generate support for British farming.

The Group expects that the average customer will save over £125 a year through the deductions to 200 of the Co-op’s own-brand and British-sourced meat and poultry products. In doing so, the Co-op hopes to create support for British produce, whilst making sure the savings do not come out of the pockets of farmers.

“This is a major investment in British meat and poultry,” said Steve Murrells, Retail Chief Executive at the Co-op Group. “We are building momentum and attracting more shoppers into our stores, and our price investment programme is ensuring our convenience offering remains highly competitive while restating our commitment to sourcing British products.”

In 2015 the Group invested £781m on sourcing ‘own brand’ British products: the first stage of a £1.5bn, three year commitment to British farming outlined in the “Backing British” report. Over the past two years prices have been slashed on over 1,000 products, as well as an increased interest in local produce.

“Selling prized local brands will celebrate and reflect local differences and seek to encourage economic sustainability,” Murrells said in the Backing British report.

“In 2016 we will roll out a new UK-wide local sourcing initiative to support hundreds of small or start-up food producers, initially in the North of England and then further afield… We’re also looking to trial packs of so-called wonky veg to help reduce waste in our supply chain while still offering consumers great tasting products at a fair price.”

The Co-op is the official sponsor this year for Love British Food (LBF), an organisation dedicated to educating customers about British food.

“With The Co-op as our official sponsor this year, we will be bringing British food into the heart of our towns and villages, through promotions, community activities and patriotic celebrations,” said Alexia Robinson, Founder of LBF.

“We are on the cusp of something exciting and industry data shows that we are winning and that our strategy is taking us in the right direction”, Murrells continued.

“Further price reductions will serve to grow our convenience appeal to shoppers as the combination of changing shopping habits and the rise of the discounters takes a bite out of the other retailers’ market share.”

Published on Wednesday 02 March by Philip Gallagher

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