The incubator scheme, called the Apiary, works with local, community and small-scale suppliers to offer tailored and dedicated support, mentoring and advice on all aspects of the product journey, according to the retailer.
Co-op offers assistance around industry and consumer insights, workshops, technical hints and tips, and access to the group’s dedicated buying teams.
The programme will see six new suppliers launch in store this year, with Dapur Mariae, Scrapples, Superfoodio, Urban Rajah, the Woolf’s Kitchen and the Wonky Food Company the first to progress through the programme and gain a listing in close to 200 Co-op stores.
‘A Milestone’ For The Apiary
Commenting on the initiative, Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Co-op’s head of category, including community buying and the Apiary, said, “This is an exciting milestone for our incubator scheme. We know from feedback that innovation, provenance, quality and diversity is important to our members and customers, and we are delighted to partner with this inaugural group of businesses.
“We are committed to building relationships and supporting our suppliers, and our Apiary programme is designed to quickly anticipate and respond to changing consumer tastes and needs in our communities. We offer access to the insight, guidance, technical knowledge and support to enable smaller-scale producers to accelerate towards a listing in store.”
Point Of Difference
Oliver-Mooney added that all the producers involved in the scheme are “exciting and innovative”, with each offering a point of difference.
“Values driven, they all offer something unique, which I am confident will interest and excite shoppers. I am delighted to see their products on Co-op’s shelves,” she added.