Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Co-op focuses on everyday value and increasing Fairtrade

Published:  05 October, 2018

The Co- op’s most visible point of difference has always been Fairtrade and its autumn tasting on 4 October showed that the buyers have convinced further suppliers to convert to Fairtrade for several key wines.

Revealing a range of 74 wines and spirits, including 44 new wines, boosting their total range to 438, the team said that points of difference, be it Fairtrade, organic or vegan, are at the heart of the Co-op’s consumer message, and they will continue to work with producers to deliver this.

Joe Turner, buyer for South America, has worked closely with key producer Gruppo Penaflor to achieve this aim.

“[We’ve been] working with our long-standing suppliers, Grupo Penaflor for 18 months to convert a small winery up in the Calchaqui Valley to Fairtrade,” said Turner.

“They produce some of the most outstanding high-altitude wines and I’m incredibly proud that they’ve successfully been Fairtrade accredited last month. Now each bottle we sell will help the workers, farmers and local community in what is a very remote part of Argentina.”

Don David Malbec is another that has gained Fairtrade accreditation.

Fairtrade wine has helped support the Co-op’s increase in market share of total beers, wines and spirits, now standing at 9%, having grown by 7.7% year-on-year (Nielsen data) against total Co-op grocery market share of 6.3%.

The Co-op has also unveiled a new strategy going forward, focussed on a move to an everyday, consistent pricing policy, with less reliance on promotions (although this will remain part of the bigger brand strategy).

“We want our customers to know that they can buy their favourite wines at any stage with us, and not need to wait for promotions. It makes more sense to provide great ongoing value for the product, and reward our loyal customers,” said Simon Cairns, category trading manager for beers, wines, and spirits.

Cairns also puts a great deal of importance on the experience of his buying team.

“We need to start telling more stories about the wines, which reflect the personalities and expertise of the buyers,” he said.

The tasting introduced a focus on French wines, with many Bordeaux’s from the classic 2015 vintage.

“Our customers buy wine to drink that evening, so we can’t give them the newest vintage, as it isn’t ready in terms of reds, which is where our long term supplier relationships come in. We have built those relationships, and as a result, suppliers will hold stock for us, so that we can launch in store at the right time,” added Cairns.

New ranges from Australia were also showcased, with buyer Ed Robinson saying he is keen to increase consumer perception and understanding for the Hunter Valley and Adelaide Hills wines among his new range, which includes prominent names such as Shaw and Smith, and Robert Oakley.

With almost 4000 stores, between its managed and societies portfolio, the Co-op is the UK’s most frequently visited retailer, with more customer headcount than any other retailer in the UK.