Food Co-ops Overview

The cooperative business model has been revolutionizing the way people buy groceries, decades before any mobile app. Food co-ops place store ownership in the hands of the people who shop there. When a customer becomes a member-owner, they are given a share in store decision-making and a share in the store profits.

Not your Conventional Grocery Store

The modern food co-op looks a lot like any other grocery store, but it is fundamentally different. Co-ops are deeply tied to the communities they operate in, not only selling food and household goods, but cycling money into the local economy on a larger scale than conventional grocers. When $1,000 dollars is spent at a food co-op, $1,604 is generated in the local economy. Food co-ops spend 6% more on local wages and benefits than conventional grocery stores, and do 2 ½ times more business with local farms and producers.

Food Coop 1

What Makes Food Co-ops Unique

From food co-ops organizing truck deliveries of fresh and bulk produce in the 1960’s to the modern grocery stores we encounter today – food co-ops have been constantly rethinking how local communities access and buy the food products they desire. What makes food co-ops so unique is they give customers the voice and choice in their grocery shopping experience; and because the customers are the shareholders of the business, they are the ones who benefit when the food co-op is profitable.

“Food co-ops do 2 ½ times more business with local farms and product makers than conventional grocers!”

Did you know?

Food co-ops across the United States have combined annual sales of nearly $2 billion.

38% of a food co-op’s revenue is spent locally – 19% being spent on local wages and benefits.

19% of $2 billion is $380 million spent on local wages. Food co-ops build jobs!

Helpful Links

National Co+Op Grocers (NCG)

National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA

International Co-operative Alliance