Co-op Group seeks small food businesses for accelerated support scheme

This is the second round of the Apiary programme, which last year saw six businesses get their products into the retailer’s stores

The Co-op Group has launched a second round of its Apiary business support scheme for innovative small-scale suppliers.

Last year, the first round of the the scheme saw six new food brands –  Dapur MariaeScrapplesSuperfoodioThe Woolf’s KitchenUrban Rajah and the Wonky Food Co – hit the Group’s shelves across the country after receiving tailored support and mentoring. This included advice on all aspects of the product journey, industry and consumer insight, workshops, technical hints and tips and access to the Group’s own buying teams.

Applications are now open for the second round of the accelerator scheme. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to pitch their products to the Group’s buyers.

Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, the Group’s head of category – including community buying and the Apiary – said: “This is an exciting time for our Apiary programme. The search is now on for the next group of businesses to join our accelerator scheme in 2023.

“Innovation, provenance, quality, value and diversity is important to shoppers and, we really are looking forward to hearing from new, exciting and innovative producers. Previously, the Apiary programme has worked with businesses which have created vegan, Indian, Malaysian and Asian-inspired recipes, and those with a focus on using ‘wonky’ fruit and veg to avoid food waste.

“Now we are keen to hear from more businesses with a real point of difference, who are values-driven and, offer something unique to interest and excite Co-op members and customers.”

One of the suppliers to receive support through the Apiary, Ivor Peters, creator of Urban Rajah, saw his Buroti Indian roti style flatbreads – including the Vegan Smashed Onion Bhaji and Chickpea wrap – hit shelves in nearly 100 Co-op stores last month.

“Being able to bring my food passions to a wide audience through the scale and reach of Co-op after working with its Apiary scheme is very exciting,” he said. “I describe the products as the ‘taste of India in flatbread wrap’, they are inspired by Indian street food, packed with authentic flavours and, really easy to eat on the go – I am delighted that Co-op’s members and customers are now able to see and taste the results for themselves.”

Interested businesses should apply via before the end of the day on Monday, 13 March.

With thanks to

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