43% Belong To a Co-op

June 27, 2012

Co-ops are increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Find out what your fellow consumers had to say about co-op shopping here

In the US, there could be a growing number of Americans looking to food co-ops to shop for their households. In fact, an exclusive SupermarketGuru consumer panel quick poll conducted last month found that 43 percent are currently a member of a food co-op.

There are different styles of food co-ops, but generally they are grocery stores collectively owned by the members that share in management and decision making. Usually (but not always) these types of organizations focus on natural foods and local produce, and incorporate an overall socially and environmentally responsible approach to their business.

Sometimes members pay for a membership, and in some cases, members volunteer time working at the co-op. In exchange, members have access to more affordable, quality foods as well as having a say in what is stocked at the store.

Current trends in buying local, growing interest in knowing where food comes from, and a large amount of attention being paid to food desert issues and the ability for struggling families to afford fresh, healthy foods, could all be part of why shoppers' may be interested in joining a food co-op more than ever.

Sixty-seven percent of the SupermarketGuru consumer panel say that they would join a food co-op if they had one in their community. Thirty nine percent say they would be willing to pay an annual fee of 25 dollars, 41 percent would pay 35 dollars or more.

What drives people to shop at a food co-op? When we asked the SG panel if they feel like the quality of food at a co-op is higher, over half said yes. In the case of food safety, 50 percent feel that the food at their co-op is safer, and in the case of pricing, 35 percent feel that shopping a co-op is more economical.

In addition, the results of the SG poll showed many that shop at a food co-op, also shop at other types of stores. Sixty-four percent also shop at a supermarkets, 60 percent shop at farmers markets, 35 percent shop at warehouse clubs, 33 percent shop at big box retailers like Target or Walmart, 16 percent shop at Dollar stores and more.

Co-ops are increasing in popularity. Have you checked out a Co-op near you?