New figures measure how food cooperatives benefit members, workers and nearby suppliers.
Are retail food cooperatives better for their local economies than supermarkets? Certainly not when the far greater scale of food stores is figured in.
Yet new figures issued by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) support their claim that food co-ops can be significant local engines. Research data from its 128 independent co-op members indicate that:
The NCGA members surveyed for the Healthy Foods Health Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops report, operate 165 storefronts, generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue, and are owned by 1.3 million consumer-owners. The profile of foods they sell differs from supermarkets in three distinct ways:
The Lempert Report applauds retail food cooperatives for their economic impact, and for their leadership in local sourcing. The latter is a hot button today for consumers that want to support nearby businesses while eating foods that haven’t traveled thousands of miles to reach the shelf.