Saint Paul, MN - On average, a National Co+op Grocers (NCG) member food co-op purchases from 281 local farms and producers and sells $5.6 million worth of local products each year– a significant impact on local food systems.
These are among findings NCG is releasing today in its 2022 Food Co-op Impact Report, an annual study measuring how community-owned food co-ops work individually and collectively to build a more resilient, just and regenerative food system.
"NCG food co-ops serve nearly 230 communities across 39 states, and that number is growing." Shared C.E. Pugh, NCG CEO. "Our annual report demonstrates many of the reasons why community demand for food co-ops is increasing nationally. Co-ops are not one-size-fits-all grocery stores, they are unique businesses that are owned by, and part of the community, so they are tailored to benefit the community in many different ways."
Among the report’s findings:
- NCG food co-ops collectively have more than 1.3 million members nationwide
- The average food co-op and its members donate $149,000 per year to community groups responding to the local needs of all kinds of people.
- Because food co-ops are owned by their communities, they have flexibility to support a range of small, homegrown nonprofits, schools, tribal organizations and community groups that often miss out on foundation and corporate funding.
- Nationally, NCG partners with organizations working on similar changes to the national food system as food co-ops, including National Farm to School Network, the National Black Food and Justice Alliance and the Agricultural Justice Project.
- 38% of food co-ops’ combined annual $2.5 billion in sales come from Certified Organic products. Organic agriculture benefits worker health, the climate and eaters across the entire food chain.
- NCG invested $160,000 in advocacy for strong organic standards that reflect customers’ expectations of the label in 2022.
- When it comes to selling products that contribute to a more inclusive economy, NCG (itself a Certified B Corporation) reports Certified B Corp products made up 8% of NCG food co-ops’ total sales in 2022, higher than other natural grocers (7%) and conventional grocers’ sales (2%). Fair Trade Certified products made up 5% of total sales, higher than other natural grocery competitors (3%) and conventional grocers (0.5%).
- NCG’s Inclusive Trade program, in its first year, promoted 14 Certified Minority Owned Businesses, generating $1.4 million in promotional sales.
- The average food co-op employs 110 people, 58% of whom are eligible for healthcare benefits, 14% higher than the national coverage rate for service employees (44%).
- Approximately half of NCG food co-ops report paying all staff local livable wages and 64% contribute to staff retirement plans – compared to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics data, which reports that nationally, 40% of service employees have employer-sponsored retirement plans.
National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 159 member co-ops operate nearly 230 storefronts in 39 states with combined annual sales of $2.5 billion. NCG is a winner of the dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence and a Certified B Corp. Find a map of NCG member co-ops. To learn more about co-ops, visit grocery.coop.
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