Lincolnshire Co-op will use the Co-op Group’s supply chain for ambient as well as fresh and frozen following the closure of its two food distribution centres in Lincoln.

The two depots that are closing distribute goods such as tins, packets and bottles to the Lincolnshire Co-op’s 83 food stores.

The Lincolnshire Co-op’s fresh and frozen deliveries come from a Nottinghamshire-based depot which is part of the national distribution network which serves other co-operative societies.

The new distribution arrangement for ambient goods will take effect from 11 September.

The society argued combining the two delivery streams would be “more efficient” and the closure of the two depots would lead to “significant savings” which could be invested in “new and improved services and keeping prices competitive”.

It said it would continue to work with local suppliers and wholesalers to supply locally-sourced goods to its shops.

Mark Finn, Lincolnshire Co-op chief retail officer, said: “Recently, we’ve seen a shift in what our customers want. They come to us for fresh and frozen food, such as stocking up on fruit and vegetables or picking up a meal for that night.

“These means we’ve been changing the mix of products found in our food stores, with more emphasis on fresh and frozen goods rather than tins, packets and bottles.

“As our demand for the fresh and frozen goods increases, it’s more efficient for us to combine the two separate delivery streams.”

Ed Leach, area organiser of shopworkers union Usdaw said the union was meeting with management “to hear the rationale for their proposals and engage in meaningful consultation about the planned closures”.

The difficult decision to close our food distribution centres is not one we have embarked on lightly. However, we’re confident that this is the right decision for the Society because it will lead to significant savings, which we can invest elsewhere.