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The Co-op’s Apiary programme has returned for 2023 as six new suppliers are set to hit shelves from this week.

The Apiary scheme launched in 2022 and searches for small, value-led and innovative food and drink businesses.

Successful applicants receive support, mentoring and advice through all aspects of the product journey, including industry and consumer insights, as well as technical tips.

The search for new businesses to join its scheme began at the start of the year and the six successful suppliers are expected to reach up to almost 300 Co-op stores this month.

The Co-op looked for suppliers with a point of difference and shared co-operative values which would promote further diversity and inclusion within its range.

The Co-op’s buyers stand side-by-side with the suppliers to support the development of the product towards a listing in store. The programme also offers post-launch support, including access to sale trends and data, plus training and mentoring with industry leaders and sector specialists.

The successful suppliers set to hit Co-op shelves this month:

  • Black Milk
  • Blue Turaco
  • Humani Tea
  • Lo-cal
  • Revibed Drinks 
  • Wilderbee Hot Honey 

Rebecca Oliver-Mooney head of commercial for drinks, frozen, community buying said: “Seeing successful new businesses hit Co-op shelves is always an exciting and rewarding time for our Apiary programme. We have been on a fantastic journey with these suppliers throughout the year, which builds on the successful launch of our first wave of suppliers through the Apiary programme which has seen suppliers develop their product and brand and, gain permanent listings, including Urban Rajah’s buroti wraps which are soon set to become part of Co-op’s Premium Meal Deal offer.

“Going live in store is the beginning of the next chapter for the suppliers we work with, and the dedicated support which has enabled the businesses to create and develop their products towards a listing in store will continue post-launch. We are delighted to reach this key milestone where the products are on now shelf - we believe the suppliers all offer a real point of difference to interest, enthuse and excite Co-op Members and customers in our communities.”

The search for the next wave of new suppliers to join the Apiary programme is expected to commence in early 2024.