Saint Paul, MN—National Co+op Grocers (NCG) shared the news that, according to its 2022 Food Co-op Impact Report, 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, on average.
“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 findings from the annual impact report, which measures how community-owned food co-ops work individually and collectively to build a more resilient, just, and regenerative food system:
- Collectively, NCG food co-ops have more than 1.3 million members nationwide
- The average food co-op and its members donate $149,000 per year to community groups serving the local needs. NCG explained that, since 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, the group said, 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. NCG pointed out that organic agriculture benefits worker health, the climate, and eaters across the entire food chain. To support this, NCG invested $160,000 in advocacy for strong organic standards that reflect customers’ expectations of the label in 2022.
- NCG (which itself is a Certified B Corporation) reported that Certified B Corp products made up 8% of NCG food co-ops’ total sales in 2022 (compared to 2% of conventional grocers’ sales). Fair Trade Certified products made up 5% of total sales (conventional grocers come in at 0.5%).
- NCG’s Inclusive Trade program, in its first year, promoted 14 Certified Minority Owned Businesses, generating $1.4 million in promotional sales, NCG reported.
- The average food co-op employs 110 people. NCG said 58% of these employees are eligible for healthcare benefits, which it said is 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. 64% contribute to staff retirement plans (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics data, nationally 40% of service employees have employer-sponsored retirement plans).