A fascinating and detailed look at the impact of food co-ops has just been released by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). Available as a pdf, this 21-page report compares co-op and conventional food retailers in several areas:
- supporting local food systems;
- employment and job quality;
- economic impact;
- environmental stewardship;
- promoting healthy and sustainable foods.
In each of these areas, food co-ops provide impressive measures by comparison with conventional retailers. Food co-op data in the study is based on the NCGA membership, which totals 165 stores with $1.4 billion in sales and 1.3 million member-owners. The NCGA report was researched with the help of ICA Group, a national, non-profit consultancy with expertise in cooperatives, economic development, and business research.
"Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities: Measuring the Social and Economic Impact of Food Co-ops" was based on numerous data sources, which are listed at the end of the study with links to those sources.